Web 2-0

The Cloud

Moving your organization's data to a cloud server might be a good idea at this time.  There are several advantages to working off of a cloud server and a few drawbacks. Some advantages to going to cloud computing:

Accessibility is generally improved through cloud storage.  You can access data from anywhere that you have internet access.

Security on cloud storage services is up to the standard of where ever you have your cloud.  Google and Amazon have some of the best experts on digital security in the world for instance and using a cloud operated by them gives you a greater degree of safety for your data.

The Capacity of cloud storage is very flexible and is expandable with comparative ease.  The fact that cloud storage servers will never need to be upgraded or replaced does save you capital expenses as well as man hours.

The downside:

You don't own it and you have to play by someone else's rules.  If you are using a smaller company, please, make sure to check out their backup plans, security measures, and records regarding downtime and maintenance schedules.

It may be hard to use cloud servers with certain types of databases or other programs and as such may present an integration issue (ticketing systems, development programs, etc).  Make sure you have a plan to get the information from point A to point B if necessary.

In event that you don't have access to the internet you are completely cut off unless you back up to a physical source onsite.  It can be distressing for obvious reasons if your internet service goes sideways and you end up with multiple idle employees until it is restored.


Are you really my friend? The Facebook Portrait Project

I went to elementary school with her- confirm request. He is the son of my mom’s friend from work- confirm request. She’s a friend of a friend that also likes Amos Lee, Portland, Maine and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, but we’ve never actually met- confirm request. The word “friend” is now synonymous with Facebook and its meaning has been redefined to incorporate relationships formed as loosely as in the situations above. Regardless of how intimate your real world relationships are with your newest virtual “friends,” they receive the same amount of information and become privy to the innermost private details of your life through your Facebook activity, statuses and photos.

Yes, you can “poke” others on Facebook, but Maine photographer Tanja Alexia Hollander, has discovered through her own Facebook friendship odyssey that Facebook cannot replace human interactions

Social media has become a fundamental part of our society in the 21st century. Its convenience allows us to instantaneously communicate and share a level of intimacy with those we know well and many we don’t know at all. Despite its presence in our lives today, social networks cannot replicate human interaction. It is arguable, however, that the online environments we’ve created and the resulting reduction of human interaction have an impact on our relationships.

Since the beginning of 2011, Hollander has embarked on a journey to meet (some for the first time) and photograph all 626 of her Facebook friends, traveling across the state, country and world to reach them in their most intimate and private space: their home. Hollander’s photographic and personal journey grew into the project and upcoming exhibit “Are you really my friend? The Facebook portrait project.”

More than just an exploration of virtual social networks and humans’ dual existence in a cyber space and physical, real world space, Hollander’s project and exhibition explores the evolution and modern-day role of formal portraiture, the meaning of home and the future of human interactions and American culture in an increasingly virtual world.

My project is an exploration of friendships, the effects of social networks and the intimate places we call home. Facebook seemed an ideal forum for this exploration. Though we are in the initial stages of understanding the effects of social networking on American culture and photography there is a pervasive feeling that it is changing our interactions with each other and building a false sense of community.

But do not misinterpret Hollander’s project or exhibition- she is neither defaming Facebook nor purging herself of it upon completion of the project. Quite the contrary, actually. As a result of visiting with and photographing each of her friends, Hollander discovered they do in fact pay close attention to her life online and wanted to follow up about what they saw or read. To Hollander, this gave greater merit and value to the relationships she maintains via Facebook and lessened the gap she was questioned between our simultaneous existence in cyber space and the real world.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Hollander before the holidays as she approached the final stages of preparing for the exhibition. Since her project has received wide coverage and media attention, I wanted to discuss Hollander’s relationship with social media as co-founder of the self-serving, fine arts photography studio, the Bakery Photographic Collective in Westbrook, Maine. As a manager and artist, Hollander is in the unique position of successfully managing the studio and doing so with a great sensitivity and passion for the arts.

Hollander is admittedly still overwhelmed by the possibilities, perks and opportunities of blogging and social media, though she now considers herself a Facebook expert (and if you have been following Hollander, the project's Facebook page and photographs, you would most definitely agree).

I asked Hollander specifically about the use of Facebook as both an artist and co-manager of the Bakery Photographic Collective

Now I’m obsessed with it. I’m learning as I go. It has been a process of realization of the perks Facebook offers. It has created an audience. Facebook is really important for an artist promoting their own work. In this down economy, artists can’t rely on galleries for sales- that model is shifting.

