Meet the Users: Understanding the User Experience on Museums’ Social Media

Wednesday, April 07, 2021: 1:30pm - 3:00pm - - Paper Session

Sophia Bakogianni, Open University of Cyprus, Cyprus

Published paper: Meet the Users: Understanding the User Experience on Museums’ Social Media

Museums maintain a constant presence on social media in an effort to communicate and connect with their users and publicize their collections and events. Yet, little is known about the reasons that users follow museums on social media, what they think, what interactions happen there, and how they feel when they interact with museums on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This paper aims to clarify who the followers of museums on these three platforms are, what they like, what motivates them, and what they expect from museums. To do so, we conceptualize “experience” as a complex phenomenon of actions, thoughts, and emotions, and we conduct surveys and interviews to examine people’s communicative practices, their views, and their emerging feelings through their interaction with museums on social media. To enhance our understanding, one study was designed in such a way to include users of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter who do not follow museums there. To our knowledge, this is the first time that a study targeting non-followers of museums’ social media has been conducted.

The results showed that followers of museum accounts are motivated both by informational and visual content. They are curious about museum posts and feel “connected” with the museums they are following. Despite their reluctance to engage with the content and the other followers in a visible way, they are still “present” in the network, while they anticipate that museum staff (or the social media manager) will participate in discussions on comments. On the other hand, the results provide insights into the perceptions of users who do not follow museums and the media and/or content that would encourage them to follow.

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