Robbie Sexton is the social media manager and content designer at the Art Institute of Chicago. He began working there almost 6 years ago as a content editor on the blog and has worked his way up to be the sole person in charge of the Art Institute’s social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blog, etc.) as well as many other duties–including being the museum mascot!
Though Robbie works over several different social media platforms, his favorite to connect with visitors on is Facebook– he says, “It’s like your driver’s license of social media.” Even though it isn’t the newest or fanciest platform, people from every generation have access to the museum through Facebook, which is what makes it the best to try to connect with people on. Robbie runs his social media agenda via a layered system of Google Calendars and posts things in real time–with a little help from scheduling sites on occasion. This allows him to easily rearrange when posts go up with current events in the news, requests that come in from different departments, and silly national holidays. This clearly keeps him busy(!) but he also makes sure to respond to people that specifically tag the museum with in a few hours– an amazing feat considering the number of followers the museum has across all of it’s platforms. Something that I noticed while looking through his responses was that, when responding, he greets each person by name. This is a feature of his laid back style of posting that fits into the idea that the social media outlet for the museum needs to be accessible for everyone–whether they are artists or someone who thinks that art museums aren’t for them because they know nothing about art.
One of Robbie’s biggest concerns–next to making sure that his digital audience feels comfortable– is to balance the content that he posts. Since he is the main point for all social media presence, his inbox is stuffed with departmental requests for upcoming exhibits, programs and events that all need to be promoted. While these take priority, he also includes “fun” posts, such as #TBT posts, entertaining posts, such as artist-in-residence Twitter takeovers, and thoughtful conversation starters, such as the most recent Instagram post that we were discussing, which was a controversial feminist work that Robbie was hoping would start conversations based around Trump’s leaked video discussing women’s images, without guidance from the museum to start down that path. The combination of these different post types across all platforms makes the ARTIC’s social media presence feel very well rounded.
Robby’s other work, based on his social media interactions, include a physical tour in the galleries called From URL to IRL, which created a discussion about the connections between digital conversations and physical art, as well as being a part of the conversations for all the museum’s digital presences, like the new app that was just launched, and JourneyMaker for kids and family visitors.