Hollander plans to turn her Facebook love loose on the Bakery Photographic Collective’s page once preparations for her February exhibit are complete. For Hollander, Facebook has helped her maintain 626 “friendships,” locate each person geographically and most impressively, create a virtual exhibit to complement her real world exhibit at the museum, as each of her photographed friends were asked to upload their portrait as their Profile Picture.

What started out as a personal documentary on friendship and environmental portraiture has turned into an exploration of American culture, relationships, generosity & compassion, family structure, community building, storytelling, meal sharing, our relationship to technology & travel in the 21st century, social networking, memory, and the history of the portrait.

The possibilities of Web 2.0 for artists as creators and managers promoting their work are endless- Hollander says

I am able to post work as I make it, have a dialogue with a global audience, and market - in one location.

Hollander's exhibit opens February 4th at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine.

(Photo Credit: Tanja Alexia Hollander)

All things 2.0: Web, Museum and Photo

Before I introduce Maine artist Tanja Hollander in a soon-to-be-published post, take a look at these persuasive and content-rich lectures addressing certain topics of Hollander's project Are You Really My Friend?: the impact, opportunities and shortcomings of web 2.0 for artists, museums, cultural institutions and art venues. Not sure what exactly Web 2.0 is or how museums can best use it? Start here, with Nina Simon’s informative and practical explanation of what it is, what it is not and how the museum exhibition can be used as platform for user generated content. Additionally,  the video allows viewers like you to leave voice comments following the presentation.

I believe that museums have the potential to undergo a similar (r)evolution as that on the web, to transform from static content authorities to dynamic platforms for content generation and sharing. I believe that visitors can become users, and museums central to social interactions.

If you are well-versed and comfortable with Web 2.0, Andy Adam’s lecture explores the many possibilities for photographers through Photo 2.0 and the role of Photo 2.0 in redefining photography as a medium.

Photo 2.0 – Online Photographic Thinking / SPE Conference at Light Work from Light Work on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for next week's blog featuring Hollander and her upcoming exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine which celebrates, challenges and responds to the future of a Web 2.0 society.


googleplusGoogle+, the search engine giant’s new social networking site with 20 million users, has been getting a lot of press lately. There’s already some good advice out there for art nonprofits from the usual suspects (Devon Smith, Heather Mansfield). And artists are already exploring this new way of sharing their music and visual pieces. With technology this new, there is always a lot of experimentation by the early adopters, speculation by the commentators, and caution from the silent majority. But even at this early point in time, when the fate of Google+ is up in the air, there is one thing that I am certain of: that is that Google + represents a revolution in the integration of digital activity and the way we interact with the world around us. In this article, we’ll talk about what sets Google + apart, how it is integrated with other Google products, and what implications it holds for business in general and the arts in particular.

What is Google+?

Check out the Google+ intro video if you haven’t already:

There’s a lot of chatter in the blogosphere right now around the idea that Google+ is the ultimate content-sharing platform. The reasons given for this range from enhanced privacy controls making people more comfortable with sharing to the Sparks feature which allows users to find and share content without leaving the platform.

  • Circles

One of the biggest things separating Google+ from the rest of the social media pack is its Circles. Instead of all of your contacts either being a friend/follower or not being one, they can be put into different Circles- friends, family, colleagues, etc. Then- and this is the kicker- you can choose who will view which posts. No more work colleagues or family members seeing your expletive-filled posts or pictures from that party.

Sure, Facebook has groups. But in a Facebook group, users choose to join the group--on Google+, you choose the names of your circles and assign who is in them. In Facebook groups, you can post on the group’s wall (which involves first going to the group page), but anyone who visits the page can see what you posted. With Google+, you can choose to share content only with certain circles, adding an extra layer of privacy.

  • Enhanced Privacy Controls

Chris Brogan covers this pretty well in this short video. Privacy controls are more transparent and easy to find compared to Facebook.

  • Sparks

Google is still primarily a search engine, so it’s no coincidence that they have an integrated search feature in the network. “Sparks” allows you to enter a topic you’re interested in (say, nonprofits), and every time you login, you can click that word to find many articles on the topic that you can then share with as many or as few Circles as you like.

  • +1 and Search Engine Optimization integration

plusoneEven if you haven’t made a Google+ account yet, you’ve probably seen the little “+1” icons around the Web. It’s Google’s version of a “like” button. Unlike Facebook’s button, whose data Google doesn’t have access to, a +1 actually impacts search rankings. So, the more +1s a website, article, or video has, the higher it appears in searches, and the more likely people will find it and share it, etc.

