2015 Yearbook

44 Y E A R B O O K 2 0 1 5 followers you have, making cultural connections is more about the quality of interaction than the quantity. FACEBOOK Facebook can be used professionally as well as personally. The IHBC has a Facebook page and if you have your own business or undertake freelance projects it can be a useful tool. Facebook groups are ideal for student projects or community ‘friends of’ type activities (you can change the privacy settings to ensure the appropriate level of visibility). Facebook messaging is useful for keeping in touch informally, or you may choose to follow companies or organisations of interest. THE POWER OF IMAGES There are many image-sharing sites and these can be used to share illustrations and infographics as well as photos. In Flickr you can create pools of images and photo albums and join or establish groups of contributors. Instagram is a photographic social networking site which allows you to apply photo filters and edit images before you upload. You’ll also find many other free image editors online. People like to see ‘behind the scenes’ so you could try photographing site finds or team groups. If you are a visual thinker you could experiment with sites such as Pinterest, Blipfoto and Tumblr to record your work highlights. VIDEO Vine can be a useful tool for site visits and soundbites. It allows you to create six-second looping videos using a smartphone. While YouTube and Vimeo are the most commonly used video sites, Instagram and Twitter apps also have video recording functions and Flickr allows you to upload short videos. Smartphone apps such as YouTube Capture allow you to record video and then edit and upload it from your phone using a Wi-Fi connection. Filming an open-day or community consultation can help those unable to attend to contribute. Video is also good for showcasing projects, you could also experiment with including a mixture of images and video (for example charting work in progress). You may also like to try vlogging, which involves filming and posting your thoughts on an event. The IHBC has recently been using video to record reflections on events and asking people to tell the story of how they got into conservation. Why not record your own and share it? BLOGGING The IHBC’s NewsBlog service provides twice weekly round-ups of current noteworthy stories. You might like to share some of these stories on your own social media accounts or create your own blog. IHBC members come from many different sectors and backgrounds; a professional blog can portray all of your personal interests (like a virtual portfolio) or highlight current work (a student project, for example). Blogging can also be used for reflective practice by logging your thoughts on events, or collating images and social media posts which you and others have created (such as a conference review). Blog posts don’t have to be written, they could be a collection of images from a conservation area you have surveyed, images of inspirational architecture or a collection of quotations. A company blog might highlight achievements and awards and put ‘names to faces’, creating a more personal approach. COLLABORATION TOOLS There are many freely available tools to help you work with others online. Google Drive allows you to create documents and presentations and edit at the same time with others, tracking changes as you go. Storage facilities like Dropbox and Onedrive allow you to share larger files while controlling who can access them. Video conferencing tools such as Skype, Google Hangout or Firefox Hello can also be useful when you cannot make a meeting in person. CPD AND ARCHIVING Some focussed time set aside to browse professional networks and connect with like-minded people can help you keep up to date with current issues or seek out new CPD opportunities. Social media can be a useful way to find out about cultural events happening near you, while contributing to debates on Twitter or following news of a current amenity body campaign can update your knowledge and extend your cultural network. Why not try ‘virtual attendance’ at a conference by following the event hashtag? Tools such as Flipboard and Storify can be useful to archive Tweets and blog posts by topic or date. You can curate your own story based on online resources you have found or your own contributions to an event, and share these on other social networks. You could also collate information privately, saving it to your own computer in word processing software or apps such as Evernote (not everything needs to be public!). FUNDRAISING AND PUBLICITY Heritage projects are increasingly harnessing the power of crowd- funding and social media. Tools such as Thunderclap and Twibbons can also be used to spread awareness and encourage people to publicise their support for your cause. Recent research by the charity Nesta ( Understanding Alternative Finance , 2014) recommended that the heritage sector should diversify its funding streams through more inventive sources. Online tools can play a part in this financial sustainability. YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT Social media can be useful at any stage of your heritage career and you can use it in your own way. You may decide to ‘observe’ other people’s content by reading online articles or posts, or become a content creator, posting and sharing your own photographs, videos or blogs. Why not join the IHBC on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter and start creating and curating your own professional digital footprint? Alison McCandlish is IHBC NewsBlogs consultant, a PhD student in cultural planning at the University of the West of Scotland and creative director of Crenellated Arts, a consultancy which specialises in illustration and digital interpretation for arts and heritage projects.