Tech Talks Share Lessons Learned by Early Adopters

By Lydia Johnson

I got an email from Stephanie Weaver last week:

Tech Talks are in! Monday, October 18 in Portland, Oregon.

Stephanie is coordinating The Tech Talks (formerly Tech Lab) at WMA's annual conference later this year, and asked me to participate.  I live in Silicon Valley, so I see and hear about the cutting edge of technology every day.  In fact, the business section in our local newspaper isn't the "Business" section, it's the "Business and Technology" section.  Today's front page articles feature blaring headlines and full-color pictures of the first Twitter conference ("Chirp") and Apple's new iPad.

I'll be talking about Twitter when we meet together in Portland, but today I stumbled across something interesting about facebook.  I hope James doesn't mind if I throw this into the mix (James will be conducting the Tech Talk on facebook in Portland.)

The list of state museum associations on facebook today (the date of their first post) - and their number of fans:

  • Virginia (8/21/08) - 413 fans
  • Ohio (3/4/09) - 103 fans
  • Minnesota (4/9/09) - 129 fans
  • New York (7/24/09) - 362 fans
  • Michigan (9/22/09) - 129 fans
  • Nevada (10/9/09) - 233 fans
  • New Mexico (10/29/09) - 188 fans
  • Oklahoma (1/20/10) - 205 fans
  • California (2/19/10) - 455 fans
  • West Virginia (3/3/10) - 89 fans

Notice the differences between launch dates and fan counts.  This list illustrates the fact that  having a facebook page does not mean people will find it, or that they will find it engaging enough to look at ever again.  However, the fact that nine of these pages (Virginia gets the "Early Adopter" award!) were launched within the last year does illustrate how social networks are becoming a communication channel that shouldn't be ignored.

One more interesting observation --- only two of the six regional association websites provide links to their facebook pages:   NEMA (New England) started posting a year ago and has 657 fans, and  AMM (Mid-west) started posting four months ago, and has 145 fans.

Check out WMA on facebook.  James started the WMA facebook posts sixteen months ago and WMA now has 337 fans over there.  He'll have plenty of experience and insights to share in Portland - not the least of which is how social networking statistics can provide new ways to analyze and document audience reach and engagement.



James - thanks for posting this link on the New Mexico Museums FB page and directing us to the post. (How about including a link to that page - - above?)

We're a small group, but among us there's some real interest in museum technology, and we've got some interesting things going on in the NM museum community. Among them is a unique cultural technology partnership with the Media Arts program at New Mexico Highlands University that some of you may have seen demonstrated at MW2010.

Some of the more exciting museum technology projects were showcased at last years NMAM conference with a "Technology Showcase" ( held during the opening reception. We're just now accepting proposals for next years' conference, which will be held in November.

Quite a few of us in New Mexico follow your activities here on the blog or on Facebook, and we appreciate your making this information available to the rest of us.

what an amazing comment for us all to read on so many fronts!

thanks for checking in every once in a while. and we'd love to hear more from you here. PUH-lease consider this another outlet amongst the things you plug into to charge up what you do!

and I think we got a little "drag" because we started the "group" first, then maybe everyone did not "convert"...I did a lot fo work to promote the page early on and in the new job have been a little more "asleep at the wheel"...gotta get those numbers back up! :) OK. OK.. the message is numbers aren't's actually about engagement and Lydia's living proof, cuz I think we "engaged' at first through facebook around this and now she's doing all this meaningful work, promoting WMA and ALLLL the state associations. Lydia, this is SOOO valuable. thank you!
Areyou posting a link to this on all the fan pages? Or did you already do that?
with much respect,

more, I should say, Lydia was already here, in terms of working with WMA and the state assocaitions...maybe *I AM* the one that got "engaged" through my desire to see a digital face for WMA, so it goes both ways, right?

James, as I recall, our first "engagement" was face-to-face at a CAM meeting in a session where you presented ideas about monetizing a website. From there, we started catching each other's tweets about other conference sessions, and eventually found each other again on facebook. These online channels are getting to be much more mainstream now. It will be interesting to share ideas about all of this in Portland!

Thank you so much, Lydia, for seeking out and sharing all these stats! Now I wonder how many of these groups are on Twitter--which is I believe where I first "met" you (though maybe it was at that CAM presentation that James was a part of). WMA is not yet on Twitter, but hey, that can always change! :)

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Just want to see if you are a robot.