If you want to learn more about the nuts and bolts, check out Mashable’s guide to G+.

While all these features may pave the way for Google+ to become the content capital of the interwebs, right now, companies, organizations and brands can’t directly participate in this content-sharing utopia.

Currently, the only way for brands to get their content onto G+ is through “real people’s” accounts- employees, constituents, secret admirers, etc. This makes it even more important that your organization has something interesting to say and compelling to share.


Imagine a world where the offers you receive are based on data not only from your activities, but your friends’ activities . . . where place-based businesses target customers not only by email and postal mail within certain zip codes, but by what street you are walking down, or which restaurant your friends have gathered at . . . This world, where social networking merges with mobile-based services and retail, is closer than ever to being a reality with Google+.

Already, Google Offers has been launched in New York and San Francisco, beaming coupons to customers based on their location and preferences. According to Stephanie Tilenius, Google’s VP of Commerce, Google Offers and Google Wallet (the company’s payment system) will be integrated into G+ as well as other Google properties such as Maps.

Edd Dumbill at O’Reilly Radar is calling this integration of social networks with other web-based applications a “social backbone” to our entire web experience, as opposed to the “walled garden” of existing social networks.

. . . social features will become pervasive, and fundamental to our interaction with networked services. Collaboration from within applications will be as natural to us as searching for answers on the web it today . . . Search removed the need to remember domain names and URLs . . . . The social backbone will relieve our need to manage email addresses and save us laborious ‘friending’ and permission granting activity . . .

All this integration, says Dumbill, will help computers better serve users.

Where does this leave business?

So the world may be changing. How should you prepare for that? Below are some tips from some smart guys at Social Media Explorer.

Jason Falls “Stay the course with what you’re doing. Wait for the brand-permissions and guidelines to come from Google on the Plus platform. Experiment with it for yourself to know how it works and how non-linear you have to be thinking to optimize the use of Circles.”

Mark Ivey Five questions to ask for starters, and to make sure you’re positioned for the G+ world:

  • Are you in the game? Do you have a presence across paid (search, broadcast, etc), earned (events) and owned (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and now G+) media? These are your marketing beachheads, and you’ll need to work across the board to make sure you’re connecting with customers with your messages.
  • Do you have a clear content marketing strategy? If so, you’re already using listening tools and engaging in related conversations. Adjust your strategy for G+-and stick to it. If not, better get one in order fast-I just met with two companies last week, neither had a content strategy, both are scrambling in catch-up mode.
  • Is your content relevant? If you’re unclear on the role and importance of relevant content, read Michael Brito’s nice analysis piece on SME. Conduct a content audit, compare it to industry conversations, and judge for yourself. Is your content hitting the target? Are you involved and influencing industry conversations? What is your share of voice around key topics?
  • Do you have a content engine and systematic publishing process? Then you should have apublishing model and be systematically chunking out content, carefully targeted to your key audiences. Run it like a publisher, with clear editorial direction, calendars, and hire editors to help you drive it- more tips here
  • Do you have control over your destiny? Putting all of your eggs into one basket you don’t control is stupid. Why put all your resources into building Facebook Pages when you don’t own that real estate (No one knows how G+ will affect FB yet but the risk is obvious)? The same is true of Google+-it’s a marketing outpost, not your home base. Better to build your own blogs, communities and following, and diversify your investments across several platforms, along with following a carefully crafted plan. Build a defensible program that can weather any storm, since no one knows how this will play out (who would predict G+’s amazing launch?)

This is a great opportunity to step back, take a deep breath and assess your overall strategy and social media program. There’s no reason to panic.

Where does this leave the arts?

Ah- now THAT’S the interesting question, and it’s one our industry will probably be talking about for, oh, the next year or so. With G+’s emphasis on content and people (not brands), two conclusions jump out:

- Producing art that resonates with our audiences is vital, and

- People are our most valuable asset.

To be sure, these aren’t new ideas. What’s new, though, is that what our audience tells each other about our work now has as much or more digital presence than what we tell our audience about our work. The level of content-sharing that Google+ enables means that it is becoming easier for friends to share opinions about articles, art, politics, entertainment, etc at any time. Additionally, the more something is shared, the higher its search ranking. So getting people to talk about art online is more important than ever. Do you ask your audience what they think of your art? Do you encourage them to talk to their friends about it online, continuing the conversation long after they’ve left the building? Do you reward your super-fans who already post about your organization to their social networks? What about tying in the art you present or produce with trending topics?

