shonac[This week’s guest post is by Shona Carnall, Education Officer at the Museums and Heritage Service, Hartlepool Borough Council]

This week I had the opportunity to attend and speak at the Bits 2 Blogs e-learning event at Teesside University, hosted by MLA. A fantastic event and with some inspirational speakers focussing on some great online and digital media projects. One thing that stuck in my mind was the work by the guys at FriiSpray. This allows people to create digital, or virtual graffiti as an interactive media installation. Its current uses, especially for those with special needs are of particular interest for museums but talks about graffiti projections onto buildings is exciting.

I was surprised this week to discover museums have started pulling out of Flickr Commons. The latest this week was Hampshire County Council, who has posted a warning to anyone else considering joining flickr on their blog this week. In the past couple of years quite a few UK institutions have joined the specialist section of the photo sharing site and makes me wonder where museums will turn next. Hartlepool Museums service are currently in talks with Flickr about joining the Commons and it does make me pause and wonder if we should. But if not on Flickr, where would we go? Is Wikimedia the next best thing?

Also this week, Jim Richardson’s Museum Marketing blog highlights a new feature on Google Analytics that monitors the number of visits from mobiles. I found it fascinating to see how many people are visiting the Hartlepool Museum websites on mobile devices. From the comments posted, it appears that only a small percentage of people are viewing museum websites on their mobile devices. I would like to see the figures in either six months or a year and see the change. I suspect that we may see a drastic increase in visits from mobile phones as more smart phones are sold.

Last week, the Museum of Hartlepool hosted an event for the A History of the World project, with a Victorian style curiosity show, with some of our more unusual objects. From this, we managed to get several objects not only added to the local site, but one was even donated to the museum. Great to see how an onsite event can bring people together to produce some amazing online work.

The announcement of Google Buzz at the beginning of the month, was filled with excitement and then disappointment for some, myself include. What I found interesting was the number of museums that are on Buzz. As of this week, there does not appear to be any national museums, but I am interested to see how they are using it and whether this is something that UK institutions will start to get involved in. I am reluctant to put Hartlepool Museums on at the moment, particularly since I’m not entirely sure how many of my followers are using Buzz. Do I really need something else I need to check in the morning? Only time will tell. It took Twitter until Jan 2009 to become extremely popular, 3 years after it was introduced, so maybe we should give Buzz a chance.