Letting Go of Never-Ending Conversations

Shaq (Orlando Sentinel)
Shaq (Orlando Sentinel)

That’s one of the real interesting things about social media projects: an exhibition doesn’t just have to end. An exhibition can continue to live, grow, evolve, stay green, and bring people back for multiple visits, because it continues to change with that public participation.

– Matthew Fisher, Letting Go?: Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World

Matthew Fisher is all aboard the social media train and its power to create a continuous dialog between museums and the public. Likewise, I believe that basketball media has adapted very well to social media sites, particularly Twitter, when it comes continuous dialog with the public.

Where I think basketball media may have yet another step to take is fulfilling this statement by Fisher,:

Museums need to be constantly thinking about creating a meaningful relationship between the object or artwork and the visitor.

Gone are the days when a museum or a media outlet can simply dispense information and not receive regular public response. Yes, in the past they received responses from the public, but that would most often come in the form of letters and phone calls that aren’t disseminated like a tweet can in today’s world.

The public can now make it’s voice  heard continuously. This means those of us who purport to have authority must take a less haughty stance. Exhibits or news stories can’t simply be delivered with an “objective truth.” There are multiple truths, some more compelling than others, that must be discussed and revealed.

This dialog can be done in a constructive manner and it certainly happens often. However, it can be warped and manipulated to nefarious, shallow ends. Bleacher Report for instance is a website that ostensibly provides dialogic takes by encouraging fan posts and comments. On balance, however, the material provided by Bleacher Report invites the basest type of commentary and conversational experiences.

This is where the “expert” comes in. Social media allows for this conversation to take place, but the expert still needs to guide and moderate the discussion. This doesn’t mean stifling other opinions, but providing provoking, thoughtful analysis or views to begin a provoking, thoughtful discussion.

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