A new social layer to the web means it’s all about giving ‘em something to talk about.

More cool articles on G+: The Social Layer: Six Thoughts On Where Google Plus Is Going Three Key Things Google Is Doing While We Focus on Google+ What the Circles Illustrate About Influence List of important updates coming soon in Google Plus

Developing Jazz and Classical Audiences with Technology

Technology in the Arts is pleased to present our new white paper Online Audience Engagement: Strategies for Developing Jazz and Classical Audiences, spearheaded by writer Tara George.

Many of you may remember critic Terry Teachout’s controversial Wall Street Journal article that asked if jazz could “be saved?” Teachout’s article, in response to the NEA’s 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, prompted a variety of reactions across the field. Despite much of the hostility directed at Teachout, his question and concerns seemed to be valid and worth exploring, especially since the survey indicatedthat audiences (particularly for jazz, classical and opera music) were shrinking and growing older at an alarming rate. An interesting twist came in 2010 with the release of the NEA’s Audience 2.0 survey. A key finding in this survey was that Americans who participate in the arts through technology and electronic media (television, Internet, handheld devices) were three times more likely to attend a live arts event. Much like Teachout’s initial article, this survey also prompted a round of discussion about correlation and causation. Despite the controversy and debate, it is undeniable that technology is one of the most promising tools that organizations can use to build a younger fan base.

This white paper explores the role that digital marketing is now playing in building audiences in the jazz and classical music realm. This report also highlights the work of several artists and organizations at the forefront of reaching and developing new audiences online. It’s important to note, however, that most of the organizations and artists here would classify their work and the music they present as a hybrid of multiple genres. Though that distinction falls outside the scope of this report, it’s an important trend to take note of that can have a direct impact on digital marketing. Finally, we have provided a concise 4-step guide as an example of how many organizations actually implement best practices.

Organizations Highlighted:

We hope that you find each case study in this report to be encouraging and inspiring! Here were a few of the organizations we featured:

  • Mobtown Modern: was founded by Brian Sacawa in 2008. This organization fills a void in Baltimore’s vibrant music scene and serves as a catalyst for musical innovation and the creation and presentation of the new music of our time.
  • New Amsterdam Records and New Amsterdam Presents: New Amsterdam Records is the for-profit record label subsidiary of New Amsterdam Presents, a presenting and artists’ service organization that supports the public’s engagement with new music by composers and performers whose work grows from the fertile ground between genres.
  • Revive Music Group: serves as New York’s leader in conceptual and never-before-experienced live music productions—for a jazz and hip-hop celebration giving a unique aural exhibition of the undercurrents connecting the genres and ultimately fans of multiple generations.
  • Search and Restore: is a New York-based organization dedicated to uniting and developing the audience for new jazz music.

Download this report today!

And please share with colleagues by clicking the "ShareThis" icon below.

The Art of Social Media Analytics, Part 3

Summer is the “off-season” for many of us in the arts world. Why not take this time to refresh your social media strategy? This is part 3 of our 3-part series on social media analytics tools. Check out Part 1 and Part 2.

blue_dataThe last part of our series concerns making management decisions based on data. Once you have the data, what do you do with it? As we come up with more sophisticated methods to track social media sentiment and reach, it becomes possible to track more accurately how people are responding to social media. This is especially important because social media can be a valuable part of your market research. It is like a 24-hour focus group, answering many of the questions you may have about your audience as well as the questions you didn’t think to ask.

As mentioned in Part 2, there are a variety of questions that you may have about your audience and a variety of tools that track different measures of success. Some tools are narrowly focused on one measure, while others give you a conglomeration of these measures. Some examples of the measurements of success include:

  • Sentiment: Are social media users referring to my organization positively, negatively, or neutrally?
  • Conversions: How many and which fans are buying online (or offline)?
  • Spikes in activity or “buzz”: How are social media users responding online to campaigns?
  • Impact: How many people is the message reaching and how much influence does the organization have? How many people are sharing posts?

When thinking about measurement tools and management decisions, the first question is often, when is it worth it to pay for analytic tools? As technology evolves to be able to track more specific and more valuable information, more paid analytics tools have come on to the market.  There are two basic instances where it’s worth it:

1) when you have a large customer base

2) when you need enterprise-level social media analytics

Firstly, if you have a large customer base or a large social media base (no hard and fast rule, but larger than 100,000) and you are literally having trouble monitoring comments on your brand, you need a tool that takes more of a summary view. Secondly, most paid tools are enterprise-level tools--tools that more than one person can manage or assign tasks to others and have other special features. If you feel you need this type of functionality, then paying for an analytics may be worth it.

