CultureQ, Your two cents multiplied

CultureQ is a professional dialogue about front-burner audience issues in the arts and education.

June 2010 CultureQ

“Simple question this month, folks. Which social media technology do you find most valuable for your institution (or among your clients)?”


Well, no surprise here: Facebook was your most consistent answer, followed closely by Twitter. As researchers we have to remind you that this is a darn small sample size (come on, people!), so we can't generalize. But it's a pretty unanimous voice.

As we post this summary in mid July, Facebook is about to cross the 500 million member mark. That's almost 200 million more people than live in the United States, and roughly 7% of the world's population. So this isn't rocket science for cultural and educational institutions: as one CultureQ respondent put it, "We have to go where they already are."

Interestingly, though, Twitter and Facebook may be becoming less distinct from each other as Facebookers use status updates much the way Twitterers tweet. Your comments suggest that the magic of all these tools lies not in unique technological features but in something that all of them can deliver: the convenience of short messaging and multiple modes of response. (The category name for all these short messaging services, by the way, is SMS.)

"Facebook seems to be the most effective for fans of the small jazz ensemble I work for," writes one arts marketer. "I think this is because there are many ways to interact. Audiences can express like/dislike, look at photos, etc. Not to mention it's the one that our particular audience is most likely to check into."

Twitter may have a slight edge when it comes to proliferating your organization's message as well as responding to it. One east-coast museum professional reports that "Twitter is currently our most utilized tool," especially for "announcements and promotions. We've recently seen a great deal of feedback through @replys, direct messages, retweets, and ticket sales."

Most of you, it seems, use both services — as do a large proportion of your audiences. Margaret Keogh of the Kemper Art Museum in Cincinnati sounded a common theme: "Facebook and Twitter have worked in driving visitors and keeping people up to date about exhibitions, events, etc." 

There was a minority voice here pointing out that both Facebook and Twitter don't always drive popularity: sometimes they require it in the first place. One museum educator laments that a Facebook page she created for her museum's family programs has only 18 fans. "And we started it a couple of months ago." So some of the challenges of the "real" world are merely replicated in the social-media world.

Now, our own question is whether we'd get more responses to CultureQ if we tweeted the question or posted it on our Facebook page. Wait a minute, do we have a Facebook page? You mean, LinkedIn really isn't that useful?...

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March 14, 2014 | Nicole Baltazar

Multiculturalism is key for creating inclusive arts experiences


Last month, Coca-Cola aired its now-famous Super Bowl ad depicting people from various racial, ethnic, and cultural groups singing “America the Beautiful” together in different languages. Among the instant outpouring of polarized reactions to this ad rang much praise for its depiction of a multicultural America. Yet the ad provoked a slew of negative responses as well. Many of the ad’s detractors questioned whether this multicultural America could ever feel as cohesive as an America whose citizens speak a common language, and therefore have taken great strides toward assimilating into a common culture.

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