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Community and Diversity Curators

#MuseumHour 4 Years On

On Monday 8 October we celebrate #MuseumHour‘s 200th edition. It also marks the community’s 4th birthday. Twitter timelines on Monday evenings in the UK and all sorts of other time zones across the world have never been quite the same.

When Sophie Ballinger and I started up #MuseumHour this is what we had in mind. Amazingly, there has been no mission creep. It is still the same, just bigger.

It’s a very simple enterprise, light weight but high energy and without any constrictions of institutionalism or stakeholder expectation. It’s free and for all-comers.

Two years ago we were marking our 100th #MuseumHour. Then, we had two co-organisers, had 46 guest hosts and ~130K impressions per month. Today we have three co-organisers, have had 102 guest hosts (some serial guests) and we get ~ 313.1K impressions per month. A few weeks ago we passed the 10,000 follower milestone.

And we don’t even bother with a blue tick.

We are not funded or supported by any organisation. It’s as independent as you can get. Even if you are not a Twitter-user, you can access all the chat from the website. Unlike Facebook, Twitter is not (yet) a walled garden.

The we is important. My view as a co-organiser is to let the community lead its direction. I have no desire to manage the community or shape the various themes and subjects that get suggested to us. The result is that people seem to really feel like they are part of something, and they are as equally part of it as the next follower.

It’s because of this attitude–shared by co-organisers Katy Jackson and Kate Groome–that the most engaged-with tweet over the last 6 months was about museum toilets.

And that’s all I’m interested in saying about analytics and statistics. The popularity of #MuseumHour and the organic way it has grown has meant it has attracted the attention of more people and organisations wishing to use the platform to gain a new audience. This is great, but we don’t provide analytics or statistics to guest hosts as this is about taking part first, promotion and profile-raising will come automatically if you do that well.

It’s nice to hear that #MuseumHour is now a regularly recommended part of someone’s study or volunteer work, and many pledge to take part as part of their AMA (CPD award organised by the Museums Association).

The one area of change that I am particularly keen on supporting is the growth in interest outside the UK. Over the last year and a bit we have had #MuseumHour hosted in Estonia, Croatia, Sweden and New Zealand (twice). Maybe #MuseumHour could use a different language as well as English some time?

Happy 4th Birthday, #MuseumHour! Here is every person and topic that has made it happen so far.