During April the Archives & Records Association of Scotland (@ARAScot) runs a Twitter campaign to encourage engagement with archives around the world. They release a series of 30 hashtags, one for each day, and archives, museums, libraries and individuals set about finding something from their collections, or personal experience, that fits each of the days’ tags.
Planning and Engagement
Everyone in our team chipped in with suggestions of documents, funny anecdotes or tips for researchers on how to get the best out of using an archive. We had one hand tied metaphorically behind our back this year because on March 18, the South West Heritage Trust closed it’s sites in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, meaning we had to move to home-working. Only about 1% of our collections are digitised, so finding 30 interesting and relevant images became that much harder!
We’ve found over the years that posting our collections is only half the battle on social media – you have to join in with others too. So, we’ve also been looking at what other institutions have been posting, and sharing and retweeting the best/funniest/silliest, spreading the word that archives aren’t the dull and dusty places we can sometimes be mistaken for.
The response we’ve had from our followers and other organisations has been amazing. In fact we believe this year produced our most successful ever tweet: for #ConservationWin we posted about a court book from Minehead which had been bound with musical scores, and has been seen nearly 5,500 times – that’s more than double the number of followers we actually have!
The past month has been a wonderful success: lots of new followers, we’ve made contact with some wonderful collections and we’ve been able to share our passion for the documents we care for with people from all over the world. And the best part is when a new enquiry lands in our in-box asking about something they’ve seen online, and wanting to know more.