October is American Archives Month. #AskAnArchivist Day marked the start of the month by having archivists and archival institutions respond to Twitter questions that utilized the aforementioned hashtag. Questions could be directed to specific institutions or individuals by directly tweeting that museum, archive, or person in combination with the hashtag. #AskAnArchivist worked in exactly the same way as #AskACurator Day that took place on September 16, 2015. The importance and success of these social media events can be found in the statistics:
In the digital age museums and archives have turned to the internet to find ways to reach larger audiences. Institution information such as hours of operation, events, and collections can be found online. Social media plays an important role in reaching audiences that may not otherwise seek out museums, historical sites, or archives. Events like #AskACurator and #AskAnArchivist encourage a social media collaboration of institutions worldwide to promote their respective professions. The more people taking part in the event and using a defined hashtag ultimately will help to move the hashtag up in the queue of trending Twitter topics. Trending hashtags reach even larger audiences because they are promoted within Twitter’s trending topics and are seen by people who may not have any idea that such a day existed.
Clever questions and answers made #AskACurator Day and #AskAnArchivist Day entertaining, fun, and educational. The questions and answers ranged from practical to downright bizarre. Here are some highlights:
Social media events like these should prove that you never really know what you might find in a museum or among the stacks of an archive! #AskACurator Day and #AskAnArchivist Day are annual events and have gotten progressively larger each year as more and more institutions join in answering questions. Hopefully this trend continues and that museums and archives can find even better ways to utilize social media to reach and engage the public.