Is it possible to marry museums with social media? Can we possibly make heritage hip and happening to the young? Well, I certainly believe that this can be done.
In my last public appearance in Singapore for the year, I participated in the launch of the National Heritage Board's social media initiatives last Friday (6 February). Held at the Singapore Philatelic Museum, this was the fruit of many months of toil, teamwork and BST (Blood, Sweat, Tears) by my great team of colleagues at NHB. As many of you would know, social media is something very close to my heart, being an avid blogger and purveyor of this new means of influence.
Here's what you can look forward to in the months ahead.
Yesterday Takes On Major Facelift
First launched in March 2006, Yesterday.sg was Singapore's first heritage and museums blog. Attracting a following of about 15,000 unique visitors every month, the blog has undergone a major revamp to emerge as a social media portal. You can see a snapshot of what it looks like below. Better yet, go pay it a visit and sign up as a member!
What's so different about the new Yesterday.sg compared to the previous one? Well, let me list down some of the changes:
1) Use of Wordpress, which is more user-friendly than the previous Expressions Engine. 2) Incorporation of a Vlog - Heritage TV - a regular video channel of amateur heritage content. 3) Online forum to allow discussions on heritage, museum and nostalgia topics. 4) An enhanced photo gallery. 5) Better tagging and sorting of posts and other content. 6) Introduction of heritage trivia through two sections - Today in History and Do You Know. 7) Retention of the same blog post format which is well-loved by visitors. 8) Rating of favourite posts.
In the weeks ahead, the team will roll out new features like widgets that you can use for your own blogs and websites, plus a greater integration with social media platforms like Twitter (a microblogging application), Facebook, and others.
Do feel free to provide your suggestions through the blog and let us know what you think.
Amateur Video Comes Alive at Heritage TV "You don't have to be a star, to be in my show..." Well, at least to have a starring role in Heritage TV, the newest internet video channel on Yesterday.sg. The face of Heritage TV is none other than my colleague Kimberly, a sweet but talented young lady whom you can see below:
Now Kim isn't trained in broadcast - and neither is David who is both the producer, cameraman and soundman rolled into one. However, both of them have done a credible job in pulling together short video episodes highlighting different aspects of Singapore's nostalgia, heritage and museums. Check out HTV (Singapore)'s first episode below which takes you on a slow yet meaningful saunter through Singapore's oldest church.
Now if we can do it, so can all of you. In fact, what we really hope is for more people to submit their amateur home-made videos on a heritage theme to us.
Heritage Gaming Redefined Online
In the world of new media, one cannot escape from the online gaming phenomenon. Taking on fascinating otherworldly adjectives like MMOG, MOG, MMORPGs and more, these interactive web-based playthings have captured the imagination of many around the world.
To tap this growing wave of interest - and the rise in gaming talent in Singapore - we have decided to start our own online game creation contest. Called Mission Darkstar, the idea is to use heritage and museums as themes in the creation of an online game that can both entertain and enrich our younger generations. Attractive cash prizes totalling up to $13,500 could be won in all, so do check it out here!
If you do know of any friend, family member or associate who is both a geek at heart and a gaming whizz, do ask him or her to participate. They can also form teams to compete with each other in producing a game that we can be proud of.
Let the (online) battle begin!
YEAH! - A Social Experiment in Word Of Mouth
This last initiative of ours (yeah, we did work ourselves to the bone!) was inspired very much by Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, and other purveyors of the power of word of mouth marketing. Termed YEAH! or Young Envoys for Arts & Heritage, the idea is to recruit young adult volunteers for the heritage cause, and to get them to become our influencers and "sneezers" helping to spread the word to their respective communities and networks.
Now, YEAH! isn't really just a campaign, but more of a movement or even a way of life! It embraces a more organic approach in attracting and enabling youths who are opinion shapers and community leaders - mostly online, but possibly offline too - to adopt heritage and the arts as a part of their lifestyle. Over a longer term, they could also take on active roles and organise activities revolving around heritage, museums or the arts.
Perhaps to better share what YEAH! is all about, check out this home made video by my colleagues. Again, it is raw so do forgive us!
If you are keen to join us in the heritage cause, drop us an email at nhb_yeah(a)nhb(dot)gov(dot)sg