Why Going Live NOW and Adjusting Continually in Real-Time is SO HUGE.

Greetings Friends,
 
Today we want to share some thoughts on (READ: “grab your attention about”) how CultureSpots gives you the unique ability to easily post your content online and adjust that content, in real-time, as often and as many times as you like – AND, even MORE importantly, how and why that benefits you when you are running a museum or a gallery. 
 
In this digitized world, we are all craving authenticity more and more. This is evident in the way social media trends are evolving and the rise of Podcast Culture. For instance, Instagram Stories and Facebook Live are filled with raw content. And some of the most popular Podcasts aren’t professionally produced and “perfect”, they’re just real.
 
We are drawn to things that make us feel connected and a part of a meaningful experience. Being able to experience things in real time creates a feeling of inclusivity and being part of what’s happening. With CultureSpots you are able to connect with your audience in a similar way. Next time you have an artist talk, a conversation with a curator or a live performance post it immediately after the event is over so your ‘at home’ audience can experience it too.
 
At first glance this idea can be intimidating. Naturally anyone putting themselves out there would want things to be flawless. But we feel it’s more to your advantage to just get it out there and don’t sweat the small stuff. This way you can stay relevant and connect with your audience. And afterwards you can edit it and have it online for your audience to enjoy whenever. Being able to do this will not only allow more people to enjoy your event but you can also share it with future audiences and get them excited about being physically present at the next one. How great is that?
 
This ability to go live and edit along the way can come in handy in other settings as well. Sometimes you might organize an exhibition that grows and changes throughout its course. This is where you can really take advantage of going live instantly. Now you can keep up with the exhibit as it changes. So no more wishing you could go back and change something. No more worrying if people will be able to get the content and context you want them to experience. With CultureSpots you can stay ahead of all of this simply because you can publish and edit your content in real time, anytime, as many times as you want. How wonderful!
 
Going live so quickly gives you more relevance, timeliness, and creates a greater sense of urgency, while also giving your audience more ways to connect with you. It builds community and is a perfect way to play into social media trends. 
We hope that by adopting this stance, you’ll be even more excited than before to take full advantage of CultureSpots – and remember, share it sooner, perfect it later. THE SOONER THE BETTER! 
 
Sign up today and get started. If you’re already a subscriber, we would love to hear about a recent experience you’ve had with going live and adjusting along the way.
 
The video below shows one example of how quickly and easily you can record, edit and publish (“Go Live!”) new audio content on CultureSpots: 

Thank you, be well, and enjoy!

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots

cliff@culturespots.com

(VIDEO) Want to See What an Audio Tour Is Like WITHOUT Audio on CultureSpots?

A few weeks ago, we announced (here) the end of audio being a requirement for you to be able to publish tours on CultureSpots. In case you don’t already know, CultureSpots is our mobile audio tour platform that works on all your visitors’ smartphones via the mobile Web, without any apps for them to download, and without you having to buy, build or install any new hardware or software.

Today I’ve decided to show you, rather than tell you about it.

In this short video (<2mins), you’ll see, and hear, from the perspective of your visitors’ smartphone, how great your tours can be, even without audio.

Pop in for a look and listen – here we go….

BY THE WAY, if you want to play with the demo featured in this video, go here with your smartphone browser: spts.us/demo2

Thanks for tuning in!

With love,

The CultureSpots Team

(VIDEO) Now you can use Facebook to access audio tours on CultureSpots!

Hello CultureSpots family!

Today we’re announcing an exciting new capability that lets your visitors access and enjoy your audio tours on CultureSpots even MORE easily than ever before, using…

FACEBOOK for iPhone and Android!

YES, you read that right!  And according to BusinessForApps.com, 85% of smartphone users have the Facebook mobile app installed on their phones.  This means that of all your visitors who own smartphones (the vast majority of them these days…), 85% will likely have Facebook installed on it.  This is huge, obviously!

 

Why do we care?  Because the latest Facebook app includes an integrated QR CODE  reader — and it works fabulously with every Spot and Tour on CultureSpots!

