Adam Koszary, Issue 118/06, p14, 01.06.2018
Mind your language
The Museum of English Rural Life had a surreal start to April when our “absolute unit” tweet went viral (see Trendswatch feature). There is a lot of luck involved in going viral, but an essential ingredient of our success was speaking the same language as the internet.

Museums have long struggled with how to present themselves on social media, and where to draw the line of respectability in how we interact with followers. The way in which most people (particularly the young) speak online is irreverent, ironic and humorous. The way in which most museums speak on social media is not that.

Simply being on social media is not enough to make you relevant in the digital age; it is how you use social media to connect with your audiences that makes you relevant.

It is our challenge to communicate with new and younger audiences, while still exciting them with our collections, culture and histories. We can use memes just like everyone else, but we also link to the objects.

But speaking the language of the internet isn’t easy. The best starting point is to ask younger members of staff for help, give your social media people some freedom, recognise that being informal is not the end of the world, and truly treat social media as a form of museum engagement.

Adam Koszary is project manager and digital lead at the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading