• Italy's news in English
 

Italy's museums 'need social media to survive'

Catherine Edwards · 13 Nov 2013, 12:58

Published: 13 Nov 2013 12:58 GMT+01:00

With just 48 of Italy's 6,000 museums having an online presence, they are seriously lagging behind their global counterparts when it comes to using social media to boost visitor numbers.

Out of those who are online, few know how to use Twitter - now seen as a crucial marketing tool - while several don't even have a website,  according to statistics from Museum Analytics, a website that gathers information about museums and their audience.  

Only Rome's Musei in Comune made it into a list of the top 100 museums that are using social media to attract visitors, coming in 98th place. Meanwhile, museums in London and New York are the best at boosting their popularity online.

Francesca De Gottardo, a social media manager working across a number of different sectors, wants to change this. 

She is hoping to stir Italian museums into action with the launch of an online campaign, called #svegliamuseo (museum wake-up call), which aims to get them online with the help and expertise of their more web-savvy international counterparts.

De Gottardo tells The Local that Italian museums are mainly held back by “serious difficulties with funding and a lack of staff.”  

In fact, Italy has come under fire from UNESCO for its deep funding cuts across the sector, meaning several major historical sights have fallen into disprepair.  

But De Gottardo also says a lack of social media know-how, as well as most museum staff passing the likes of Twitter off as a fleeting fashion or "something only teenagers use", is also holding the sector back.

She explains that many museums cannot afford to hire someone to run a website and social media, and with staff numbers often low, it would be difficult for existing workers to take on the task themselves.

“You can't become a social media expert overnight, and often museum workers don't understand social networking,” she says.

But those who are exploiting social media are reaping the rewards.

Turin is the city with the most 'social' museums, and of particular note is Palazzo Madama. The museum has boosted its popularity through a variety of social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, a blog and even a YouTube channel to connect with its followers.

But perhaps more importantly, it has used its social network to gain funds: in January, the museum raised over €96,000 through its first 'crowdfunding' scheme. The money, collected from 1,591 supporters, was used to buy an eighteenth-century porcelain collection.

The museum's blog attributes the success of the project to the “warm, fuzzy feeling” people get from being part of something.

“Italian museums need to understand this potential,” says De Gottardo, adding that the two-way communication channel offered by the likes of Facebook and Twitter "is a huge benefit for museums".

“Unfortunately many are still asleep...these are museums that are hugely important to our country on a cultural level that are not on Twitter and don't have a Facebook page. Some don't even have an English language option on their website.”

Of the Italian museums with an online profile, the vast majority are based in tourist hotspots such as Rome, Milan, Turin and Florence, but it is the smaller museums that could perhaps benefit most from social media.

Museums that don't "wake-up" to social media risk losing out on both visitors and potential funding, warns De Gottardo

“Many people today look online before doing anything, and museums which aren't online and don't communicate will quickly become invisible.”

Don't miss a story about Italy - Join us on Facebook and Twitter

Related links:

Catherine Edwards (catherine.edwards@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italy struggles to help traumatized refugees
A woman arrives in Italy after being rescued in the Mediterranean. Photo: Giovanni Isolino/AFP

Italy struggles to help traumatized refugees

10 hours ago

The sensation of drowning, short-term memory loss, insomnia and suicidal tendencies: they may have made it safely to Italy, but many asylum seekers are plagued by symptoms of trauma and the psychological help they need is in short supply.

Bologna simplifies life for gay parents
Gay parents with young children in Bologna can now share parental responsibility with their partners. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Bologna simplifies life for gay parents

10 hours ago

Gay parents of young children in Bologna are celebrating news that they will now be able to share parenting responsibilities with their partners.

PM slams 'emotional' Europe on migrants
Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

PM slams 'emotional' Europe on migrants

13 hours ago

UPDATED: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Thursday that Europe could not just limit itself to an emotional reaction to pictures of asylum seekers dying, but had to act.

Venice Film Fest
New film casts spotlight on Church abuse
"Spotlight" had its premiere at Venice on Thursday. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

New film casts spotlight on Church abuse

12 hours ago

Pope Francis still has to prove the Church is serious about addressing sex abuse by priests, according to the director of a major new film about how the damaging scandal was exposed in the United States.