Besides those two factors, a company should also consider the elusive “Holy Grail of Social Media,” return on investment, or ROI. Many organizations have found a “chicken and the egg” scenario of needing time and resources to show results (often, revenue), but needing results to convince upper management to spare the time and resources to devote to social media. This situation can be difficult; you might try proposing a pilot program or experiment with a cheap or free tool before proposing a larger investment.

One institution that has made a practice of using data to make decisions in social media (as well as investing in technology—check out their web and new media strategy) is the Smithsonian, under the guidance of tech guru Nancy Proctor. As one employee put it “why would you change anything without metrics and feedback?”

Once a company has the analytics tools in place it’s easy to observe your numbers of fans, interactions, and gauge the quality of those interactions. What’s more difficult is translating your observations into actionable decisions.

A simple example is that of David Horgan’s, eMarketing Specialist for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. David had experimented with linking ads to their Facebook page and their homepage. “We found that the ads that direct people to our Facebook page (rather than to our homepage) were about 3x more effective on a cost per click basis.” Management Decision: Direct more ads to the Facebook page than the homepage.

Another example is the blogathon on the Smithsonian Collections Blog that Rachael Cristine Woody worked on for American Archives Month. According to Rachel:

Until that time we had almost solely focused on collections content.  In October we shifted to also cover our profession and offer a more behind-the-scenes look at what we do/deal with, every day.  These posts became the most popular posts we’ve published so far, numbering in the thousands for direct hits, and to this day still receive at least 100 hits a week.  It was at that time that I think the blog truly found its most invested and engaged audience, and it helped to call attention to us that we should be covering more on our profession.  Management Decision: In addition to giving the collections exposure, engage and influence the professional community by providing transparency, advice, and support.

The National Museum of American History combined traditional survey techniques with data from analytics tools (Google Analytics and WebTrends data, click metrics from HootSuite, etc.), comparing the results of four closely-related surveys on each of four major communication channels (their blog, email newsletter, Facebook page, and Twitter feed). Although more complex, the results allowed Dana Allen-Greil to make decisions regarding how the Smithsonian communicated with patrons:

At the National Museum of American History, we’ve long had a hunch that our Twitter feed should focus on conversational and educational content, rather than marketing in-person events. If our followers aren’t local, do they really want to hear about events they can’t come too? Click metrics from HootSuite plus data from a survey of our Twitter followers gave us solid footing to make the case against Twitter as a platform for driving foot traffic to the museum.  Less than 25% of responders reported planning a visit to the museum after seeing a message from us—this is compared with over 55% of email subscribers who said they did.  Even more to the point, less than 10% of Twitter followers reported attending an event compared with over 30% of our email readers.  We discovered a similar trend with our Facebook fans and have altered our content strategy accordingly. Management Decision: Use Email (not Twitter) to Promote Synchronous, Location-Specific Events.

More info on Dana's Twitter content strategy can be found here.

So there you have it. As much as social media can seem nebulous, there are specific things to measure, to think about and analyze, and then to make decisions that you can feel confident about. When you develop your social media strategy for your next season, mix things up a bit with some new questions about your audience, new tools, and a new perspective on the art of social media analytics.

Special Thanks to the following people for their contributions to this series: Michael Edson, Brian Hinrichs, Maggie Johnson, Katryn Geane, Kristin Garbarino, Devon Smith, Lindsay O’Leary, and Crystal Wallis.

The Art of Social Media Analytics, Part 2

Summer is the “off-season” for many of us in the arts world. Why not take this time to refresh your social media strategy?

This is part 2 of Tech in the Art’s 3-part series on social media analytics tools. Check out Part 1.

This part of our series is based on a simple question: As of today, what are your options for social media tracking? Let's take a look at some popular analytics tools and how to evaluate them given your organization’s more specific goals.

The Next Level

So let’s say you help determine social media strategy for your organization. If you’re like many organizations, you have Google Analytics, you look at your Weekly Facebook Update, you respond to comments on Facebook and/or Twitter. Your workload is, for the most part, tenable, and your social media presence is flourishing.

First of all, great job!

