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Last Friday had an inspiring day out at Kings Manor in York, Northern Exposure: the archivists of the North gathered to share ideas about using social and mass media to bring archives to wider audiences (you might have spotted from this blog that’s something I’m rather keen on).

World Unicorn

World Unicorn, built by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd, at the Wallsend shipyard, Tyneside in 1973. Thank you, Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums!

I was delighted to meet various tweeps in person at long last and did a bit of live tweeting (hashtag #aran11), which worked fine till the afternoon when my network fell over.

The whole event was crammed with things to consider.  A few highlights,

Gary Brannan’s talk about the West Riding ARP project which live tweets air raids over Yorkshire from the Second World War.  Loved hearing the management side of a project that I’ve followed with great interest.  Like us with 100 Objects, the West Yorkshire Archives adapted an existing strong idea, planned the project carefully, and made sure it would work.  Gary’s talk helped me decide to take action on something I’ve been pondering for a while: to explore hootsuite/tweetdeck for managing social media.

As did the talk by John Coburn from Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums.  They have been putting small tranches of photos on Flickr Commons and Facebook, with incredible results (0.25 million viewings in 5 weeks!!).  Excellent advice on choosing the right photos e.g. quirky, powerful, beautiful images, like this one with its extraordinary looming ship.   I have been considering whether Flickr Commons was the way to go with our University copyright historic photos … I may have decided.  I think there are particular socio-economic reasons for the TWAM figures, we don’t have anything on that scale alas, but I do have the impression that there are many active users on these sites hungry to see and share and discuss good content.

Had an interesting discussion about the role of  marketing/press office in social media world.  I think that the activities of the marketing function and individual services can complement each other to create a more powerful message than if only one group were active  (I certainly see this at Bradford, perhaps will post about this sometime).

Love the name of the new East Riding library, archive and museum thingy: the Treasure House.   Quite fancy renaming the reading room the Room of Gems or somesuch, or maybe using for a virtual space.

Anyway, very impressed with everything people are doing, so great to see innovation and experiment despite all the threats we face.  Thanks to organisers and delegates for a really worthwhile day.

And here’s my presentation about the birth of 100 Objects Bradford:
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