• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3

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".

Story continues below…

“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 has Europe's oldest population: Eurostat
Italy is home to the highest proportion of over-80-year-olds in the EU. File photo: Pexels

13 of every 200 people in Italy are aged over 80 - the highest proportion in the EU.

Italy police get lunch for poor woman 'forced to steal food'
The stolen goods only amounted to €14. File photo: Pexels

The woman had stolen food worth €14 from a supermarket.

Renzi: UK won't get special treatment post-Brexit
The UK can't expect an easy ride post-Brexit, Renzi warned. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Italian PM Matteo Renzi said the UK won't get more rights than other countries outside the EU after voting to leave the bloc.

Looters steal computers from quake town's new school
Almost a third of the schools in the area are now unusable. The above photo is of a school in Amatrice: AFP

The school had only been opened two weeks ago, after the town's existing two schools were left unusable by the earthquake.

Here's what Americans in Italy think about the US elections
The candidates shake hands before the debate. Photo: AFP

Four American expat voters from across the political spectrum talk about the issues which influenced their vote, and how it feels watching the elections from Italy.

Italy scraps bid to host 2023 Rugby World Cup
Italy's rugby team at the Six Nations earlier this year. Photo: AFP

The move is a result of Rome's decision not to bid for the 2024 Olympics.

Italy's migrant centres in crisis amid money worries
A man and his daughter in a Sardinian centre for refugees. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

The centres are fuller than ever - but the government has stopped paying.

Berlusconi at 80: My regrets and future plans
Berlusconi turns 80 on Thursday. Photo: AFP

"Politics was never really my passion," says Italy's longest-serving post-war premier.

Italy 'held naval manoeuvres with Iran' in strategic strait
The Strait of Hormuz. File photo: AFP

The Italian ambassador called the port call "a positive sign".

Northern Italian region approves 'anti-mosque' laws
One of Italy's few purpose-built mosques, in Rome. File photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Similar laws in other regions have been scrapped for being anti-constitutional.

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Culture
Eight things you should know about Rome's Spanish Steps
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The incredible hero dogs of Italy’s earthquake
National
Why quake-hit Amatrice will never be the same again
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
2,748
jobs available