In other words….no more searching the App Store for free QR code reader apps!

With Facebook, QR CODES are here to stay and thrive!  And, so is CultureSpots 🙂

 

If you haven’t yet used CultureSpots’ built-in, auto-generated QR codes as a way to make it easier for your visitors to access your audio tours, now is the time to start doing so!  Your visitors will be able to just:

  1. Tap their Facebook app’s QR code reader in Explore/Shortcuts (depending on their version of the Facebook app),
  2. Point it at the CultureSpots QR code you’ve printed onto your labels, brochures or any other signage you might be using for your visitors,
  3. And voila — your visitors are listening to your audio tour!

 

Have a look at how it works in the quick how-to video we created below, featuring an audio tour by one of our awesome new clients, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University:

Whether you’ve been using our QR codes or not, your CultureSpots account generates (automatically) QR codes for every spot, for every tour and for your organization’s landing page.

This means that you can use CultureSpots QR codes to direct your visitors directly to an individual Spot, all the Spots within a Tour, or to your organizations’ main landing page on CultureSpots.  It’s up to you! And it’s easy to get started.

Just log into your CultureSpots environment, go to a Spot/Tour, and on its “Edit Spot/Tour” screen, right-click and “Save image as…” to download and begin embedding your QR codes into all your printed and online materials today!

We can’t wait to announce another huge smartphone technology update that will make scanning QR codes even more ubiquitous and intuitive than ever before.  Stay tuned!  (HINT: iOS11)  QR codes are HOT again!!!

Thank you for your continued support.

Enjoy your journey!

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots
cliff@culturespots.com

Don’t Forget to Invite Your Neighbors - Whoever and Wherever They Are.

If you were to plan a massive Grand Re-Opening party at your museum or gallery, who would you invite?  Would you invite just those folks who’ve already been visiting for years, or would you try reaching out to new people who’ve never stepped foot inside before?  Would you want to do something special for them, […]

Read More

Amplify Your Marketing Impact with Audio Tour Content from CultureSpots

Enabling museums and galleries to create high quality, creative and engaging mobile audio tours has always been the goal for us at CultureSpots.  But did you know that the content you create for your audio tours can also be used elsewhere as a great way to promote and generate interest in your exhibitions, events and […]

Read More

Work smarter, not harder with CultureSpots

Usually with a new exhibition comes the desire for a new audio tour.  Of course, the process of creating an audio tour doesn’t just happen all by itself, and will require a bit of effort.  But, we want you to know there IS a way to make this process easier and less stressful, even when […]

Read More

New (Optional) Configuration Option!

Back in October 2014, when we had our CultureSpots launch event at Drexel University’s Pearlstein Gallery, there were some photographers in the audience who pointed out an aspect of CultureSpots’ mobile Web application design that they wanted us to reconsider.

They explained that our design decision to overlay text on top of COVER images (for both the SPOT screen and TOUR screen) could be problematic for some people — especially photographers — who can be very particular about the way their images are displayed, no matter the context, location, constraints, etc., and that having anything overlaid on top of their images could be an unacceptable deal-breaker.

Since then, we’ve been on a sort of “high alert” for this to become a problem.  And it never really has, though admittedly, not many professional photographers are using CultureSpots (yet?).  It has come up in conversation a few times, where some of our clients asked if they could remove the “Name” text from their “Cover Images”, but never did this become a recurring, urgent issue, or a reason for anyone to not use our system. These “Names” are created by our clients, usually very brief, and overlay only the most bottom part of the image, not the entire image – often only a quarter or a fifth of the bottom of it, if that. (See sample images below).

 

BUT, recently, we received an interesting request from a business partner that was different, and inspired us to reverse course on this particular design decision.  They wanted to use their Cover Images for text, and only text.  It was not for photos/imagery.  Instead they were going to create mini poster images that would only contain text, and only the occasional symbol, chart or graph.  Now it really DID become an issue that we were overlaying the Spot’s and/or Tour’s “Name” text on top of its associated “Cover Image” because it would be in the way, and potentially make the “Cover Image” text unreadable or at least very aesthetically unpleasing for our business partner, and their users, all of whom are strategically important for some of our new business initiatives.

