It looks as though Pinterest has definitely caught the attention of the international community of museum professionals: a cursory look at the posts written by some of the most influential museum bloggers shows that Pinterest is the topic of the week.
We opened a Pinterest account a few weeks ago and we have realized that colleagues are mentioning Palazzo Madama as being one of the approximately 30 museums currently using this social media platform worldwide. We are happy to join this conversation and very briefly share with you the reasons that have prompted us to open our account, and what are the expectations we’re “pinning” on it.
The idea of opening a Pinterest account originated from our web manager Carlotta Margarone: she started familiarizing with Pinterest a few months ago, opening a personal account to pursue her things of preference. She soon realized that this social network is not only effective and visually appealing, it is also very easy and enjoyable to use.
Since the basic rationale of Pinterest is to help share interests, we decided to create different kinds of boards reflecting what Palazzo Madama likes best: some are coherent with the museum’s collections (works of art, gardens…), others respond to a criterion of “status homophily” (museums, places&spaces), others still reflect interests that sometimes are not perceivable but inspire us and lay at the very heart of our jobs as museum professionals (museum ideas, visitor studies, web design…).
So far, we’ve not intended our Pinterest account as a medium for self-promotion: through “pinning”, “liking” and “following”, we rather aim to show the values our institution believes in, and more generally manifest the activities and themes we – as the museum’s resident community – are most interested in.
At present, the only board that is strictly linked to the museum is the one called Madama Knit. This refers to a community programme we’re particularly proud of: it was launched in 2009 and it now gathers some 400 ladies knitting in various venues of the museum.
As for the near future, we plan to make some boards accessible to contributors and add boards reflecting how people “interpret” us, engaging in a permanent conversation with the other agents involved in the museum’s (digital) life.
We hope that pinning materials onto our boards will enable us to provide meaningful content to the people that share our interests (colleagues included), reinforcing the museum’s profile as a reliable “partner in pursuit” kind of institution.
Using the re-pinning function, we would like then to acknowledge the activity of other users, incorporating their content into Palazzo Madama’s boards and making them co-creators of our contribution on Pinterest.
Through exploring, liking and following we aim to establish connections with several communities of interests, discover new realities and enrich our awareness about the people and institutions interested in the topics that we too find motivating, according to a “value homophily” principle.
Our medium-term ambition is to expand our connections beyond the traditional boundaries of (Italian) museum audiences.
Palazzo Madama is located in Turin, we operate in Italian, and we’re closely connected with our local communities (even though we have both national and international visitors). It is now time for us to take a fresh approach, making full use of visual contents to engage people regardless of their physical location.
We’re still experimenting, we’re starting small and we’re open to any advice you will care to share with us.