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Below The Surface

Friday, March 6, 2009

Web Wiser

It's Friday. A whole week away from the WebWise gathering in Washington, DC last week and I'm still trying to process everything I gained from the conference. It's a challenge coming back from an event like WebWise, especially if it's done really well. Your mind is busting with new ideas, contacts, programs and projects you want to learn more about, books you need to read, people you want to talk with again.

So, how about a brain dump of why I am WebWiser after hanging with the museum & library folks last week:
  • Many museums and libraries at the conference were looking at how to bust into the social media or new media scene. Concerns about branding, content, control were expressed. Voices has been grappling with these as well and what I heard from the panelists jibes with the decisions we've made. Check out one of the best presentations on this very theme by Michael Edson, the Director of Web and New Media Strategy for the Smithsonian Institution.
  • Patrick Whitney, Dean of the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology said: "Everyone wants change but they don't want to do anything differently." That's just a thinker for those of us throwing ourselves into the Web 2.0 world.
  • As we introduce new social media tools like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. to our patrons, make it easy. Bring them along with you so that you build and expand your online community rather than targeting only those that are "web-savvy". Great example from the Columbus Center of Science and Industry (CoSI) is their Share tab on their website.
  • From participant Aaron Schmidt "Social media is like a free kitten. Easy to get one, but then you have to take care of it." Managing and monitoring your social media tools takes people, time & a commitment to keeping a true dialogue alive online.
  • LISTEN-JOIN-CONNECT-LISTEN MORE-EXPERIMENT I'll keep this mantra in my head as our project grows, especially the experiment part. Some things work, some don't, some take a bit of tweaking and that's a part of how we're learning to deepen the experience for our guests both at the aquarium and online.
I can hear the back-up warning beep as the dump truck of WebWise deep thoughts keeps unloading more, so I'll stop here. Just like Travis, I've got a queue of post ideas now and I can't wait to share more. I want to thank everyone at WebWise, it was a fabulous and mind-blowing three days. I'm all ready jonesin' for more! ~Bridget, Voices For the Lake Manager

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