• Italy edition
 
Italy's museums 'need social media to survive'
Turin's Palazzo Madama is one of the few Italian museums taking advantage of social media. Photo: Anassagora/Wikimedia Commons

Italy's museums 'need social media to survive'

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
Russian fined €20,000 for defacing Colosseum
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Russian fined €20,000 for defacing Colosseum

A Russian tourist caught red-handed trying to carve his initials on a wall of Rome's Colosseum has been ordered to pay a fine of €20,000 ($24,700) READ  

Nearly 800 migrants rescued off Italy
Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP

Nearly 800 migrants rescued off Italy

A total 796 people were rescued from boats in distress in the Mediterranean in the last 48 hours, Italian and Libyan officials said Saturday, as unprecedented numbers of would be immigrants head for Italy's shores. READ  

Russian tourist 'carved letter K on Colosseum'
Reckless tourists defacing Italy’s priceless monuments have become something of an occupational hazard for authorities. Photo: Aaron Logan

Russian tourist 'carved letter K on Colosseum'

A Russian tourist has been arrested for allegedly carving the letter K on a wall of the Colosseum. READ  

Italy's winemakers plan to defy EU label law
Italian winemakers are planning to defy a new European law demanding they exclude their wine’s particular geographic origins from the label. Photo: Fivi

Italy's winemakers plan to defy EU label law

Italian winemakers are planning to defy a new European law demanding they exclude their wine’s particular geographic origins from the label, arguing that the move will heavily impact businesses already struggling to survive. READ  

Venice denies 'noisy suitcase' ban for tourists
Venice has absolutely no plans to fine tourists for wheeling 'noisy' suitcases around the city. Venice suitcase photo: Shutterstock

Venice denies 'noisy suitcase' ban for tourists

Venice has absolutely no plans to fine tourists hundreds of euros for wheeling their luggage through the popular tourist city, the city’s special commissioner said on Friday. READ  

Doctors given lavish gifts in baby milk scam
The doctors allegedly accepted lavish gifts in return for encouraging new mothers to buy artificial milk instead of breast feeding. Powdered milk photo: Shutterst

Doctors given lavish gifts in baby milk scam

A dozen pediatricians in Italy allegedly accepted expensive gifts, including smartphones, computers and Mediterranean cruises, in return for encouraging new mothers to buy artificial milk instead of breast feeding. READ  

First Italian woman prepares for space
Samantha Cristoforetti will head to space on November 23rd. Phot: AFP

First Italian woman prepares for space

The first Italian female astronaut to be launched into outer space said she is about to fulfill her dream. READ  

Business and Money
Italy's property market bucks recession
Property sales in Rome were up 11.8 percent in the third quarter. Photo: Rome property photo: Shutterstock

Italy's property market bucks recession

The Italian property market received a boost in sales in the third quarter of 2014, the country’s revenue agency said on Thursday. READ  

Sport
Crisis-hit Italian football set for reforms in 2016
National team coach Antonio Conte complained the archetypal Italian player who could once strike fear into opponents is now "dying out". Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP

Crisis-hit Italian football set for reforms in 2016

Serie A chiefs have welcomed a new package of reforms by the Italian football federation (FIGC) that will see squads limited to 25 players in a move designed to boost the flagging Italian game. READ  

Culture
Cameron Diaz flick rips off Italian novel: author
Actress Cameron Diaz at a screening of 'The Other Woman'. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images North America/AFP

Cameron Diaz flick rips off Italian novel: author

An Italian writer has accused American film giant 20th Century Fox of plagiarising one of his novels in the 2014 film "The Other Woman", starring Cameron Diaz, his lawyer said on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Top ten: Italy's weirdest place names
National
Mafia 'cashes in' on Sicily's migrant influx
National
Dozens of foreigners vie for €1 homes in Sicily
International
Italy: Crimean Russians won't get visas from us
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles from British Airways
National
Wild bears spark fear in Italy's north
National
Italy's immigration crisis moves to the streets
Sponsored Article
Ever wanted to try out home exchange?
Society
Italy under pressure over Roma camps squalor
International
VIDEO: Greenpeace activist injured in Canary Islands oil clash
Vatican
Topless feminists target 'political' Pope
Education
Italy's 'rigid' education system stifles job market
Education
Italians speak better English than the French
Education
How Turin is defying Italian austerity
Travel
Top ten: great late autumn escapes in Italy
National
Quake experts cleared in 'science on trial' case
Culture
10 things you should never say to an Italian
Travel
Italy tops world favourite destination list
Gallery
Top 10: The best Italian proverbs
Opinion
Why foreigners in Italy are happier than Italians
Opinion
'Forget the baby bonus, we need investment'
National
UN fears for migrants as Italy ends rescue mission
Politics
Quiz: How well do you know Italian politics?
Culture
Ten Rome baristas who brighten your day
Business & Money
Italy bows to EU pressure over budget
Travel
Ten of the best students bars in Rome
National
'Italy is the real sick man of Europe'
Society
Semi-clad tourists dance in priceless fountain
National
Singing nun picks Like a Virgin for debut album
National
Where's the best place to live in Italy?
National
Amorous Italian couple get stuck in frolic at sea
Culture
Test your Italian history with The Local's quiz
Travel
Top ten: Travel warnings for Italy
International
Revealed: The cost of home comforts in Italy
Health
Nurse 'killed 38 patients for being annoying'
Culture
Breaking Balsamic: See US writer's potent parody
Opinion
Is Italy a desirable place for foreigners to work?
Culture
Top ten: Things Italian mothers say
Society
Mayors vow to defy gay marriage registration ban
Travel
How well do you know Italy's geography?
National
Ten Italian 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
Italian student tipped to win British X-Factor
Business & Money
Italy ranked ninth most desirable place to work
Education
Why Milan uni's English switch opened minds
National
The small Sicilian town with nine centenarians
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

522
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists
Click here for the full job description