Including...a spotlight on Threads, the upcoming AMA Conference and a game about making paperclips.
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.
Social media managers rejoice, there is another platform for you to handle: Threads. Personally, I'm not a fan - it's missing critical features, it steals your data and the feed is crammed with people I don't follow (nor want to follow) making the same terrible jokes. So, a lot like Facebook or the 'For You' Twitter tab. That said, my advice is always to follow your audience - and Threads has already attracted over 100 million users. If Twitter dies, Threads will be where the bulk of your followers go.
Threads benefits from being paired with Instagram, making the transition easier than trying to understand what a Mastodon instance is or waiting for a Bluesky invite. But let's face it, the real driver of its success is Elon Musk's toxification and monetisation of Twitter, driving us unwillingly into the arms of another data-harvesting billionaire whose only redeeming quality is that he at least keeps his mouth shut most of the time.
For now, the annoying algorithmic feed on Threads is an opportunity to make your pitch to people who are hearing about you for the first time. That means re-using some of your best-performing content from other channels, making an effort to have conversations, reacting to trends and - crucially - not going hard on shilling your programme when your existing audience can get that information elsewhere already.
- In other Threads news, Meta won't be launching advertising on the new platform for at least a year. Alt text, DMs, a Following feed and a bunch of other critical features are supposedly in the works.
- The Russell Group of universities in the UK has announced some principles on the use of generative AI for students. It's a recognition that this horse has already bolted, and the best we can do is mitigate and educate students on the effects of AI in research and writing.
- The AMA conference is in Leeds this week! Come drink pints and talk social media with me on Wednesday evening, book a chat with me at our stall and make sure to catch our CEO Anne's talk on what the Cultural Participation Monitor panel survey can tell us about differences in engagement across generations.
Useful / bookmarkable
- The polarised debate on Trans rights continues to ensnare organisations online, including most recently the People's History Museum and the V&A. Edinburgh Zoo's response to criticism of their LGBTQ+ tweet is a case study in preparing for a social media backlash and standing behind your values.
- Worth keeping an eye on this - the AHRC are funding the University of Brighton to create a community of practice around digital skills for Higher Education Institutions, galleries, libraries, archives and museums. Also worth checking out the One By One project's previous work on digital skills if you haven't already.
- Storything's Attention Matters article series is an incredible resource analysing what various digital analytics metrics actually mean. They've also just interviewed John Stack, Digital Director at the Science Museum Group (h/t Alec Ward's newsletter).
Distracting / entertaining / inspiring
- This is a deceptively simple and addictive game about making paperclips, starting with one button and ending with the consumption of the entire universe. In an interview with its creator, he says it's meant to "provoke ideas about artificial intelligence, clicker games, and environmental devastation...".
- I identify with Myth/Fact no.2.
- A couple of articles stood out to me recently. One on the danger of wishfully thinking AI could be a force for good, when it's more likely to consolidate corporate profits, and one examining the grifterverse of social media (which you can see in full swing on Threads).
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.
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You can find all past editions of the Digital Snapshot here.
See you soon.
Head of Digital, The Audience Agency