Fresh & New(er)

discussion of issues around digital media and museums by Seb Chan

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What are your Facebook fans also fans of?

February 14th, 2010 by Seb Chan

Museums have been pretty good at setting up camp in Facebook. Most have fan pages and groups (and there are many ongoing discussions as to whether groups or pages are ‘better’).

But what matters about all of these activities is whether they are reaching and engaging people who otherwise wouldn’t be. Or are you engaging with the same people in new ways?

Pete Warden’s work has been getting a lot of coverage recently – especially now that he is on the cusp of releasing a huge mountain of Facebook data for academic analysis – and his Fan Page Analytics tool is quite a useful way of quickly seeing how diverse your fans really are. It uses anonymised preference data from 100 million public Facebook profiles – which will skew towards the ‘average Facebook user’ – probably excluding tech-savvy privacy-aware readers of this blog!

Whilst it is early days there’s a lot of promise in tools that look at fan data in these ways.

If you can identify similarities between the fan membership of your own institution and those of others you can start to think of new partnerships and collaborative opportunities.

The Powerhouse Museum has several fan pages so let’s see what the overlap is between the fans of say, the Powerhouse Museum, and one of the festivals that we run – Sydney Design.

Here is the data on the fans of the Powerhouse Museum and the fans of Sydney Design.

We can see that fans of the Powerhouse are more likely to also be fans of other museums but that Sydney Design fans are a more diverse bunch in their fandom – magazines, events, festivals. This reveals opportunities and possibilities.

Obviously fans don’t necessarily reciprocate. Whilst Powerhouse Museum fans are somewhat more likely than most to also be fans of the Australian Museum, fans of the Australian Museum are far more likely to be fans of the Powerhouse!

What can you discover?

Tags: 1 Comment

  • Cool article… We run a facebook page of our own, but as a business I think it’s a little bit different. Our fan page seems to be a mix of genuine users and spammers, so it makes it kind of hard when we want to properly analyse the activities of our demographic. I think that Facebook is easily one of the most powerful data sources on the internet, evidently for the Powerhouse Museum you guys were able to ascertain the extent of your reach… I think that as a museum and non-for-profit business organisation I think the engagement would appear on far more genuine levels