In 2007, we tentatively opened NCPTT’s first account in a social media landscape that was home to very few people talking about heritage. That’s all changed in 2011, and I’m thrilled for the opportunity to help others learn to take strategic advantage of the conversation and connections the social web has to offer with “Digital Heritage as a Tool of Public Engagement with the Past,” a new course I’m developing with the University of Massachusetts–Amherst.

The online class, slated for May 16-June 6, 2011, instructs heritage professionals in quick, cost-effective and systematic methods for employing social media to communicate with the public about the significance of archaeology, historical monuments, heritage resources, and community memory.

The curriculum is designed to jumpstart each participant’s social media presence, regardless of previous online experience. It explores techniques for optimizing conversational tools like Facebook and Twitter, and provides step-by-step guidance in producing high-impact sharable multimedia for posting to services like iTunes, Flickr and YouTube. Participants will also learn how to easily combine these activities in platforms like blogs and wikis to tell engaging stories that present heritage in context.

Case studies, Q&A with successful online heritage professionals, and supportive instruction in the use of these free online tools will ultimately help each person enrolled in this course develop broad and meaningful online networks.

By enrolling as a participant in this course, you will:

1. Develop an outline for a mission-based new media strategy for yourself or your affiliated organization, including the following components:

  • A situation analysis articulating the challenges and opportunities of communicating heritage online to your audiences and field.
  • Personalized goals, objectives and tactics tied to milestones for continuing the plan.
  • A resource allocation strategy that identifies who will manage your presence, how much time/money can be spent, and what of your existing products and resources can be used to jumpstart conversation around your online content.

2. Establish your presence among appropriate online networks with multimedia, and execute the following:

  • Create and/or optimize your presence on high-impact services (Facebook, Twitter, WordPress), as well as individually relevant multimedia services (YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare)
  • Curate your online brand by determining social media handles, managing avatars and distinguishing organizational and individual “voice.” Additionally, learn to grow your brand’s influence by connecting with heritage professionals who are established online.
  • Create a multimedia product (podcast or video) using free editing tools, and post online.

3. Possess the skills necessary to efficiently and measurably engage audiences using free monitoring tools.

  • Harness the capabilities of RSS and publishing tools to create a social media “dashboard” that streamlines the distribution, monitoring and management of information.
  • Establish your own search engine optimization (SEO) strategy by creating a basic keyword taxonomy for your heritage-branded content that ties into online trends.
  • Understand the basics of on analytics for better measuring and understanding your fans, followers and traffic.

I hope you’ll join me for this experience that will help you grow your professional presence online while protecting the heritage resources we all treasure.

View the Course Description & Enroll at the UMass-Amherst site by May 1, 2011

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2 Responses to New UMass-Amherst course to help heritage professionals strategically curate a presence on the social web

  1. kurt T. says:

    I just missed the class…

    Is there going to be another one??

    Thanks

  2. Jeff Guin says:

    That’s the plan for next summer. Stay tuned!

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