6 Twitter Tips From the Met’s Digital Guru

Sree Sreenivasan, former chief digital officer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, giving a presentation at Consumer Reports this past fall on social and digital media. Photo by Terry Sullivan. Copyright © Terry Sullivan.

This past fall I was lucky enough to hear Sree Sreenivasan, former chief digital officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, give an incredibly informative presentation at Consumer Reports on how one of the world’s most prominent fine-art museums has attempted to expand its engagement in social and digital media.

Right from the start, Sreenivasan’s remarks were captivating and even provocative. For instance, he told us that at the museum, the entire staff, right up to the directors of the museum, considers the museum’s website (as well as their various forays into social media) on par with or as important as its three physical locations and collections. In fact, he stated that the director of the museum says that all visitors, whether they come in person to the physical locations or via the museum’s website, have equal value. That’s a remarkable statement given the prominence of the museum’s collection. In fact, Sreenivasan referred to this as a leap of faith. It also reveals how serious this centuries-old institution is about digitizing its collection.

Sreenivasan also presented lots of useful social media tips, which mostly related to using Twitter. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Always be charging. Always be connecting. Always be collecting.
  • What can social media do for you?
    • Find new ideas, trends, sources.
    • Connect with audiences in new, deeper ways.
    • Bring eyeballs, traffic and attention to your work.
  • He quoted movie critic Roger Ebert’s five social media lessons:
    1. Be interesting in real life.
    2. Great content gets you great followers.
    3. Be humble.
    4. Engage with others.
    5. Social media has changed the role of expertise.
  • The scarcest resource of the 21st century is human attention (from @LesHinton, former publisher of the Wall Street Journal).
  • The dirty secret of social media: Almost everyone will miss almost everything you do on social media. Until you make a mistake.
  • Show excellent judgment on Twitter.

To see more of Sreenivasan’s presentation, go to bit.ly/sreecr1. If you’d like to find out more on how to get the most out of Twitter as an artist, check out my State of the Art column, in the February/March 2016 issue of Professional Artist magazine.

Terry Sullivan is the former editor of Professional Artist magazine and the former technical editor at American Artist magazine. He currently is an editor at Consumer Reports, where he covers digital cameras, camcorders, smart phones, printers and digital imaging. He is also an artist and musician. Follow him on Twitter: @TerryCR.