Monthly Archives: February 2014

Vine on Your Own

In museums interpretation could be classified: being enacted by a staff intercessor, say in a program, or placed for audience consumption without a staff-member present, like a label. In both instances, great care is given to have the audience reacts. But, it in former, the staff member has the luxury of being able to tack, or change their course, if their original approach didn’t work. In the latter, you might end up using audience observation, or eavesdropping by a less formal name, to glean if your approach worked.

In terms of Vine in museums, sometimes your audience just needs a little nudge to try it. Teens might only need to see a hashtag and get it. You might put a call out on your website, by twitter, or best yet, on your vine feed. But, in order to do this, make sure that your whole community is ready for it. Ensure that your guards know that people might be Vining the galleries without a staff member. Share the information with your information desk, and explain hashtags/ vine/ etc if they ask.

This type of non-staff led Vine can open you up to some powerful vantage points onto your collection. They are not being told what to answer. They are in fact speaking from their own unadulterated selves.

While I can’t say that we have managed to set this fire yet, I can imagine this would be a great way to see what interests your audience. Probably way better and more interesting than a comment card, I say.

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My vines can be found here.

I have written a series of short posts about Vine.  Enjoy:
Vine Video for Museums: Post 1
How can Museum Educators use Vine?
The Right Audience for Vine
Fostering Participation in Vines
Vine to Share the Museum Experience
Narrative in Vine
Vine on Your Own
Vine Interface—An Orientation
Vine Basics
Vine and Audio
Stop Motion Tips

I produced these posts as notes in preparation for co-writing this paper for Museums and the Web 2014, with Alli Burness, @Alli_Burnie; Patty Edmonson, @Retrograde_D; and Chad Weinard, @caw_

Our presentation Vine feed is here. 

Our workshop in April, 2014 sparked some good conversation, see the Storify.

Many of our participants made some wonderful Vines, check these out.

Vine to Share the Museum Experience

Vine can be used as a way to get your audience to share or a way to share what your audience is doing. My previous post sets the foundation for my ideas about getting your audience to share. I would only punctuate those ideas with some notes about content.

First, let’s meditate on the word share. There are some important prerequisites to creating a culture of sharing. Respect is easily the most important. Your audience will know when you are not actually interested in hearing what you have to say. Listening goes part in parcel with sharing. Be present with your audience. Listen to what they are saying, but also gauge their body language. Do they have an expression of knowledge when you mention Vine? Do they walk away from you?

When you are thinking about implement a program that encourages visitors to share about your collection, make sure it is something they would want to do. Remember, you are not your audience. And, your audience is not just one thing. Come up with projects and prompts that are broad enough to spark creativity on different levels. If you want to connect to your exhibition about a particularly arcane form of Korean ceramics, try to find a way to make it relevant to visitors. Say—how about asking people to guess what the vessels were used for. Acting silly can be universal. But, if you are asking them to be silly, be silly too. You will certainly surprise your visitors (who might underestimate your ability to play.)

Often you find your audience engaged in something so exciting that you want to keep it. Vine is a great way to document something special. It is a like a value-added snapshot. Unlike a full on video, you can just whip out your phone. You can remain unobtrusive. Or, if you decide to ask your audience to share something, talking into a phone is very low stress. They do it every day. They selfie. They talk to their friends while waiting in line. They make videos of their kids. Given the low stress, you can find yourself really getting the feel of an event. These documents have a palpable excitement that still photography cannot convey.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

My vines can be found here.

I have written a series of short posts about Vine.  Enjoy:
Vine Video for Museums: Post 1
How can Museum Educators use Vine?
The Right Audience for Vine
Fostering Participation in Vines
Vine to Share the Museum Experience
Narrative in Vine
Looking at Art through Vine
Vine on Your Own
Vine Interface—An Orientation
Vine Basics
Vine and Audio
Stop Motion Tips

I produced these posts as notes in preparation for co-writing this paper for Museums and the Web 2014, with Alli Burness, @Alli_Burnie; Patty Edmonson, @Retrograde_D; and Chad Weinard, @caw_

Our presentation Vine feed is here. 

