Including...a Twitter Special, David Hockney's immersive exhibition and the publication of the 2022 Consumer Digital Index.
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.
It's been an interesting few weeks hasn't it? Elon Musk has fired or alienated most of Twitter's staff, confused everyone with verification, backtracked on the idea of a content moderation council by directly polling Twitter users whether he should reinstate Donald Trump, and generally caused some of us to pre-emptively grieve what we've come to know not as a hell site, but a hell home.
There's a lot to dig into about what cultural organisations and professionals could and should be doing with this dumpster fire, so this newsletter has a limited-edition Twitter Special.
- As I said in this thread, there is no point predicting what Elon Musk will do next. There is no 5D chess, he is just winging it. Twitter probably won't die but it could become more unstable and toxic. Its future is likely to be subscription-first and more aligned with Elon's vision of an 'Everything App'.
- It's worth reserving your organisation handles on Twitter competitors like Mastodon and Hive, as well as downloading your Twitter archive (if it's working). Here's a good introduction to Mastodon and here's one for Hive. Personally, I would put off trying to post regularly on Twitter-equivalent platforms until it's certain Twitter is dead in the water.
- It's worth discussing within your organisation what line needs to be crossed for you to leave Twitter, or for that matter any other social media channel. Would it be dropping below a minimum level of engagement/followers? When Elon crosses a particular ethical line? When its user base becomes too toxic to handle for whoever posts your social media?
- Despite all its faults, Twitter has boosted marginalised voices, built communities, made us go viral and - particularly in my case - made some of our careers what they are. While cultural professionals can set up shop on email lists, forums and places like Mastodon, there's no guarantee we can reach and converse with the multitude of other people and communities that exist on Twitter. Twitter's strength is those communities, and when they go there is no point being on the platform. Whatever happens, I'll be tracking where all this goes through this newsletter.
- David Hockney is jumping on the immersive exhibition wagon. Having worked on his exhibition at the RA where his iPad drawings felt a bit unsatisfactory printed out, I can see his colours and motion working much better in this setting. Also worth checking out Ed Rodley's article, exploring why he thinks "Museum professionals would be wise to see immersive exhibitions as a beginning, not an end."
- You already know this, but Arts Council England have announced the 2023-2026 National Portfolio Organisations. We're here to help you whether the news was good or bad, and our Director Anne Torreggiani has this update on our own plans at The Audience Agency.
- You can now enter for the Digital Culture Awards, with entries closing 12 January 2023. It's a rare opportunity for recognition of the amazing work that you do, from social media to income generation to inclusion to data to transformation to etc. etc.
Useful / bookmarkable
- The Digital Culture Network have a page of tech platforms they've seen organisations using.
- Lloyds Bank PLC have published their 2022 Consumer Digital Index. It's geared toward finance but has some interesting/startling insights, such as how 4.5m of the UK population cannot turn on a device and enter login information by themselves.
- KPMG have published their 2022 Global Tech Report (h/t Chris Unitt's newsletter). It's very focused on digital transformation and how delivering excellent customer service is the reason and dividend of that transformation.
Distracting / entertaining / inspiring
- Don't judge yourself by others. If you're posting content then you're part of the valuable 1%.
- HM Treasury joined Discord, and users have been finding ingenious ways of working around their read-only mode.
- This is the best article I've seen on the whole Twitter thing, by Nilay Patel at The Verge. Basically, Twitter is not like SpaceX or Tesla, because "the problems with Twitter are not engineering problems. They are political problems."
And that’s all for this edition. 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 also post your thoughts on digital and data-related topics to us and a wider community through our newly launched Community forum.
Head of Digital, The Audience Agency
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The Digital Snapshot newsletter shares the latest, most important news from the social media and digital world - as relevant to the arts, culture and heritage sectors.