Using inquiry to stimulate conversations around art (Optimize your social media for epiphanies!)

Chad Weinard, Independent Consultant, USA, Ashley Weinard, Eduseum Consulting, USA, Meagan Estep, National Gallery of Art, USA, Margaret Collerd Sternbergh, The Phillips Collection, USA

What if social media success was measured not in fans, followers, retweets or marketing metrics, but rather by how well it directly fulfilled an institution’s mission? How do you optimize an art museum’s social media for epiphanies?*

This workshop will offer concrete strategies for engaging audiences to look, think and learn in deeper ways through social media. Museum educators will model easy approaches to facilitating inquiry-based conversation around works of art, all of which can be used with any type of collection object and require no background content knowledge. Participants will learn the techniques and the thinking behind the strategies through group practice exercises and conversations. We’ll reflect as a group on the experience and the potential benefits for online communities.

Social media pros will then present a handful of ways they have adapted these strategies online to engage fans and followers in a deeper way. Triumphs and failures will be discussed. Participants will go hands-on (their keyboards) to try out inquiry approaches using multiple platforms and personal (or maybe even their museum) accounts.

Finally, the workshop will offer a behind-the-scenes look at inquiry-based social media in action. The team behind #breakforart, a weekly inquiry-based twitter conversation from @phillipsmuseum, will host their event live from the workshop. We’ll see the strategies behind the questions, and discuss how the conversation is guided and focused as the responses come in.

* “Optimizing for epiphanies” credit Rob Stein, MCN 2011

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