Now that the summer digging season has come to an end the BRP will be focussing on post-excavation work, and on developing funding to allow us to move forward with specialist analyses and our more long term plans for improved community outreach and participation.
As well as becoming more directly involved with the Bamburgh community, part of this outreach work will include developing the BRP’s online presence. This will mean working on enhancing this blog as well as furthering our presence through other web 2.0 platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Much of this work is experimental for the BRP. In addition, as a small, not-for-profit organisation with a staff that is for the majority of the year currently entirely voluntary, time and resources are somewhat limited. Our first social media experiment, then, is with a medium that we hope will overcome these limitations. It’s low cost and specifically designed for quick, easy use – Twitter.
Our Twitter feed has been up and running since the start of the excavation season in June. It’s been updated throughout the season on an almost-daily basis. Our Post-Excavation Twitter feed has also been very active. However, we’re very conscious that our tweets could communicate more than they currently do, and that we could be more innovative in our use of the medium.
Of course, there’s innovation all over Twitter. Institutions such as The Tate, the British Museum, the Council for British Archaeology, The National Trust and English Heritage all use Twitter as an effective, engaging web platform, albeit in very different ways. Smaller organisations (like us) and individuals who work in the sector also work in a variety of interesting ways on Twitter. Nina Simon’s An Open Letter to Museums on Twitter at her Museum 2.0 blog is thought provoking, instructive and has been inspiring for us when thinking up possible strategies to try out. Having listened in the the twitterings of other museums and heritage organisations, and having undertaken a little bit of research into possible approaches to apply, the BRP will be attempting some new and hopefully fun / interesting things in the near future. We hope that these experiments will be successful, but acknowledge that what works for others may not work for us, and that there’ll likely be some failures along with some successes!
We hope that you’ll join in with us in our experiment – the more people who participate, the better! If you’re already a Twitter user and would like to follow us, you can find us @brparchaeology. If you’d like to take part but don’t yet have a Twitter account, why not take this opportunity to experiment right along with us and sign-up for an account of your own at twitter.com? Once you’re signed up, there are helpful ‘how-tos’ to start you out!
Before we get started though, let’s go behind the scenes for a moment and take a look at who’s pushing the buttons behind the curtain. @brparchaeology speaks with one institutional voice. But the institutional ‘we’ is actually me – I’m Rachael Barnwell, the Project Administrator. I’m also @missbarnwell on Twitter. @PostXbrp is the feed from which our Finds Supervisor Kate Clarke speaks to the world. You’re very welcome to follow any or all of us through these feeds!
I’ll be starting to try new things out in the next few days, so keep your eyes open! We also welcome any comments and suggestions from you – any ideas about the kinds of things you’d like to see us try, any tips or words of caution are all welcome!