So with an update we just made to the CultureSpots system, we can now change a single setting and hide the “Name” text from all your “Cover Images” !  For now, this is a setting that only we control , and you’ll have to contact us and let us know if you’re interested in having us do this for your CultureSpots environment.  It‘s a single mouse-click for us to turn it on and/or off, and it takes effect immediately, so it’s no trouble for us at all, and we’re happy to do it.  Just realize that it is “global” in nature, meaning that the “Name” text will be hidden from all your Spot and Tour detail pages, as well as your main landing page where your organization’s name would normally be. 

This might be GREAT NEWS for some of you, and overall, this new option further enhances the “visual identification” of spots and the real objects/places that are associated to them.

With CultureSpots, your visitors have 4 easy ways to easily find the right audio spot for an object in your Museum or Gallery:

  • AUDIO ID NUMBER: Your object’s label on the wall specifies an AUDIO ID number, that you visitors can quickly type into CultureSpots to go directly to the right audio spot.
  • QR CODES: Your object’s label on the wall contains a QR code that you visitors can scan with their phone to go to the right audio spot.
  • PRETTY URL: Your object’s label on the wall (or a brochure) gives your visitors a super short “URL” that they can type into their phone’s browser to go to the right audio spot.
  • Visual navigation and identification: This is where today’s enhancement announcement comes to play. No labels, no signs needed. Allow your visitors to easily and intuitively navigate CultureSpots, by visually identifying the audio spot they’re looking for.  With large images and NO TEXT in the way.

This is what we mean:

 

Obviously, we aren’t going to make any changes to your account settings without your expressly telling us to do so.  Meaning, nothing changes if you do nothing — everything stays the same as it is now.  But again, if you’d like us to do this for you, just let us know and we will do so immediately.

Do you have any ideas, suggestions for improvement, or other feature requests?  We’d LOVE to hear them!

Let us know if we can help with anything, and thanks again for being a part of the CultureSpots family!

Thank you for your continued support.

Enjoy your journey!

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots
cliff@culturespots.com

Don’t Forget to Invite Your Neighbors - Whoever and Wherever They Are.

If you were to plan a massive Grand Re-Opening party at your museum or gallery, who would you invite?  Would you invite just those folks who’ve already been visiting for years, or would you try reaching out to new people who’ve never stepped foot inside before?  Would you want to do something special for them, […]

Read More

Amplify Your Marketing Impact with Audio Tour Content from CultureSpots

Enabling museums and galleries to create high quality, creative and engaging mobile audio tours has always been the goal for us at CultureSpots.  But did you know that the content you create for your audio tours can also be used elsewhere as a great way to promote and generate interest in your exhibitions, events and […]

Read More

Work smarter, not harder with CultureSpots

Usually with a new exhibition comes the desire for a new audio tour.  Of course, the process of creating an audio tour doesn’t just happen all by itself, and will require a bit of effort.  But, we want you to know there IS a way to make this process easier and less stressful, even when […]

Read More

Greetings – we’ve got cards!

Hello CultureSpots family!

We’ve been busy tinkering away with our CultureSpots platform and recently released an update that includes a very cool new feature we’re sure you’ll love knowing more about…

Cards!

With our new “card-style” feature on CultureSpots, your Tours and Spots get more visual (thus, easier to see and navigate) than ever before!

Why might this matter?

  • Visual appeal:  People like to look at pretty pictures.  Enough said really.  In this case, bigger is better.
  • Easier visual connection between a Spot/Tour and its associated physical object:  Larger images on your visitors’ smartphone screens will make it easier for them to make a visual match between what they are seeing in their physical surroundings, and the related digital content available to them on CultureSpots.
  • Modern look:  Our new “card-style” layout is probably how your visitors have come to expect content to be laid out on the mobile Web, as it’s become standard on Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.

