About The Author

David Grabitske

David Grabitske is the manager of outreach services at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Alison Circle, a librarian who writes the “Bubble Room” blog for Library Journal, recently had a posting on “Top Ten Things for Marketers to Try.”  Number 5 is Learn a New Technology: “Last Friday I had a conversation with a friend about social media. I loved what she had to say: the people who are successful in this arena just jumped in feet first into the deep end. They didn’t worry about how, or who, or metrics, or audience. They just went for it. So if you don’t have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, open one today.”


Do you agree or disagree that jumping right in the deep end is the best way to get started with social media?


~Kathie Otto

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4 Responses to Going for Social Media

  1. Rose Sherman says:

    Don’t jump in the deep end! First, seek to understand how social media works and social media tools by dipping your toe in the shallow end. Next, think about what type of audience community you wish to engage with using social media. I posted a presentation on this topic at http://www.mnhs.org/library/about/general.html. Accompanying the presentation is a Museums Social Media Strategic Planning Worksheet at http://www.slideshare.net/mnHistoricalSociety/museum-social-media-planning-worksheet. Explore these and lets discuss!


  2. Rose Sherman says:

    Oops .. I pasted the wrong link for the location of the presentation … visit http://www.slideshare.net/mnHistoricalSociety/being-there-museums-and-social-media


  3. Mary Warner says:

    Actually, I think it’s fine to jump in the deep end. Whenever you are learning a new online app, you’re going to have your deep end moments where you don’t know how to do certain things or how to push the medium to best advantage.

    So long as new apps keep coming along, there will be a learning curve and the apps will continue to evolve. Twitter recently added a retweet feature, standardizing something that users had organically invented.

    If you’re worried about adopting a new app for your organization, try it out on a personal level first. Then you can decide whether an app is going to work for your organization and what audience it will reach. I’ve done this personal testing with every app we now use at the Weyerhaeuser Museum. First I blogged, then we blogged at the museum. First I tweeted, then we tweeted at the museum.

    I knew from personal experience that Twitter was good for reaching an institutional audience and those the museum didn’t have a personal relationship with. After using Facebook personally, I knew this was an app that was going to help us reach people that already knew something about our museum.

    It doesn’t hurt to look before diving into the deep end, but don’t over-think it or you’ll never leave the diving board.


  4. Joe Hoover says:

    I agree with both Rose and Mary, you should jump in but the best way to do it is to lurk a bit and see how things work. Jumping in the deep end is one thing, but diving in the shallow end is just plain dumb. Start with your own account to use as a guinea pig rather than your organization’s. Mistakes learning on personal accounts often go unnoticed where on organizational accounts they can be very public and very noticed.

    The best thing to remember however is – you will make mistakes in social media – some social media experts say, and I tend to agree, if you are not making mistakes then you are not really doing social media.

    Sending out carefully crafted tweets or blog posts that read like a press release are not social and miss the point.

    The other extreme is problematic too, not knowing what you are getting into. Turning loose the college intern on your twitter account to represent your organization may not be the wisest thing to do. Nor is getting into heated arguments on health care, abortion, gun laws, local zoning, city council rants and other issues on your organization’s Facebook page (or controversially your director’s personal page) that have no bearing to your organization and may only serve to turn off funders, and members.

    My last point is jumping in may be fine but remember, social media takes commitment and time. The pay-off can be great, especially for museums which live often by word-of-mouth but starting a process and abandoning it is very unsocial to your followers and fans indeed.


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