Meet Lexie Buchanan, the AGO’s social media guru whose mission is to get #beyondtheselfie
Meet Lexie Buchanan, the face behind the AGO Twitter account (and all of the AGO’s other social media channels). Lexie merges her passion for education and art with her naturally friendly personality to make the AGO’s social platforms the welcoming hub they are. After years of experience in social media at both the National Gallery of Canada as well as the Royal Ontario Museum – and now gaining some at the AGO, too – Lexie is well versed in all things #MuseSocial. She’s sharing some of her knowledge at the upcoming The Artist Project’s Art Chats panel – Post, Like, Repeat. Social Media and the Art Market on February 25. Learn some of her insights ahead of the panel now:
AGO: What is your favourite thing about working in the social media world?
Lexie: Definitely access and community. You can follow our Director and CEO Stephan Jost on Instagram, see what he’s up to and comment on it; that kind of access didn’t exist 10 to 15 years ago. Also it’s part of my job to read comment sections, and I kind of love it. I learn so much about our audience and I love seeing the conversations they have with each other. It can be a great micro-community. Social media has become a place where people share their passions, which can be both heartwarming and educational.
AGO: What surprised you most when you started at the AGO?
Lexie: What surprised me most is what people liked in the collection – the universal love for the Floor Burger (from artist Claes Oldenburg), the Robert Motherwell work Open No. 37A: In Orange and of course The Group of Seven. One woman messaged us on Twitter and Facebook and gave me a vague description of a work she’d seen and really liked, and I walked around until I found it. Turns out it was a really beautiful work by Tom Thomson called Sketch for “Grey Day in the North” and I was so happy to spend some time with it. I wasn’t familiar with it at all before that. Moments like that are pretty special in what I do.
AGO: What cultural organizations do you think are doing social media well right now?
Lexie: There are so many that are doing inspiring work via social – it’s hard to think of one or two that stick out. But I will say that I love the organizations who aren’t scared to show that there’s a human behind the account, and have fun with it. The people who do social media at cultural organizations are a very creative, dedicated, and welcoming crew. They’re always happy to help, or give feedback on something you’re working on. For a laugh, here’s a non-organizational account that I love: Classical Art Memes.
AGO: What’s the future of social? Where would you like to see it go?
Lexie: I think social media will start to be more and more integrated into museum practice. It’s already changed SO much in the years that I’ve been doing it. From being an afterthought to being something that is top of mind for curators, educators, marketers, everyone from the get-go. People understand the power that it offers as a communication tool but also as a community-building tool, and I hope that will gain momentum even more. At the AGO it’s great, because everyone gets why it’s important.
In terms of where I’d like to see it go, I’d like for people realize that there’s more to social media than selfies – and that if people want to use it for selfies, that’s also okay. I think social media can start great discussions, but it’s also an opportunity for organizations like us to have fun – and that’s a good thing!
You can see Lexie speak on all things art and social media at The Artist Project’s Art Chats on February 25, and make sure you follow the AGO on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook (and Lexie herself at @lexiebuchanan on Twitter).
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