This brief 1-minute video will quickly give you a sense of how our new look compares to our “classic” version:

 

This new feature is TOTALLY optional to implement.  And we have not done anything to change your default/current “classic” layout.  If you want to turn it on, you can login with your account anytime and make the changes with just 2 mouse-clicks.  Or feel free to ask us to do it for you — no problem — it takes just a few seconds!

To turn it on  (immediately, and globally), login to CultureSpots with your admin account credentials (forgot?  Go here.) and go to your “Branding” screen.   

 

Once there, scroll down: 

 

Select the checkbox next to “Layout – Use card-style tour and spot design”,

 

Then scroll down further and click the green “Submit” button.   

That’s it!  (Now, take a look at your audio guide site on your smartphone)  To undo it, uncheck that same checkbox, and click submit.   

If you want to toggle back and forth between this new “card-style” layout, and the default/current “classic” layout, you can, anytime, and with immediate effect, just remember, you’re doing this globally, so if there are any visitors using your mobile audio tours at the moment, they’ll experience this toggling back and forth in the layout too, so maybe do it off-hours?

What do you think?  We’d love to hear from you.  How about some suggestions of your own?

Thank you for your continual support.

Enjoy your journey!

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots
cliff@culturespots.com

Don’t Forget to Invite Your Neighbors - Whoever and Wherever They Are.

If you were to plan a massive Grand Re-Opening party at your museum or gallery, who would you invite?  Would you invite just those folks who’ve already been visiting for years, or would you try reaching out to new people who’ve never stepped foot inside before?  Would you want to do something special for them, […]

Read More

Amplify Your Marketing Impact with Audio Tour Content from CultureSpots

Enabling museums and galleries to create high quality, creative and engaging mobile audio tours has always been the goal for us at CultureSpots.  But did you know that the content you create for your audio tours can also be used elsewhere as a great way to promote and generate interest in your exhibitions, events and […]

Read More

Work smarter, not harder with CultureSpots

Usually with a new exhibition comes the desire for a new audio tour.  Of course, the process of creating an audio tour doesn’t just happen all by itself, and will require a bit of effort.  But, we want you to know there IS a way to make this process easier and less stressful, even when […]

Read More

(VIDEO) Client Spotlight Interview: University of New Hampshire Museum of Art

Hello friends!

In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve really been tooting the horn of museums and galleries who’ve been so effectively using CultureSpots to engage their youngest audiences — especially on the audio tour production side of things.

So in keeping with that theme, we’ve got a great Client Spotlight Interview for you here with the dynamic team at the University of New Hampshire Museum of Art.

In this video, you’ll find out how the audio tour production process inspired their amazing student fellow to take on all kinds of fun, new, career-building activities while creating audio tours that transform their visitors’ smartphones into an enhancer of, rather than a distraction from, the museum experience.

We’re so deeply pleased with how the UNH Museum of Art team has taken CultureSpots and run with it, making it a priority in their operations and an integral component of their student fellowship program, with undeniable impact.

Enjoy your journey!

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots
cliff@culturespots.com

(VIDEO) Client Spotlight Interview at Michener Art Museum – Part 2 of 2

Hello friends!

We’ve been soooo looking forward to sharing Part 2 of our Michener Art Museum Client Spotlight Interview with you!

The kids in this video are an absolute delight AND profoundly articulate in describing their experience participating in the Michener’s Youth Audio Tour production project (powered by CultureSpots).

As you watch this, you might begin to suspect these interviews were scripted, or that we used cue cards, or coached the kids in some way.  NOTHING OF THE SORT is even remotely true.  They sat down, we rolled the cameras, asked open-ended questions and had a conversation.  These kids were just straight-up fantastic – that’s all there was to it.

If you represent an organization charged with growing your young audiences, YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO MISS THIS VIDEO! Watch, listen and learn just how impactful and meaningful their experiences were producing their museum’s Youth Audio Tour. Wouldn’t you like to have this kind of effect on kids at your museum?

Remember, with CultureSpots, you can!

Please — let us help you.

