Visitors to the Australian Museum use social media

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: Museullaneous, Date: 19 Mar 2010

According to our latest visitor research conducted in January 2010, 57% of people that visited the Museum used a social networking site in the previous six months.

Over January 2010 we surveyed 174 visitors to the Australian Museum and asked them about the kinds of online activities undertaken in the previous six months and the results are quite interesting:

  • 71% watched a video on YouTube
  • 64% looked at/added to an online encyclopaedia such as Wikipedia
  • 57% used a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook, Bebo
  • 53% read customer ratings/reviews
  • 44% read a blog
  • 40% listened to a podcast
  • 36% uploaded a photo to website such as Flickr
  • 34% used a wiki
  • 25% added a rating/review to a website
  • 25% participated in a discussion board/forum
  • 16% added video/audio they created to a website
  • 15% published their own webpage
  • 14% used Twitter
  • 13% made a comment on a blog

These results are similar to another study we conducted in 2007 asking Australians what they were doing online (using the same categories as above). In that study we found that museum / gallery visitors participated at higher levels across all activities. Apart from using social networking sites, statistical tests revealed that these differences were highly significant across all categories. More about that study can be found here.

Taken together these findings suggested that, not only do those who visit museums participate in more online activities, they also engage in activities that are participatory and two-way, such as posting and reading customer reviews and using social networking sites.

I’ll be doing more sampling over April/May so will keep you posted.


Lynda Kelly - 9.05 AM, 08 May 2010
Lynda Kelly - 11.03 AM, 25 March 2010

Russ, I have designed the survey as you have suggested and just had one more question. Should we ask people have they used these tools in the past six months, three months or in the last month?? I'm unsure and am leaning towards in the last month as it's more immediate.

Also I've decided to conduct this as a separate survey as it will take too long if I add these questions to the other ones. It is a self-complete form wih demographic information and we'll note where about in the Museum they took the survey. Look forward to the results!

Lynda Kelly - 1.03 PM, 23 March 2010

Thnx Russ. What I think I will do is use the questions you propose in the next round of surveys (April/May)  as another data-gathering exercise since I’m just trying this out at the moment.

Brendan, sorry to be a bit obtuse. I’m referring to a study I conducted in 2007 where over 2,000 Australians were sampled and asked similar questions to this survey and also whether they had visited a museum/gallery in the previous six months. I found that those who had visited museums used Web 2.0 tools more than non-visitors and that these differences were statistically significant (i.e. you can believe them!). A paper reporting on that study can be found here.
You may also be interested in new research from Nielsen which shows that global time spent Facebook increased by 82% with Australians leading the average time spent: It’s amazing how fast these trends change, when we asked visitors to our Surviving Australia exhibition about Facebook in July 2008, 25% of them were members, so I’m really curious to see if this has changed.
Russ Weakley - 8.03 AM, 20 March 2010

 One way to restructure this information slightly would be to ask questions that not only let us know what they have seen ,but how they use it, why they use it and if they have seen the Museum's accounts in these spaces. For example:


1. youtube
watched a movie?
added their own movie?
what sort of movies interest you?
seen the Australian Museum youtube channel?

2. flickr
seen images?
what sort of images interest you?
added an images to your own account?
joined any groups?
seen the Australian Museum account/groups?

3. blogs
read a blog?
subscribe to one or more blogs?
what sort of blogs interest you?
have your own blog?
how regularly do you blog?
seen the Australian Museum blogs?

4. wikis/wikipedia
read a wiki page?
added/edited or deleted a wiki page?

5. twitter
have read tweets?
what sort of tweets interest you?
have an account?
if so, what do your normally tweet about?
seen the Australian Museum twitter account?

6. facebook
have an account?
what do you use facebook for?
seen any of Australian Museum's facebook pages/groups?

7. other social media
do you use any other social media sites?
what do you use them for?


Just a quick suggestion... :)


Brendan Atkins - 5.03 PM, 19 March 2010

i love the idea that musuem visitors are becoming more switched on. were the results very different across age groups?

also i'm a bit confused about '... participated at higher levels ... ' -- higher levels than what? -- and '... statistical tests revealed that these differences ...' -- which differences?

please explain :>)



Russ Weakley - 5.03 PM, 19 March 2010

Interesting stuff.

What is the difference between:

- 64% looked at/added to an online encyclopaedia such as Wikipedia
- 34% used a wiki

If 64% used Wikipedia, then how can only 34% have used a Wiki? Confused!

Also, did you find out how many had seen content on our social sites - like facebook, twitter and youtube? Probably VERY low figures!

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