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Instagram at the Museum

DOI: 10.1145/2470654.2466243

Weilenmann, Alexandra, Thomas Hillman, and Beata Jungselius. “Instagram at the Museum.” Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI ’13 (2013). Web.

p.1: The everyday use of smartphones with high quality built-in cameras has lead to an increase in museum visitors’ use of these devices to document and share their museum experiences. In this paper, we investigate how one particular photo sharing application, Instagram, is used to communicate visitors’ experiences while visiting a museum of natural history. Based on an analysis of 222 instagrams created in the museum, as well as 14 interviews with the visitors who created them, we unpack the compositional resources and concerns contributing to the creation of instagrams in this particular context. By re-categorizing and re-configuring the museum environment, instagrammers work to construct their own narratives from their visits. -- Highlighted mar 17, 2014

p.2: Similarly, another study points to the two main practices of tagging as being for organizational and social purposes that can be understood in relation to a number of motivations: future retrieval, contribution and sharing, attracting attention, play and competition, self presentation, and opinion expression -- Highlighted mar 17, 2014

p.3: These concerns are particularly evident in relation to discussions of visitor photography in museums, which has been controversial for decades, but have intensified with the advent of digital cameras and smartphones [5]. For example, the Victoria and Albert Museum Flickr pool is actively edited to prevent privately-owned paintings from appearing, reflecting an institutional rule that may not be of concern for visitors. -- Highlighted mar 17, 2014

p.3: Amongst those mobile technologies that are supplied by museums, perhaps the most common example is audio guides. First introduced at the Stedelijk Museum in 1952, audio-guides are personal technologies that allow visitors to move through exhibitions at their own pace while listening to commentary about the exhibits. Since their introduction, a wide range of extensions to the basic idea that visitors should carry with them a personal museum guide that provides contextually relevant information as they move about a museum have been developed -- Highlighted mar 17, 2014

p.5: We begin by examining how they balance the compositional concerns of what to portray (the photographic subject), how to portray it (using features of the technology), and how to present it through captions. We then move on to discuss ways visitors set the scene by creating cover pages for their instagram sequences, produce thematic collections of instagrams, and engage with online audiences. -- Highlighted mar 17, 2014

p.6: These types of references to popular culture are quite common in the captions in the museum instagrams in both datasets. Lions are frequently captioned with Simba or Mufasa from the movie The Lion King, and there are references to characters from Swedish children’s books. In addition, captions often involve word games and humor specific to the inhabitants of Gothenburg, thus serving to situate the instagrams within the local cultural context. -- Highlighted mar 17, 2014

p.8: we draw upon these findings to discuss instagramming beyond Instagram, i.e. how instagramming is a practice that goes beyond the Instagram application and social network to form a cross-platform multi-media conversation -- Highlighted mar 17, 2014

p.9: In our empirical material, we have seen several ways visitors recategorize or re-curate the museum when creating their own narratives, such as the recurring cabinet of curiosity theme. -- Highlighted mar 17, 2014