Social Media is a double-edged sword when it comes to the museum experience—it can either distract or add to the experience. Based on the above video, we can see that it can be hard to stay present when we are attached to social media on our phones. The contrast between the art the girl in the video is (not) viewing and the seemingly inconsequential status updates she is receiving is particularly glaring. Our desire to be connected to what is going on can often lead us astray so that we don’t pay attention to what is in front of us.
On the other hand, connecting social media to content in exhibitions through iPads or QR codes can foster greater engagement with the visitor. It can be a great way to engage younger visitors and help them learn more about what they are seeing in museums, and it can provide greater interaction with artworks that would otherwise be unavailable. For example, the National Gallery of Canada’s exhibition Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012 included iPads throughout the galleries that contained videos and interviews with artists and curators. Visitors could independently explore a gallery before gathering together to share discoveries, observations and things learned!
In this way, it seems that technology can help us connect, or disconnect, depending on how we use it.
Do you think social media is effective or distracting in museums?