Here are some tips for cultural institutions adapting to modern audiences - Generocity Philly

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May 3, 2016 8:19 am

Here are some tips for cultural institutions adapting to modern audiences

Arts and culture organizations need to act as publishing companies, said Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, at Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance's #PTW16 event.

TechniCulture.

(Photo by Tony Abraham)

Baby Boomers were raised with arts institutions curating culture for them. Millennials, said Sree Sreenivasan at Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance‘s TechniCulture event, have a sense of curating for themselves.

And arts and culture organizations need to learn how to adapt, said the Met‘s chief digital officer. That can mean producing a lot of content.

“The scarcest resource is human attention. Why is it so hard? There were 1 trillion photographs taken in 2015,” Sreenivasan said. “It’s not enough just to have great work. You have to bring eyes to it.”

Sreenivasan said one way to get great work done is to launch pilot projects.

“Sometimes I feel like we have more pilots than JetBlue,” he said. “If you can’t give away free education, how the heck are we going to get people to come to our opera or our museum?”

Museums aren’t competing with each other, but rather with companies like Netflix and apps like Candy Crush. Every institution, he said, needs to be a publishing house. But the way that content is produced needs to be innovative.

“We can’t be in the business of always selling tickets. We have a Google Chrome extension called Meow Met. Every time you open a new tab, you get a fresh [photo of a] cat from the Met collection,” he said. “What you’re doing is being a part of people’s lives when you don’t ask them for something.”

Organizations need what Sreenivasan called “thumbstoppers” — something that stops users’ thumbs from scrolling endlessly down their social media stream. Sreenivasan suggesting the following social media resources:

Lastly, Sreenivasan urged organizations to never underestimate the power of landing in audiences’ inboxes.

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“We take email very seriously. In a Snapchat world, email still counts,” he said. “We send about 72 emails a year. One of our members said she gets every one of them.”

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