How can you take it to the next level without spending an inordinate amount of time or money? Get serious about analyzing your efforts and seeing what’s working. Using an analytics tool, you can begin tracking your efforts formally over time, just as you probably have a formalized system of tracking ticket revenue through sales reports. Some analytics tools offer a sort of moment-in-time snapshot. Others track over time as well.

So, as you endeavor to improve your tracking, which tools are for you? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. Exactly how much time per week or month am I able/willing to devote to researching our followers/fans and the analysis of our data?

2. What am I interested in knowing about my social media presence? Examples include:

a) Who are my fans? (donors, members, subscribers, employees, artists, etc)

b) How much of an impact am I having? (Am I reaching key influencers? How far are my posts being shared?)

c) How much of a return I am seeing on my investment of time or money?

4. How much money (if any) am I or my department willing to spend and what do we expect for that money? (See Question 2)

5. On a related note, how much buy-in will you get from senior management/the board? Will data provided by these analytics aid your case in advocating for future social media campaigns?

6. Who will be maintaining a regular schedule of analyzing the data? Yourself? An intern? Someone else?

There are hundreds of tools out on the market, and more emerging everyday. Since there is no way for this list to be comprehensive, here is a list of our favorites at Technology in the Arts. If you know of other useful tools for tracking social media, please comment on this post.

Disclaimer: For the sake of limiting the project in some way, we have included only 3rd party social media sites—that is, mainstream social media sites that are set up for external relations with the general public, like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the like. We will not cover basic brand management tools or web analytics tools like Google Alerts, except that in terms of tracking conversions from social media.

Free tools

bit.ly used in conjunction with Google URL Builder/Google Analytics

If you’re already using Google Analytics for your web analytics, one of the smartest things that you can do is track click-thrus from social media to your website. Here at Technology in the Arts, we do this through Google URL Builder and bit.ly. Earlier this year, Tara gave us an in-depth look at Google URL Builder. Basically Google URL Builder equips you with the ability to tag any URL you link to in your social media posts. You specify the campaign, medium (Twitter, Facebook, feed, etc) and a few other details about the link and, voila!, you can track click-thrus from your social media platforms.

Using Bit.ly gives you the added bonus of shortening the links and creating QR codes as well as tracking of any link, even those you’re not tracking through Google, with registration (free).


Think up

This program stores all your posts, tweets, replies, retweets, friends, followers and links on social networks like Twitter and Facebook in a database that you can easily search, allowing you to analyze and export the data.

What’s unique about this is that it puts the data directly in your hands rather than giving you the results of the analysis. This means you can slice and dice any way you like, beyond any restrictions the program might impose upon you.


“If social and email had a baby, it would be called Flowtown.”

- Dylan Boyd, Vice President, eROI

When I first started researching social media analytics, I held a focus group with social media experts, one of which was Devon Smith of the 24 Usable Hours blog. She suggested Flowtown, which she reviewed in detail last fall.

The concept is that it helps you manage your email list in the context of social media. Flowtown is currently renovating the tool; however, you can sign up to be notified when they are accepting new users.


Social Mention

Social Mention analyzes interaction from across the social media universe--Not only Facebook and Twitter, but other social media sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, YouTube. It gives you a snapshot of how your social media presences are faring. One of my favorite features is the focus on sentiment. A common feature for paid tools, you get information on how your brand is perceived—in a positive, negative or neutral way—for free.


Klout is one of the most comprehensive systems for social media analysis. The tools help you track your presence over time, measuring things like influencers, reach, the probability for the message to be amplified (shared), and more, all of which contribute to an all-around Klout score. Another useful feature is the ability to compare yourself with other organizations.


Tweeteffect is helpful in finding out which tweets are most “effective”, specifically by finding out which tweets cause you to lose and gain followers.



Tweetpsych is a tool which tells you simply who you are to the people who follow you. The platform describes itself as creating a psychological profile of the twitter account, which is done by comparing how often you tweet about a particular topic in comparison to the “average” Twitter user. For example, techinthearts tweets about work, media, and learning more than the average Twitter user, and about the past, anxiety, and self-referencing tweet less than the average user.

tweetpsychFacebook Analytics

The only consistently good free option for tracking Facebook is the Facebook analytics tools.  The tools are a lot better than they used to be, especially with the recent upgrades that let you see how many impressions each of the items you post on the wall receive from your fans. However, Facebook tools don’t have the same capabilities as the Twitter tools to give an accurate picture of who is being reached.