If you missed Part 1 of our CultureSpots Client Spotlight Interview, and you’re curious about how the amazing team at the Michener Art Museum pulled off this project, click HERE.

Enjoy your journey!

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots
cliff@culturespots.com

(VIDEO) AAMG Conference 2016 Presentation – 4 Academic Galleries, 4 Inspiring Ideas!

We originally scheduled this blog post to include Part 2 of our Client Spotlight video interview with the Michener Art Museum and the conversations we had with the children who created their amazing audio guide (which you can enjoy HERE).

But you’ll have to wait two more weeks for that, since we’re still catching up from being on the road last week and the long holiday weekend.  So instead, we decided to share something with you that’s already fully cooked up and ready to serve.

Last week at the AAMG (Association of Academic Museums and Galleries) Conference in Washington, DC, we had the honor of being included in the opening night reception activities where we got to present a short “video trailer” to conference attendees highlighting 4 of the many inspirational ideas we encountered during our Academic Museums Spotlight Tour 2015.

And now you can see it too!  (or, for some of you, again!)

(* If you don’t know what the Academic Museums Spotlight Tour is about, last year, in partnership with AAMG, we traveled across the country visiting and interviewing 8 Academic Museums and Galleries along the way, learning about their most groundbreaking, successful and unique initiatives, programs and events.)

In just 2 weeks we look forward to finally sharing with you our insightful conversations with a group of children at the Michener Art Museum, where we’ll find out how they created such a fantastic audio guide using CultureSpots, and how this initiative has positively impacted their young lives (and the museum!).

Enjoy your journey!

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots
cliff@culturespots.com

(VIDEO) Client Spotlight Interview at Michener Art Museum – Part 1 of 2

There’s a trend here at CultureSpots.  Each time we hit the road to visit a client, our minds get blown.  This time, at the Michener Art Museum, it was no different.

As you’ll witness in this Client Spotlight Interview with Adrienne Romano, Director of Interpretation and Innovation, and Ruth Anderson, Director of Youth and Family Programs at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, PA, they masterfully turned their mobile audio tour production project into a learning opportunity for kids.

And this video is only the half of it — because during this visit, we actually got to sit down and interview the kids too!  But, you’ll have to wait for that.  (we’ll share that with you in one of our next two upcoming blog post, email blasts)  Until then….

Next week, we’ll be in Washington, DC for the annual Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG) conference.  On Wednesday, as a sponsor (3 years in a row) – lunch is on us!  Here’s the conference schedule: https://www.aamg-us.org/wp/annual-conferences/    We look forward to seeing many of you there!

Enjoy your journey!

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots
cliff@culturespots.com

(VIDEO) Client Spotlight Interview with Elizabeth Laurent at Girard College

We love visiting our clients on their home turf!  It’s always so inspiring and reinvigorating in so many ways — as I’m sure you can imagine.

And it was no different when we had the recent opportunity to visit Girard College, and conduct this Client Spotlight video interview with our friend and early-CultureSpots-adopter Elizabeth Laurent, their Director of Historic Resources.

If you’re someone who doesn’t feel particularly technology-proficient, this video is soooo for you.  Elizabeth would be the first one to tell you she’s not a “Digital Native”.  But with just enough of our gentle guidance and reassurances, boy did she take her CultureSpots mobile audio tour production project by the horns and run with it!

Elizabeth is an excellent role model for people working at cultural and educational institutions who care deeply about what they do, and are willing to challenge and expand their comfort zones so that more people have a richer array of opportunities to connect with, experience and enjoy the institutions they so proudly serve.

Sit back and enjoy, there’s lots of great stuff in here…

If you’d like to experience the mobile audio tour Elizabeth put together for Girard College on your smartphone, you can get there directly by visiting spts.us/gc in your favorite mobile browser OR by visiting this page on their website.

(Today we’re beginning our experiment to visit your inbox every other Thursday — instead of Tuesday — morning.  Our research indicates that by Thursday, your inbox has more likely been able to recover from the barrage of emails arriving earlier in the week.)

Enjoy your journey!

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots
cliff@culturespots.com