Three or four years ago, our digital presence largely consisted of a website, a few gallery interactives, and a lot of emails. Now, you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Google+, and thanks to our Arts Council funding as a Major Partner museum, we can commission smartphone apps and more experimental projects like Map the Museum and Murder in the Manor. Producing these things is only part of the work; further work also goes on behind the scenes to evaluate the success of these projects, and understand how they engage our audiences.
Tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights provide helpful data, but they often only tell half the story. Understanding changes in the digital landscape is more than a numbers game. What impact does a large Twitter following have? Is Facebook really a useful marketing tool? More people are using mobile devices to navigate the web, but does this mean they use our websites in different ways?
As part of this work the Royal Pavilion and Museums has been a partner in the second phase of the Let’s Get Real action research project run by Brighton based Culture 24. Alongside national museums such as the V&A, Tate and the British Museum, and major museums and theatres such as the Wellcome Collection, Historic Royal Palaces and Shakespeare’s Globe, we’ve been sharing data and ideas about what digital engagement really means.
The project has been running for almost a year now, and will culminate in a conference held in Brighton on Monday 16 September, with a great line up of speakers from the arts, museum and publishing worlds, and the innovative GOV.UK team. The conference will wrap up with the launch of the Let’s Get Real Phase 2 report in Brighton Museum & Art gallery.
The conference is also part of an exciting programme of events for this year’s Brighton Digital Festival. At the Royal Pavilion and Museums, we’re working on several events for the festival, and I’ll post more details about these next week.
Kevin Bacon, Digital Development Officer