American child falls from Rome balcony
Via del Boschetto, where the American child fell from a second floor balcony. Photo: Lalupa/Wikimedia

American child falls from Rome balcony

13 hours ago

A six-year-old American child is in a serious condition after falling from the second floor of a building in central Rome last night.

VIDEO: British tourist mugged for €35k watch
The robber escaped on the back of a moped. Screenshot: Corriere TV

VIDEO: British tourist mugged for €35k watch

16 hours ago

A British tourist has been mugged at lightning speed in Naples, where robbers snatched his €35,000 watch as soon as their victim stepped out of a taxi.

Naked tourists go for drunken Rome swim
The two naked tourists shocked visitors to the beach with their antics. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Naked tourists go for drunken Rome swim

17 hours ago

Two drunk tourists prompted the ire of fellow beachgoers by getting naked at Rome’s seaside, ultimately being stopped by police for their indecent exposure.

Italian child billed €16 for dirty tablecloth
The bill came with an extra €16 that had been added to cover the cleaning costs of the tablecloth. Photo: Ged Dackys/Flickr

Italian child billed €16 for dirty tablecloth

18 hours ago

A Roman family on holiday in Sardinia were stunned to find a surprise €16 charge on their bill after their 20-month-old daughter dirtied the napkins and tablecloth during a meal.

Vettel bids for Italian Grand Prix win
Sebastian Vettel claimed his maiden Formula One win in 2008. Photo: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP

Vettel bids for Italian Grand Prix win

20 hours ago

Sebastian Vettel bids this weekend to become only the second driver to win the Italian Grand Prix with three different teams as Ferrari seek to add some lustre to an inconsistent season in the last European round of this year's world championship.

Italy calls for single EU policy on asylum
Italy's foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, signed the letter alongside his German and French counterparts. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

Italy calls for single EU policy on asylum

20 hours ago

Italy, Germany and France called for an overhaul of laws on the right of asylum and a fairer distribution of migrants throughout the European Union, Italy's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Italy's jobless rate at lowest level in two years
National
Renzi under pressure over brutal Sicily murder
National
Alpine dam disaster remembered 50 years on
National
Italian lesbian author gets papal blessing
National
Muslim mayor refuses to take in refugees
Travel
Ten adventurous ways to see Italy
Education
Fewer Italians want to be doctors
Sport
Nibali kicked off Tour of Spain for hitching a lift
Features
Italy's best-kept secrets: 10 must-see places
Italy wants answers on mobster's flashy funeral
National
The neglected children of Italy's domestic workers
National
Doggy bags: The last Italian taboo?
Travel
Civita: The Italian town that refuses to die
Travel
How bad mannered tourists are riling Venice
National
Italy slammed for 'faking' Roman ruin
National
10 Italian dishes with truly disgusting names
National
Italian park held hostage by 'veggie' panther
National
Lost pensioner survives on herbs for nine days
National
Italian mum and daughter reunited after WWII
Five 'ghost' buildings that cost Italy dearly
National
Pompeii survives bumpy restoration saga
National
Italian town warns people to 'stop dying'
National
Why Italy's south is far better than the north
Rome 'too crowded' for more migrants: mayor
Politics
Italy's anti-establishment party 'ready to govern'
Sport
Rome rules out using Vatican for Olympic bid
National
Italy's south is worse off than Greece
National
What happens to Italy’s missing migrant kids?
National
Rome mayor fights for survival amid chaos
National
Six dodgy fashion trends to emerge from Italy
National
Is Italy about to legalize cannabis?
National
Rome's 'decay' prompts council reshuffle
Business & Money
Chinese are quaffing more Italian wine
Travel
Seven daft TripAdvisor comments about Italy
National
Italian town bans dog barking during naptime
National
Tornado predicted as Italy heatwave ends
National
Italy told to recognize same-sex couple rights
National
Migrant girl dies after insulin thrown in sea
National
Heatwave kills 140 pensioners in Piedmont
National
Treviso homeowners burn migrants' furniture
National
Tourists in hot water for Rome fountain dips
Migrants rush to help after Venice tornado
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,173
jobs available