#TwitteratiChallenge

I realise, looking at this site’s dashboard, that I’ve not posted much recently. In part this is down to personal distractions; in part it’s because I’ve been doing a lot of reading, and some writing, on the subject of renaissance magnificence – on which, I hope, more will follow later; and in part it’s because I’ve had my head down with things like a complete review of the Horniman Museum’s core documentation procedures prior to an accreditation return (if you work in UK museums, you’ll understand what that entails).  Then I received a Twitter notification to say that Katie Hobbs had nominated me in the Twitterati Challenge.

(If you want to avoid the impending digressions and jump straight to my list of nominees, please click here.)

The challenge

What does this mean? First, that I’m extremely flattered that Katie feels inspired by the #MuseumDocumentation hashtag, which, although I may have started it, can only be inspiring because of everyone else who uses it to tell us about the museum documentation work that they’re doing, and why it’s important.

Second, it places an obligation on me, which includes writing this post. To quote (selectively) from Martyn Reah’s original post which started the challenge,

Within 7 days of being nominated by somebody else, you need to identify colleagues that you rely on or go to for support and challenge.  … Write your own #TwitteratiChallenge blogpost within 7 days nominating your chosen participants who then become part of #TwitteratiChallenge. … The educator that is now newly nominated has 7 days to compose their own #TwitteratiChallenge blogpost and identify who their top 5 go to educators are. … You cannot knowingly include someone you work with in real life. You cannot list somebody that has already been named if you are already made aware of them being listed on #TwitteratiChallenge.

The problems

I won’t pretend that this isn’t a serious challenge, for various reasons. First, I don’t think of myself as primarily an educator, and – with the exception of my colleagues in the Horniman Museum’s Learning team – I don’t, by and large, have much to do with educators any more (though I still follow some of my colleagues from my renaissance days, who have persisted with their academic careers). So for the purposes of this exercise, I’m going to consider ‘educators’ simply as people from whom I learn something.

Second, a confession: I don’t follow a lot of people on Twitter, because it’s a massive potential timesink. I try and restrict myself to:

Third, I’m a little wary of this idea of relying on Twitter for ‘support and challenge’: it’s always struck me as a more throwaway medium than that would suggest. I’m inherently suspicious of all people who are presented as digital gurus, or are digitally presented as gurus (actually, I think I’m just suspicious of gurus generally): there’s a great deal of plausible but facile and unsupported work out there, and Twitter helps to spread it. At this point, I realise I’m sounding like one of those humanists who bemoaned the invention of printing with movable type because it would facilitate the spread of errors – plus ça change, etc. Instead, I rely on Twitter much more as an update on what people are doing, or as a pointer to lengthier pieces elsewhere.

Notwithstanding, I think the Twitterati Challenge is worthwhile: it’s made me think about what I look for in a Tweeter, and who I get the most from.

My nominees

But that’s more than enough complaining about the challenge and qualifying my choices. Who are my nominees?

First of all, @RegistrarTrek, for her hard work in raising the profile of registrars and collections managers around the world via the Registrar Trek blog. It’s been hugely reassuring to know that other people feel the same way as I do about work behind the scenes at museums, and why more people need to know about it. [Update 8 June 2015: Angela’s response and nominations are here.]

Sticking with the theme, kudos to both @amilee_h and @sarahekirkham for their commitment to the #MuseumDocumentation cause: I feel your pain, and recognise the joy of those achievements that may pass by your less-conscientiously-minded colleagues . [Update 8 June 2015: Sarah’s response and nominations are here.]

@CuriosityTweet and their Ministry of Curiosity blog make it to the list for emphasising the ‘social’ in museum-related social media, and reminding us all that actually, it can be fun to work in a museum.

And finally, someone who has very little to do with museums: @angusbatey, who has resolutely stuck to his guns as a freelance journalist in an increasingly difficult environment , producing thoughtful, considered work on a slightly eccentric spread of subjects. I find his commitment inspirational. (I’m assuming that having studied alongside someone more than 25 years ago doesn’t count as ‘working with’ them.)

So, if the five of you would like to take up this challenge, here’s what to do, and the rules, copied from Martyn Reah’s original post. (You’ll see that I’ve happily ignored some of the extra bits of what to do.)

What to do?

If you would like to nominate your own list of colleagues, here’s how:

  • Within 7 days of being nominated by somebody else, you need to identify colleagues that you rely on or go to for support and challenge.  It might be a good idea to check that they are happy to be challenged so that the #TwitterChallenge chain doesn’t break down.
  • Record a video announcing your acceptance of the challenge, followed by a pouring of your (chosen) drink over a glass of ice.  Then, the drink is to be lifted with a ‘cheers’ before nominating your five educators to participate in the challenge.  (This is optional for the technically challenged).
  • Write your own #TwitteratiChallenge blogpost within 7 days nominating your chosen participants who then become part of #TwitteratiChallenge.  If you do not have your own blog, try @Staffrm.
  • The educator that is now newly nominated has 7 days to compose their own #TwitteratiChallenge blogpost and identify who their top 5 go to educators are.
  • It’s optional to make a donation to your chosen charity but if you do you may want to identify one or two charities that may be of interest to others.  For example, Debra Kidd’s highlighted the World Wide Education Project as a great charity to support or Nepal needs all the help it can get after the devastating earthquake.

The rules

There are only three rules:

  1. You cannot knowingly include someone you work with in real life.
  2. You cannot list somebody that has already been named if you are already made aware of them being listed on #TwitteratiChallenge.  I realise this will get more complex over time.
  3. You will need to copy and paste the title of this blogpost, the rules and what to do information into your own blog post.

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