The (social) ROM

dkaizer    February 16, 2017

The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the world’s leading museums in regard to natural history and world cultures. Given this fact, one might assume that an institution such as The ROM would want to keep it’s knowledge within it’s walls; however that is not the case. The ROM is arguably one of the most social and tech savvy learning institutions in the country. This is due by and large to their philosophy on social media and their social media coordinating team. Through online communication, The ROM hopes to build strong community connections and encourages individuals to engage in conversations and debates with their experts and employees directly.

Centres of Discovery at The ROM brings world class information to your fingertips while breaking down barriers of sterile learning environments. In 2013, The ROM introduced Centres of Discovery, which are blog style platforms that allow each department at The ROM to share information from their curators and other employees on their research and collections as well as events. In 2014, The ROM decided to create Digital Hubs in alignment with the Centres of Discovery, to further enhance communication between the different departments at The ROM and the public. The Digital Hubs were created in the form of individual Twitter handles. Examples of these include @ROMPalaeo, where individuals can connect and engage in direct conversations with the palaeontologists at The ROM; or if one is interested in the history of textiles and fashion, one can connect with the experts at @ROMTextiles. The Digital Hub Twitter handles provide a unique platform for the employees at The ROM to share their recent discoveries, such as updates from their groundbreaking research, unique artifacts from their collections or helping the public with questions regarding a certain research topic. These platforms give the employees at The ROM a voice to share what they are passionate about while also fostering a positive learning environment for the public. These platforms not only increase employee engagement through positive reinforcement, but they also increase customer engagement by making knowledge more accessible than it traditionally was. Apart from the Centres of Discovery and corresponding Twitter handles, The ROM is also active on social media through their blogFacebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. These platforms not only allow the employees at The ROM to share knowledge, but they also provide an opportunity for employees to share their personal stories in relation to their collections and displays. This enables the public to view the institution as more relatable and less sterile, therefore contributing to the goal of community engagement.

Lessons for Others

Employee involvement can be defined as  the “emotional connection an employee feels toward his or her employment organization, which tends to influence his or her behaviors and level of effort in work related activities. The more engagement an employee has with his or her company, the more effort they put forth.” The example that The ROM provides truly demonstrates this. Through the Digital Hubs and the Centres of Discovery, (among The ROM’s many other social media platforms), their employees feel as though they are contributing to something meaningful (and therefore are more apt to continue to do so) knowing that their institution genuinely cares about their contributions. This will not only lead to a positive work environment but also towards positive and inclusive learning, increased admission and a positive image for the institution and it’s directors.

Organization: Royal Ontario Museum
Industry: Museums & Institutions
Name of Organization Contact: Josh Basseches, Director & CEO

Authored by: dkaizer

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