On February 27, 2009, I had the distinct honor of presenting with Dave Ashiem from Guide by Cell and Suzanne Isken from MoCA at the California Association of Museums. The title of our session was Reach Out and Touch Your Visitors…with Technology! It was a great crowd with a lot of great questions!
Normally I talk about actual things that I’ve produced, but here I talked more from a hypothetical approach and in the process tried to be a little more philosophical and sociological. A lot of the ideas of this presentation came from a book that I’ve been reading called Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott combined with discussions happening in blogs, on twitter and via email amongst museum people. In his book Don Tapscott discusses the large shift currently taking place between older baby boomers and the younger “Net Generation”. This younger generation has not known a world without computers and technology. These Net Geners are also going to be museum visitors and hopefully new donors. What are they expecting and what should you be offering them?
Today, technology is pushing us at a rapid pace. The new quickly replaces the “old” in an online world. A younger generation is entering the workforce and has very different ways of thinking and communicating – much different than their elders. They are making advancements to the internet that are slowly bringing an end to many of the things that are comfortable to older generations – museums included! In the past, visitors would passively view artwork and occasional take a docent led tour or an audio tour with an awkwardly designed device. Today , young adults demand more interaction and engagement. They are doing these activities both with their mobile device and through online social media tools.
Is your museum prepared?