Paid tools

Radian6 ($500/mo)

Radian6's philosophy is pretty simple: Listen, Measure, and Engage. And by "listen," doesn’t just track Facebook and Twitter—they monitor across blogs, forums, news, and more. You can track topics by keywords, basically listening to the conversation about why your customers come to you in the first place rather than just monitoring your own brand name. So, monitoring internet chat about string quartets and classical music if you are a Chamber Music Society.

Radian6 offers tons of ways to measure all the data you've "listened" to. It allows you to slice and dice data of social media on par with Google analytics and more, such as identifying key influencers and tracking the lifecycle of buzz around your campaign or brand. Another thing they measure is Share of Conversation: how often is your brand (say, MoMA) mentioned in the conversation about the general topic (arts in New York)?

Finally, this tool facilitates engagement with customers with integrated workflow, alerts, and sentiment monitoring. You can assign different people to be the Community Managers for different topics or audiences who respond to those constituents personally. Radian 6 also advocates contributing to the conversation by contributing white papers or other research to the topic.

Coremetrics (price varies)


If Radian6 looks at the big picture, Coremetrics (IBM's answer to analytics software) drills down to the individual customer level. Its main strength is that it is a comprehensive marketing system, integrating different channels and even offline information to convert and retain customers online. They also have a three-step philosophy: anticipate what your customers want based on cross-channel historical data, automate an immediate response to customer actions, and syndicate personalized content to the customer via the right channel at the right time.

Coremetrics puts all of your data--social media, CRM database, etc--into one application and measures it with the same metrics. This allows you to segment your customer base according to any and as many characteristics as you want to create the ultimate personalized experience.

BONUS: Coremetrics publishes informative white papers on analytics that you can download in exchange for an email address.

ComScore (price varies)

ComScore is another "360-degree" tool. Like Coremetrics it unites web analytics and social media data. The difference is that ComScore uses a consumer panel of approximately 2 million consumers worldwide to measure people's behavior in the digital environment. ComScore's Social Analytix tool is powered by Radian6, but when combined with ComScore's other tools, you can integrate social media measurement with other analytics tools. ComScore’s analytics toolbox is vast and covers a multitude of different needs, including ad effectiveness, search marketing, mobile, and cross-media measurement.

Twitalyzer ($30/mo)

One of my favorite free tools is now a paid tool, but it is still affordable to many non-profits. At only $30 a month, Twitalyzer not only tells you what is happening with your Twitter account in terms of reach, impact, and the other metrics we’re familiar seeing in association with social media, but it give you concrete recommendations on how to improve your outcomes based on more successful Twitter users. For example, I did a social media analysis for a client last year and Twitalyzer told me that:

If @"ClientName" is interested in having a more measurable impact in Twitter we recommend the following:

●     It is moderately important that you find more followers ●     It is moderately important that you find a few more people to follow yourself ●     It is moderately important that you engage others in conversation more frequently ●     It is very important that you write more frequently

Few tools on the market actually connect the dots by analyzing data and then telling you what you should be doing. If you can afford it, it's a good tool for those starting out as well as those re-orienting their social media strategy.

Next time in Part 3: Basing management decisions on the data you find with these tools (in case you aren't using Twitalyzer), including when it is worth it to pay for an analytics tool and examples from the Smithsonian on the concrete actions their staff has taken based on social media data.

The Art of Social Media Analytics, Part 1

Summer is the “off-season” for many of us in the arts world. Why not take this time to refresh your social media strategy? This is part 1 of our three-part series on social media analytics tools.

This is your brain on social media. Image from Your Social Move.

Social media marketing is an artistic endeavor as well as a scientific one. We use the right side of our brains to create the perfect message that will engage our audience and the left brain to crunch numbers on views, comments, etc. We know instinctively how to talk to our audiences, but we don’t always know how they are reacting to that message beyond a peripheral “feel” of the importance and sentiment behind the comment or action. There is often not an obvious way to categorize or quantify reactions to gain insights into your audience’s thoughts and feelings and to chart your own impact.

With the economic situation as it is right now, nonprofit employees are under more pressure than ever maximize their productivity and capacity. With technology, and social media in particular, as the most nebulous, mysterious, and constantly shifting elements of an organizations’ marketing/PR operation, it can be frustrating to track social media interactions and to gain resources from management for social media. Often initiatives face “death by delay” or end up being based on assumptions rather than data. At the Center for Arts Management and Technology, it’s one of the issues we talk about most often amongst ourselves and to clients.

