CulturalDigital: why I’ve started a forum

The week before last, I set up a forum called CulturalDigital. It started when I sent a direct message via Twitter saying:

ChrisUnitt on Twitter

That was sent to Ash Mann, someone who I felt wouldn’t be afraid to point out a massive waste of time and effort. He asked a couple of pertinent questions and then was pretty encouraging so, a few hours later, the site was born.

On the welcome thread I’ve written the following by way of explanation:

This is a place to discover and talk about the areas where digital technology and arts, culture and heritage overlap with each other.

The aim is for this to be the place you come to:

  • Share what you’re doing or what you’ve learned in a way that might benefit others.
  • Find links to the latest articles and reports about digital media and technology in the arts, culture and technology sectors.
  • Ask questions when you’re not sure what the solution to a problem might be (we’re all still learning).

If people were to do any/all of that then I’d call that a success. What I’d really like is for there to be a loyal bunch of people who go to CulturalDigital at the start of their day to make sure they’re up to date with what’s going on. But we’ll see.

Otherwise, it’s all a bit of an experiment and I’m looking forward to seeing how it might be used. I’ve tried to leave it pretty formless for now. If it turns out we could do with a categories for museums, digital publishing, PR, different countries or whatever else, then they can be added later. I’d rather not second guess things if I can help it and I’m hoping ongoing management and moderation can be very light touch.

As for the reasons why I wanted to put the site together, there are a few things:

  • I was talking to someone recently who has a digital media-related role at an arts organisation and he said: ‘It’s kinda surprising that there’s nowhere I can go to talk about this stuff’. I agreed.
  • I’ve been interested in, the software running the forum, for a little while and wanted a reason to try it out.
  • Inspiration-wise, I’ve been casting glances at Hacker News, and the MCG email list.
  • It isn’t costing me much; a domain name, some hosting and a bit of time is all. I realise that’s not a reason for doing it – more a reason for not not doing it (if you see what I mean).

With all that in mind, I figured I’d just do something. If it’s useful and it takes off then great. If not (and I know it’s notoriously tough to get a forum going) then it doesn’t matter too much and at least I scratched that itch.

Ash has written a bit about the forum too, expressing much the same sentiment.

So please, have a look around the site, go to the introductions thread and say hello. There’s also a Twitter account you can follow for new topics – that’s @culturaldigita1.

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.