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How do I incorporate the web into my daily work practices?

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: Museullaneous, Date: 11 Dec 2009

Some of the biggest challenges I’m finding at the moment is helping staff here think not about how to incorporate the web into their work practices but thinking about how do I use the website to make my job easier. Find some strategies and tips here.

We’ve been having workshops in our Branch to look at our new site and how we can use it effectively and efficiently. One of the biggest challenges is helping staff here think not about how to add the web into their already crowded jobs but think about how to use our website to make our jobs easier. However, I am finding these discussions and questioning also quite rewarding as it’s forcing me to articulate practical ways of doing this and I took up their challenge and blogged my talk!

So, as promised, here’s some examples where I utilised our website instead of a more “traditional” (or should I say usual?) way to do a piece of work:

  • My boss wanted me to update her about a project – I had already uploaded it here and therefore just added an updated comment, now we can use this in future to track progress
  • A group of us met about a Flickr project and I promised to email links to the team – instead, I did it as a blog post
  • An intern working here has been requesting evaluation reports – in our meetings I find them for her, quickly PDF them and upload them to the site, she then goes and looks at them online (saves paper too!)
  • Our Bequest Officer wanted evaluation information about Australian Museum Members – instead of emailing it to her I blogged it

One mantra I have found helpful is the idea of "Repurposing content": write once, publish many time across a range of mediums. For more discussion about that go here.

OK, so how could you do it?

  • Do you share links with colleagues about climate change for example? Instead of sending an all_user email just upload them here as comments.
  • How many take notes at conferences, talks or workshops? Write 100 words and blog it such as here.
  • How many of you email your comments to colleagues thanking them or saying how interested you are in what they’re doing or have feedback to give? Add them as comments, such as we have with the Cultural Objects project and the Social Media Workshop.
  • How many have written articles for Explore or other journals where you/Museum has the IP? Write them on our site as a page like I did here.

What, then, are some of the barriers I’ve heard people say?

Barrier: I don’t have the authority/I might be wrong
Answer: You do have the authority because you work at the Museum and that’s why we hired you. If you’re wrong there’s always the delete key!

Barrier: It’s not a priority
Answer: Yes it is – the web is the primary way we will communicative with our audiences and they with us. If we want to attract visitors to our physical site and programs we will need to engage them on the web first.

Barrier: It’s extra work
Answer: See tips above – it’s not extra work, it a different way of working, remember Russ’s mantra 20% different, not 20% more.

Barrier: It has to be perfect
Answer: No it doesn’t, it needs to be the best you can do within the limited time you have. Our Director has given us the imprimatur to do it and fix it later if need be – he asks us to say “Yes if...”not “No because...”.

Barrier: I’ll be inundated with extra work
Answer: No you won’t, think of it as an investment – it will save you time as you “train” your colleagues and audiences to go to the website first. They Google anyway!

Barrier: It’s too hard and I forget
Answer: Our CMS is the easiest thing you could ever use and remember, practice makes perfect...

What does this mean?

  • The Museum’s website will become richer with content and conversation
  • We are sharing our work and ideas with one million visitors per month
  • We are creating an online archive and one-stop shop
  • We are making our lives easier and more fun!

And if you’re still not convinced have a look at this post: A Simple Argument for Why Museums and Cultural Institutions Should Care About Social Media by Nina Simon.

So, if you still have worries or issues please post comments here and we can discuss them.

1 comment

Lynda Kelly - 7.05 AM, 07 May 2010

Have been sent some great resources from Jeff Gates, Smithsonian American Art Museum:

Confessions of a Long Tail Visionary - blog post about how our roles will change due to Web 2.0. Some very useful stuff here plus case examples

Clearing the Path for Sisyphus: How Social Media is Changing Our Jobs and Our Working Relationships - MW2010 paper about how our jobs will change given the nature of communication woth our audiences in a networked world.

Thanks Jeff!

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