Including... digital accessibility resources, an insight into how Instagram's algorithm works and "the world's first entirely online art museum".

June 15, 2021

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Digital Snapshot, bringing you all the latest digital news, ideas, tips and guidance for the arts, culture, museums and heritage world. I hope you've been able to step away from your screens over the last couple of weeks to enjoy the sunny weather.

We'll start with a quick reminder that we have various online workshops and training sessions coming up that might be of interest. Do take a look. We also have lots of original research (ongoing) into audiences' digital behaviours. And remember, we are here to help with your digital planning, including developing your digital strategy, conducting research or supporting you with training. Please do get in touch.

Latest News

  • In the last issue of Digital Snapshot, I mentioned that Twitter was planning on launching a subscription service and here it is (albeit in Australia and Canada first). For $3.49 CAD or $4.49 AUD a month you can have access to bookmark folders, a dedicated help centre and *drumroll* the much requested 'undo tweet' button. Having been free for so long it'll be interesting to see how many people will be willing to pay. Twitter has also reopened its verification process so if you run an organisation Twitter account without the blue tick you may want to have a read and apply.
  • Instagram wrote a blog post explaining in detail how their algorithms work, which was actually pretty useful but strangely, at the time of writing the URL for the post is serving a 404 error. The web cache of the original post is here.
  • More relevant to individuals than business pages but LinkedIn has introduced a new feature called "Creator Mode", they say, "Turning on creator mode more prominently displays your content and encourages others to follow you".
  • Some of you may have come across Mighty Networks, the platform that enables you to create your own online community. The company has recently closed a $50m funding round so expect to come across more Mighty Networks over the coming months.

Useful / bookmarkable

  • I came across this the other day and it's a really good listen. Jenn Phillips-Bacher, then working at Wellcome Collection, provides some great tips about conducting user research to inform your digital work.
  • It's useful to look at the impact of Covid-19 on the arts and culture sector outside of the UK, to this end, this report from the Australia Council for the Arts has lots of insights, for example, "The proportion of users paying for online content is now 37%, comparable to levels seen in September 2020 (39%), pointing to an enduring market for premium digital experiences."
  • Lloyds has released their UK Consumer Digital Index 2021 which contains useful findings about digital behaviours, including that post-pandemic "Nine-in-ten people plan to continue with their new online activities in the future".
  • Your digital accessibility questions answered by Catalyst. And related (I think I've shared this previously but it's so useful I am including again), lots of really good advice and guidance from the Government Communication Service about ensuring your social media is accessible.
  • No, your phone/Alexa/other device is not listening to what you talk about and then serving you related ads, but it is sweeping up vast amounts of your data and using that for targeting. For an insightful explanation of how the big tech firms use data to target you, read this Twitter thread.
  • A handy little tool to make it easy to create charts and graphs to tweet.

Distracting / entertaining / inspiring

  • The Endless Letter is a lovely use of archive material to tell the stories of soldiers in WW2 (h/t to Matt Muir for that link).
  • Updating Happiness is a web project by artists Stefanie Posavec (do check out her other work, she's utterly brilliant), commissioned by Wellcome Collection. It's described thus: "Updating Happiness is an emotional check-in device that playfully draws attention to small daily pleasures that make us feel good".
  • AND Festival is currently live in hybrid form, online and on the Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey - visit their online hub to explore the programme.
  • VOMA is apparently "the world's first entirely online art museum".
  • Auditorial is a brilliant new audio storytelling platform by Google, RNIB and The Guardian. More on the background to the project here.
  • And finally, for this section, got 5 mins spare? Make a medieval meme (by National Library of the Netherlands). A fun way to teach people about the history of illuminated manuscripts in the Middle Ages.

Good Reads

That's it for this issue. If you come across any interesting or noteworthy content or have any of your own projects to share please do send it my way. Don't forget we're here to support you with training, research and consultancy, so please do get in touch. You can find all past editions of the Digital Snapshot here.

You can find me or The Audience Agency on Twitter. And here and here on LinkedIn.

See you soon, enjoy the sun while it lasts.

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