Our workshop in April, 2014 sparked some good conversation, see the Storify.

Many of our participants made some wonderful Vines, check these out.

The Right Audience for Vine

The interface of vine is strangely equalizing in its startling simplicity.  You just touch the screen—there isn’t even a button.  Anyone who has accessed the app can touch the screen.  After all, that is how they got into the app.    This simplicity has its problems.  You look at the screen and wonder—what do I do?  There are few signifiers of the next step.  Now, there is a bit of a tutorial to get you going. But in the first version, there you were, with nothing but your wits (and/or wit.)  Basically, the app is easy but sort of hard; accessible and inscrutable.

The issue is what will people do when faced with this complexity?  There are many people who will just stop.  Given that it is a technological interface, you might assume it is seniors who are stalled.  But, having worked with Vine with visitors of all ages that is certainly not a universal truth.  There are Luddites amongst our youth and there are digital explores amongst our silver-haired lot.

Modeling and excitement are key in getting the recalcitrant and the trepidatious on board.  A person, a real human being, showing how to use Vine for a couple of minutes (or about 18 Vines length) can convert people.  Oh, that and a little show and tell.  I have found just showing a few good, doable videos will make people excited.

So, which audiences am I talking about?  Well, I want to say all of them.  But, I have experimented most with families and teens.

With families, at museums, telling stories is a natural way to engage people.  We have explored setting up, literally, tools that help tell stories.  We created a painted backdrop based on a painting, and had families tell a short story about being in the painting.  We had some prompts and then allowed people to add ones.  This first experiment had challenges.  They say never work with kids or animals.  And basically every vine had at least 2 kids and then 2 painted goats.  We were learning how to empower people to tell stories with Vine, and we didn’t really understanding the narrative possibilities of the media.

One of my colleagues has vast experience with working with teens.  I can relate my less vast experience.  In one of my programs, I gave my students the assignment of many Vines.  I work with these students every month for two years, so I know them pretty well.  But, their reaction to Vine surprised me.  Only about 1/10 of the 60 students had used Vine or for that matter had it on their phone.  And of those who did use Vine, most of them just used it to view and repost content produced by others.   Before I sent them on their way, I gave them a little tutorial. Ostensibly, the students were to create videos that responded to any of the 10 different prompts we offered.  But, as we expected, some did and others went in their own direction.  And, in both instances, there were really great video moments that resulted.

In trying to draw generalizations from these two programmatic implementations of Vine, I would suggest the following tips:

Know your audience by talking to your audience: You don’t know anything about someone—until you ask.  So, start by asking if someone has used Vine.

Share the app in an open manner: Don’t make Vine seem too easy—or too hard.  Rather don’t come off as someone who has it all figured out and that the visitor is not tech savvy for having to be taught to use it.

Create a framework and then allow your audience to disregard it: Some people are most creative within a framework but others find it constricting.  Accept both of these people.

Try and try again: Use Vine in many ways with many audiences.  You never know when it will stick.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

My vines can be found here.

I have written a series of short posts about Vine.  Enjoy:
Vine Video for Museums: Post 1
How can Museum Educators use Vine?
The Right Audience for Vine
Fostering Participation in Vines
Vine to Share the Museum Experience
Narrative in Vine
Vine on Your Own
Vine Interface—An Orientation
Vine Basics
Vine and Audio
Stop Motion Tips

I produced these posts as notes in preparation for co-writing this paper for Museums and the Web 2014, with Alli Burness, @Alli_Burnie; Patty Edmonson, @Retrograde_D; and Chad Weinard, @caw_

Our presentation Vine feed is here. 

Our workshop in April, 2014 sparked some good conversation, see the Storify.

Many of our participants made some wonderful Vines, check these out.

Vine Video for Museums: Post 1

Have you ever lost track of time watching a Vine video? What makes a Vine so engaging that you end up watching them over and over?  They are only 6 seconds, after all.  The brevity of the medium is at the core of its power.  Spurred by the challenge of fitting an idea into such a short time frame, some Vinemakers seem to turn what should be a blink of an eye into a cinematic tour de force.

