Ask museum professionals what a hashtag was a decade ago and the answer would be something rather arbitrary. Hashtags for #museum in 2020 have become so popular and are trending in Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, Tumblr and other social platforms, it is hard to keep pace. The point of using hashtags is to post, get popular and boost views, a form of engagement with an infinite number of users. Hashtags are there to inspire global communication and gives one the ability to reach millions of people, stay connected by linking together relevant images, art, stories, narratives on social media to niche communities. Hashtags are fast becoming the culture of marketing tools for museums to grow their reach and connectivity with the globalised world. Locally please follow, #UniversityMuseumsFromHome; #universityofpretoria and #MyAfricaOurArt. Some other really great hashtags to follow are #MuseumsAndChill, #AskCurator, #MusTech, #MuseumSelfie. The glossary of museum-related and art-related hashtags is endless.
According to the Art Newspaper the top 6 hashtags to follow during national lockdown and adapted from the following article, https://www.theartnewspaper.com/feature/the-top-ten-hashtags-to-follow-now-as-the-art-world-moves-onto-social-media
1. #MuseumFromHome - This is an essential feed to follow for the latest online initiatives. A similar hashtag that is trending is #VisitfromHome and there is also a French version #cultureàdomicile. There is also a very fun strand that began here where art professionals trapped and bored at home have been making one-minute long videos about a single work of art or artefact that they love. The idea was started by the freelance museum worker Sacha Coward and he is encouraging others to follow suit.
2. #MuseumMomentOfZen - As the world gets caught up in coronavirus-related anxiety, lots of art institutions are sharing beautiful and peaceful works of art from their collections or views of empty galleries while the museums are shut. This is a perfect antidote to stressful working-from-home days and lonely self-isolation.
3. #MuseSocial - More for the social media teams at museums, this feed is a great place to either vent about the chaotic and mammoth task of taking your museum's output online or to get a heads up about what people are planning for the coming weeks.
4. #WhyILoveMuseums -Yesterday was #WhyILoveMuseums Day and lots of accounts are sharing their thoughts. "We love museums because, even now, they can offer us a unique connection to history, culture, nature and stories that help us understand our world. It might often be through exhibitions & galleries, but don't forget their online content is still there for you now," tweeted London's Natural History Museum.
5. #ArchivesHashtagParty - This one is for the proper history nerds out there. Here, people are sharing letters, photographs and objects from either their museum or personal archives. For St Patrick's Day, unable to physically attend celebrations, lots of accounts posted images from parades gone by.
6. #ArtCanHelp - We at The Art Newspaper have set up this hashtag campaign to spread good news, cheerful images and helpful lists of fun activities and funding support. Tag along with us!