Joining the ChinaVine team in January of 2010, I came to the project as a relative outsider. My prior knowledge was limited to the presentations Dr. Doug Blandy and Dr. John Fenn presented to the University of Oregon through an informal Friday Forum to the Arts and Administration graduate students and faculty. That said, my outsider status allowed me to objectively analyze the relationship between ChinaVine.org’s mission and its online personality.
With a background in museums and as a Museum Studies Arts Administration graduate student, I adopted a working view of ChinaVine.org as an online museum. Formally, it is not labeled as such, but in defining an effective online presence, I compared its information sharing to museums such as the Wing Luke (http://www.wingluke.org/) and Asian Art Museum (http://www.asianart.org/). In defining ChinaVine.org in this manner, it helped focus and streamline my research of the optimal social media sites to enhance ChinaVine.org’s online personality.
My first task was to survey the existing social media tools and plug-ins to conclude which would be best suited for ChinaVine.org. In the world of ever-evolving technology, this proved to be a sizeable undertaking. With the countless social media tools in use today, the main challenge was winnowing down the most applicable, user-friendly, and ultimately, manageable.
Using these criteria, the three social media tools we believed to be most useful for ChinaVine.org were Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo. These three tools provide the opportunities for ChinaVine.org to expand its presence online in the most effective and efficient manner. Specifically, with ChinaVine teams at the University of Central Florida and the University of Oregon, these three tools allow for optimum participation from both teams regardless of distance. Additionally, the three platforms are extremely user-friendly. Not only does this facilitate easier management, but also allows for clearer dialogue with ChinaVine.org’s online audience.
With the combination of the three social media tools and the new ChinaVine blog, VineOnline (vineonline.tumblr.com), ChinaVine.org’s online personality will grow exponentially. To ensure this, the social media tools must be managed closely to maintain ChinaVine.org’s brand on the website and across its social media outlets. Furthermore, by implementing these new tools and platforms, ChinaVine.org can achieve a vital goal of increasing participatory activities for its audience. Social media requires a level of engagement, and with this engagement comes a new level of audience participation.
Ultimately, effective use of social media tools is an ongoing, fluid process. Social media use must be incorporated into the larger strategic planning porcess of ChinaVine.org to meet the needs of the current fast-paced world of new technology. The applications (
and limitations) of social media need to be clearly connected to the contemporary topics ChinaVine.org investigates. For ChinaVine.org’s online personality to be truly effective and engaging, the teams must continuously be aware of new technological developments and be a vanguard in using them accordingly.