In the last few months, I have spent many hours (or more than 12,000 vines) playing with the possibilities of the medium.  Stop Motion or video. Kid-made or Senior-tried.  Narrative or atmospheric.  Outsider vantage point or insider snapshot.  Programmatic or spur of the moment.   The possibilities are endless.  But, to frame these ideas, how can Vine be used in the museum context?

To dive into these possibilities a little more:

Stop Motion or video:

Stop motion is like magic.  But, as I would all magicians work very hard for their sleight of hand to seem effortless, I have learned that stop-motion can require quite a lot of preplanning.  For museums, stop-motion can help speed up the tedium, culling out the best of an experience.  Even suspending a multimillion dollar sculpture weighing a smidge less than a semi-truck has its dull moments.  In museum education, offering your audience, families and school students alike, extensions of their experience at home can be the difference between creating lasting bonds or maintaining a casual connection.  Shot video is expensive and often children (and adults) don’t have the patience to watch a three-minute video.  Stop motion can bring a studio project to life in a way that engaging and audience-appropriate.  Plus, the medium allows for a sort of amateurism in comparison with shot-video which is held to a higher visual standard within the design-ethos of museums.

What to keep in mind:

Know where you are going:  In order to get everything in, you really need to understand each of the steps in the process or story arc.  It is easiest if you are both the content generator and the film-making.  But, if not, try to ask your content provider what all the steps are.

It’s okay to edit: If you are not sure if the shot will make the final cut, take it.  You can always delete it.  But, if you are filming something that will not occur again, say installing that wonderful show, you can’t go back a shoot a step later.

BUT…It’s okay to experiment:  So, while many of my lessons on stop motion come from the motivation of conveying a specific concept or element of the museum, I have also enjoyed playing around with it.  Honestly, some of the best Vine stop motion have the joy of serendipity.

Video has its own set of challenges.  I find the vast majority of Vine videos about a scale less interesting than watching paint dry.  But, that might be because the majority of videos are produced for a very specific audience, say your buddy in your Calc class, and I am not a member of that audience.  If you think narrative, or film in the traditional sense, it is hard to imagine 6 compelling seconds.  But, break out of your sense of narrative, and the medium has amazing possibilities.  Imagine the face of the someone seeing a Picasso for the first time.  6 seconds of amazement serves as an analogy for a lifetime of being inspired by art.  Stendhal’s in short.  Or the sounds of being in a gallery.  Or the way it feels to walk around a sculpture.  Or the roar of a lion at your local zoo.

What to keep in mind:

Aim right: Don’t do too much.  Enjoy the luxury of six seconds.  People don’t expect Gone with the Wind.  But, they might be amazed by the wind wiping through your sculpture garden.

Be forgiving: While in stop motion, you might find yourself deleting many frames.  In video, you might find yourself deleting many videos.

BUT it’s not either/or…. Video and Stop motion are not necessarily opposing forces.  Instead, they are sort of on a visual equilibrium.  In some videos, I have experimented with bursts of video strung together.  Sometimes, I have used stop motion for most of the video, and then add in a little moving video for a key moment.  Video can be a moment of respite from stop motion, punctuation to your point, or a wonderful surprise for your viewer.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

My vines can be found here.

I have written a series of short posts about Vine.  Enjoy:
Vine Video for Museums: Post 1
How can Museum Educators use Vine?
The Right Audience for Vine
Fostering Participation in Vines
Vine to Share the Museum Experience
Narrative in Vine
Looking at Art through Vine
Vine on Your Own
Vine Interface—An Orientation
Vine Basics
Vine and Audio
Stop Motion Tips

I produced these posts as notes in preparation for co-writing this paper for Museums and the Web 2014, with Alli Burness, @Alli_Burnie; Patty Edmonson, @Retrograde_D; and Chad Weinard, @caw_

Our presentation Vine feed is here. 

Our workshop in April, 2014 sparked some good conversation, see the Storify.

Many of our participants made some wonderful Vines, check these out.