I always enjoy Nina Simon’s Museum 2.0 blog. On December 30, 2008 she wrote “An Open Letter to Museums on Twitter”. This post is now almost 3 years old, which is a long time in tech time. I’d forgotten that Twitter had been around for that long.
She listed 7 tweeting rules. The comments after each rule are mine and not hers.
1. Don’t Use Twitter to spam me about visiting.
Don’t send a tweet saying “It’s a rainy day out, so you ought to visit the museum”. I have to admit I wouldn’t want those kind of tweets.
2. It’s okay if you start by just following.
Following appears to be everything in Twitter. I’m not positive on this, but I think if one person has 50 followers and each of those 50 also has 50 distinct or unique followers, that a Tweet will go to the first person, then each of his 50 followers will get the Tweet and then it will go to each of their 50 followers. Obviously a quick way for thousands of people to get a message they might be interested in.
3. Once you decide to tweet, make it interesting.
Some potential followers will go to your site and look at your most recent tweets and scan through about ten of them and decide if they look boring or interesting and decide if they want to Follow you. That’s going to be difficult. Maybe impossible. We’ll try, but I just can’t thing of many good example of an interesting Tweet offhand.
4. Tell me something I can’t find on your homepage
It’s okay to use Twitter to tell about new exhibits, programs or hours, but don’t limit Twitter to that. She gave lots of good examples here. Talk about moving a large object. Point to other sites on the web that users might not find without your Tweet.
5. Tell me who you are
She gave really good examples here. The Tweet could say “I am the Griggs County Museum. It is 40 below out and I have no heat and all of my artifacts with high moisture content are starting to splinter”, or something along that line.
6. Respond to people
It could be a lot of work to respond to everybody that sends you a Tweet, but you should try. I guess it would be the museum Followers that would tweet the museum and the museum should answer back. Maybe in some cases someone the Museum is following would tweet us, and we could tell our followers about a Tweet that we got from someone we are following. Hmm.
7. Give me content worthy of your institution.
She gave the example of pretending that you are being interviewed by a local radio station. What would you say to try to introduce your museum. How would you say it to appear friendly and inviting.
She gives a lot more good examples and ideas. We’ll try to follow them as much as possible. And of course we always want to hear your comments on this site.
Her final piece of advice was Once you decide to tweet, make it interesting.
We’ll sure do our best.
It would really help us out if as many as possible could start Following the museum on Twitter. It’s Free. You just have to go to www.twitter.com and start an account. Search for “Griggs County” then just click on one of the Tweets and then click on the Follow button. It’s really simple. I think you’ll get the Tweets in your email by default. It’s optional to add your cell phone and get the Tweets as text messages.
And then you can start tweeting us with your ideas on improving our Tweet quality.