The Web2.0 stream began with Jeff Gates from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s EyeLevel blog. Discussing EyeLevel, Gates explained their cautious but highly successful approach to getting blogging activated within a large and venerable organisation like the Smithsonian.
Before gong public EyeLevel was used internally for two months with sample posts and comments within SAAM to ensure that they had got the workflow for the blog sorted out. Their workflow, which continues today is that posts are suggested, discussed by the web team, drafted, then rewritten where necessary. All posts are then edited by the publications unit, and require individual approval by the Director before going live. They use Basecamp for the drafting and discussion (which is a nice way doing things).
Whilst this approval model brings delays and limits their ability to do quick response posts it brings great clarity to the roles of each blog team member which has helped keep the blog sustainable. Also, by defining and articulating their blog policy internally prior to launch EyeLevel has been able to maintain “authenticity and transparency” with their readership without being dragged into being overly promotional. That said, part of he rationale for establishing EyeLevel was to help expose their long tail of collection and online content, and to build a strong connection between web visits and bricks and mortar visitation.
The Brooklyn Museum team presented their very inspirational work in engaging their communities through the use of Flickr and MySpace. They were at pains to point out that before the web the Brooklyn Museum was already very heavily oriented as a museum belonging to and integrated with the local community. It was also already highly interactive. They showed their public graffiti wall within an exhibition on street art and graffiti, and it was from this exhibition that they started using Flickr as a way of documenting the use of the wall. By using Flickr they were able to connect to other images of graffiti around Brooklyn and connect with the Flickr community. Likewise they have used Flickr to pull in public images of the Brooklyn Bridge.
From this point they moved to establish a main navigational node on their website titled ‘community’. This uses Flickr and YouTube APIs to pull in user generated content from those other external sources to the Brooklyn Museum site based on user tags. They also established a comments gallery which is user-moderated, and most excitingly, replaced all their paper comment forms with kiosks in the galleries for visitors to type their comments directly in. By doing this they have removed the distinction between the comments of in-gallery visitors and web visitors – ALL are visitors.
The final presentation was from Mike Ellis at the Science Museum in London. Mike talked about ways of navigating the institutional barriers to implementing Web2.0. He pretty much addressed each of the major concerns of those outside of web teams – do the users want it?, issues of voice and authority, technical impediments with small teams, resourcing and cost, and legals.