I would like to apologise upfront to any of the regular readers of this blog who might have expected to read a series of unconvincing excuses for my failure to get anything done around the house and garden, interspersed with pictures of cats asleep in various situations and boasts about how many mystery novels I’ve written this year, but who instead are going to find themselves parachuted into an esoteric behind-the-scenes-at-the-museum world. But if you don’t want to bother with the museum stuff you can skim past the next little bit and I will try and capture one of the cats doing something interesting before I sign off.

The other day Angela from @RegistrarTrek, with whom I have shared cat and conference stories as well as bar-coding tips, nominated me to take part in the #TwitteratiChallenge. As I understand it, the exercise was originally for museum educators and it has now infected some of the wider museum community with the brilliance of its concept.

In a sense everyone who works in a museum or a gallery is involved in the education business to some extent, as just by being there they contribute to the informal education of the community. I am also quite heavily involved in training other people to do things within the organisation and in helping to mentor younger members of staff, so I feel a sort of double obligation to join in with this.

Like some of the other people who have posted as part of the Twitterati challenge, I don’t actually follow a huge number of individual museum and gallery colleagues on Twitter. Most of the information I get about what’s going on, apart from the extremely helpful tweets from people like @RegistrarTrek and @BergFulton (neither of whom I can nominate to follow me as they have already taken part in this) about registrars’ work, technological advances and the occasional international conference at which we happen to be presenting, are from organisational Twitter accounts such as the British Museum, Historic Scotland and so on. However I don’t think it would be in the spirit of the challenge to nominate them. I do recommend that you follow them on Twitter if you are at all interested, though. The British Museum account posts some really interesting old prints, and Historic Scotland posts and re-tweets pictures of its sites, usually depicted in brilliant sunshine and not hailstones and howling gales – so don’t be misled by this if you have never been to Scotland before. Make sure you wrap up warmly when you visit.

In my experience tweets from the New York Public Library, Creative Scotland and the British Library are also very informative and generally interesting – and can also sometimes be useful in the historical research I find myself doing on occasion for my novels.

But anyway, here are my nominations for people to follow on after me in this challenge. Anyone who heard me speak at the European Registrars Conference (#ERC014) last year will be aware of my willingness to travel (virtually) to the far side of the world, so that’s where I’m going now.

@AndrewBowmanBright is a young museum professional in Western Australia who has already won multiple awards. I’ve been watching his career develop with interest after meeting him in Edinburgh, which he visited as part of a family history tour – yes, I’m afraid we are also distantly related. Hope that doesn’t disqualify him from this! I think he and his tweets are well worth following to see what’s happening in museums over there. You might also like to follow @DavidBowmanBright even if he isn’t currently in the museum trade. He tweets mostly (as far as I can tell) about community and public art and culture.

The above are the two people I am actually nominating to take this forward but I also have two further recommendations for individuals you might like to follow on Twitter – I don’t want to oblige either of them to do anything as a result of my mention though, because I haven’t got time to ask their permission due to impending holidays. Someone else who I don’t think is actually in the museum or gallery business but who posts very informative, fascinating and frequent cultural tweets with lovely pictures on a variety of topics, is @kbainartsy. And someone I don’t actually work with every day but she’s in the same organisation so I hope this is ok, is @BoutsOfHysteria, everyone’s favourite curator – don’t quote me on that! If either of you happen to read this and would like to take it forward or blog about it, please feel free to do so or not as the case may be!

As you see, some of the above are within the strict definition of what’s wanted and some aren’t, but I can safely say they will be fun to follow, and there will be culture involved.

Now I just have to copy in the rules (which incidentally I have just driven a coach and horses through) for those who come after me. But before that, here’s a cat picture. Sadly it is too hot today, unusually, for the cat to want to do very much, so there is no point in posting a video.

Cat in a box

Cat in a box

What to do?

  • Within 7 days of being nominated by somebody else, you need to identify colleagues that you rely on or go to for support and challenge. It might be a good idea to check that they are happy to be challenged so that the #TwitterChallenge chain doesn’t break down.
  • Record a video announcing your acceptance of the challenge, followed by a pouring of your (chosen) drink over a glass of ice. Then, the drink is to be lifted with a ‘cheers’ before nominating your five educators to participate in the challenge. (This is optional for the technically challenged).
  • Write your own #TwitteratiChallenge blogpost within 7 days nominating your chosen participants who then become part of #TwitteratiChallenge. If you do not have your own blog, try@Staffrm.
  • The educator that is now newly nominated has 7 days to compose their own #TwitteratiChallenge blogpost and identify who their top 5 go to educators are.
  • It’s optional to make a donation to your chosen charity but if you do you may want to identify one or two charities that may be of interest to others. For example, Debra Kidd’s highlighted the World Wide Education Project as a great charity to support or Nepal needs all the help it can get after the devastating earthquake.

The rules

There are only three rules:

  1. You cannot knowingly include someone you work with in real life.
  2. You cannot list somebody that has already been named if you are already made aware of them being listed on #TwitteratiChallenge. I realise this will get more complex over time.
  3. You will need to copy and paste the title of this blogpost, the rules and what to do information into your own blog post.

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