I’m a late-in-life tech nerd. I didn’t start studying computer programming until I was 30 years old. Naturally, I then looked to combine my new love of tech with my long-time love of history. In addition to working in the archives here at the Village, I also help manage the website and contribute to our social media profiles. When I talk to people of my love of tech and history, I often get this response: “Wow, that’s weird. Those two things have nothing to do with each other!” I then smile politely, and explain how they have everything to do with each other.
For example, I will be speaking at the Michigan in Perspective: the Local History Conference in March with archivist Meghan Courtney from the Reuther Library at Wayne State University. We’ll discuss the importance a prominent social media presence for archives and museums. These very powerful tools enhance our patrons’ overall experience and are necessary to connect with different generations. In fact it is now expected that an institution have Twitter and Facebook profiles, as Generation Xers and Millennials often go the first to these social media sites when investigating online. The visual nature of social media allows institutions to share not only photos and information about events, but to spotlight artifacts in the collections. You might even have some interesting artifact in your collection go viral! One of my new favorite social media tools built exclusively for historical institutions is HistoryPin, which allows institutions to create online walking tours of a place. The only thing is, you do the walking with your fingers. I can tie photos to an intersection or address so patrons can see how Troy has changed over time. The patron can then make comments and share memories, which enhances our history of Troy. This allows for public participation in creating a more thorough historical record of our city.
I would like to invite you to check out the Village’s new HistoryPin profile and to share in our understanding of Troy’s history. We’re adding new photos all the time! I also invite you to join us at Michigan in Perspective: the Local History Conference on March 11 and 12 at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Sterling Heights to learn how you can make the most out of social media for your museum or archive. Hope to see you there!