It’s not just the arts, though.

In the non-profit arts world, we have the tendency to think that we are insulated and that our problems are due to a lack of time or resources. Some of these questions are ones that the social media field as a whole is trying to answer. While in the Masters of Arts Management program, I participated in a Social Media Analytics class where we had real-life clients. My team was working on the account of a major sportswear manufacturer. At first I thought that the questions that this company would have about social media would be very different than the ones that I worked on at the Center for Arts Management and Technology for our mostly non-profit arts clients. However, the more we worked with our client, the more similarities I noticed in the questions they asked about ROI, tracking, and analysis of social media initiatives.

Throughout the research that I’ve done and the conversations that I’ve had, I’ve heard social media right now described it as “the wild west”. Like web analytics was in its infancy, we are just now building the hallmarks and benchmarks for social media analytics. It’s an exciting time, and an extremely fast-paced one. If you have been keeping up with how businesses are using social media for the last five years or so, you’ve seen Facebook dominate MySpace, then Twitter edge its way in. As we moved to mobile, a slew of geo-location platforms arrived on the scene and now we’re trending toward game-based platforms.

As much as social media trends change, it is imperative to have a social media strategy, not just to spend your marketing dollars most effectively, but also to get to know your audience better. How do you get a social media strategy? You need information first. That’s where analytics come in. There is a wealth of information about your patrons hidden in their interactions on social media—like your own on-going focus group. But (A) how do you get to that information and (B) how do you draw conclusions from it?

A. As of today, what are your options for social media tracking? There are thousands of analytics tools out there and more being developed every day. Nonprofit arts organizations are faced with a dual bottom line: to serve the community and to create, present or preserve great art. Which tools are most useful to a nonprofit arts organization in gauging how they meeting the dual bottom line? In Part 2 of this series, we’ll take a look at some popular analytics tools and how to evaluate the tools out there given your organization’s more specific goals.

B. How can you use analytics data to make management decisions? There are many ways to slice and dice the data you might get from those tools. What are some strategies for using the current tools available? How can you make a confident decision about what is essentially a moving target? Given the tools and tactics in the above questions, when is it worth it to pay for analytic tools? In Part 3, we’ll address the problem of structuring your social media tracking efforts to find information relevant to your day-to-day decisions.

What's the Big Idea? 5 Key Takeaways from the Museums and the Web Conference

In this post, I thought I’d try to “connect the dots” regarding some of the threads that seemed to come up frequently over the course of M&W2011.

Arts and Technology Round-up: Museums and the Web Edition

Happy Friday everyone! For this arts and technology round-up we decided to try and hone in on a few of the awesome projects that we saw at the Museums and the Web conference last week. Up first are our picks of some of the best and most innovative projects. After that, the winners of the Best of the Web 2011 awards from the conference.

Technology In The Arts Picks

Zooniverse - This group marries together the researching needs of the scientific/historical communities and the power of crowdsourcing. By creating a series of interactive web portals, Zooniverse creates communities of "Citizen Scientists".

PhilaHistory - Philly based GIS firm Azavea worked with the City of Philadelphia to create a platform for linking historical photos of the city to their real world locations using geo-location and augmented reality.

One To One with the Artist: Ai Weiwei - A simple idea with a great effect, this project from the Tate allowed museum visitors to record and upload a video in the gallery and have a video dialogue with the artist Ai Weiwei.

The WALL - The Museum of Copenhagen's giant multi-touch multimedia screen installed in one of the central squares of Copenhagen.

ARTfinder - A new recommendation engine for artwork, this site works very much like Last.fm, taking your current interests and using them to introduce you to new works.

The Collective - Sounding a little bit like a bad 50's sci-fi flick, The Collective is the Denver Art Museum's interactive website/online programming space and a new way of connecting and bringing in the Denver community.

MoMA Learn - An extremely in-depth arts education web portal, the Museum of Modern Art's education department went all out on this one.

ARtours - The Stedelijk Museum's innovative augmented reality program.

The Best of the Web 2011

Education & Best Overall: The ACMI Generator

Mobile: The AB EX NY iPad app

Innovative: Nationnaal Historisch Museum / Museum of National History

Museum Professional & People's Choice: Smithsonian Web and New Media Strategy Wiki

Long-Lived: Exploratorium.org

Research/Online Collection: Portable Antiquities Scheme

Audio/Visual/Podcast: Access All Areas podcast

Project by a Small Institution: ASI: Archaeology Scene Investigations in North County Louth