In Parts 1 and 2, we discussed Facebook and Instagram as potential platforms to engage with the public. The third social media platform we’re focusing on is Twitter. According to the platform’s 2020 fiscal year letter to its shareholders, 192 million people use it daily—an increase of 5 million users from 2019. Why? It’s an easy way to discuss current events.
As the number of users grow, most of them come from international users: nearly 72% of them to be more accurate. However, the United States still represents an unproportionally high number of users overall. If one of your goals is to reach an international audience, Twitter may be the platform for you.
The average age of Twitter users, about 63%, are between the ages of 35 and 65, the median being 40. If your museum has a large patronage within this age range, again, this could be a really good investment to garner some more traffic. Many people around this age range are those who decide to visit museums and bring their families, too.
There is a catch, though.
The average lifespan of a tweet is a mere eighteen minutes. Compared to the six hours on Facebook and the forty-eight hours on Instagram, this is crazy fast. Which means that you’ll need to post multiple times a day to make an impression and gather a following. This is why Twitter is a two-fold numbers game: part one, the number of impressions or views your individual tweets rack up and, part two, the number of followers you can gain. These numbers typically correlate, as you will have to work to keep your followers once you gain them. Organizations can spend years diligently building up a following, then have that number doubled by one funny tweet about sheep. What a wild world, huh?
Twitter is going to work best for an institution who dedicate the time to carefully crafting a number of tweets a day and to engage on the platform (responding, retweeting, etc.); it’s going to take time. However, it is a great way for museums to easily engage with each other and with the public, especially on current events since it is incredibly public facing.
Does Twitter seem like the kind of platform for your institution? Check back with us for Part 4, where we discuss the what and when of posting!
Sarah Hixson (she/her/hers) is an emerging curator and educator focusing on DEAI and indigenization work and incorporating activism into museum practices. If you have questions for Sarah, please comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.