Fresh & New(er)

discussion of issues around digital media and museums by Seb Chan

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More on levels of participation / Forrester’s “social technographics”

April 23rd, 2007 by Seb Chan

In a most timely fashion for our recent discussions of ‘levels of participation’, from Forrester’s comes the ‘Social Technographics‘ report.

This is a very interesting and relevant report to all the museum sector. It breaks down user-types into several categories and then maps the differing proportions of each category as represented across different social media websites.

I particularly like their breakdown of users into creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators and inactives. Their call for companies and others to analyse how their customers might fit into these categories before creating their ‘social strategy’ is timely, post MW2007. I would expect that in comparison to larger corporate social sites, museums are most likely to have their major audiences less likely to be creators and that we should be encouraging a growth in critics – who most likely align with our existing strategies and long-time organisational strengths in encouraging and managing academic criticism.

Also, looking at their figures for the different user breakdowns between sites classifying as ‘entertainment’ (more participatory) and ‘family’ (less likely to be participatory), our sector needs to be conscious of how our sites appear to our audiences.

Those who have looked at our recent website for parents and young children – Play at Powerhouse – will notice we haven’t included any ‘social’ elements. We did an analysis of who the likely users of the site were going to be, considered their time constraints, and focussed on producing a site full of offline interactive activities (we’ve just added 4 new craft activities), and visit-related content. As the audience for the site grows, we will be adding social elements.

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1 response so far ↓

  • Thanks for posting this – I’ll be looking more closely into these ideas to potentially use something like this when thinking about and analysing current and potential users of the Australian Museum’s new website. One thing I think is missing (or maybe it’s under there somewhere or in the report which I haven’t yet read?) is a category of “collaborator”. What’s to hinder museums from inviting our users, especially those with expert knowledge, to collobarate on publishing material together, for example a fact sheet about a particular species of bird or a musical instrument from the Solomon Islands using a modified “Wikipedia-type” model?

    I’d be interested to hear what other’s think and if there are any museums already doing this?