How do we market holocaust education to teenagers?
The question is a bit outrageous, but is made to be that way.
As I was preparing this presentation, I’ve had a remarkable experience online. I went to the Shoah Memorial’s YouTube channel to see what they produced lately and watch a video: an interview of the Shoah Memorial Director about the latest museum exhibition. As soon as the video ended, the player displayed another video, which was an interview of a known anti-Semitic, revisionist and right wing extremist, who is playing an important part in conveying conspiracy theory.
I was very much astounded by that YouTube recommendation.
What went wrong here? Well I would say that the online marketing strategy have not been implemented correctly, that the User Experience was not thought, to the end.
Indeed, I do believe that our online educational methods could benefit from a more marketing oriented approach.
We face marketing problems:
- Internet is a marketplace
- The competition between content providers is tremendous
- The users have the power they are no longer captive
In order to reach our audience, we therefore need to develop a User Experience that answer to these issues:
- Brings quality content to the users
- Engage them
- Have a holistic: non-linear approach; the users must be able to find our content at any point, from any platform.
Regarding the YouTube unfortunate experience, a simple fix to it would have been to configure the video as to choose which videos can or cannot be displayed as related content. It’s a pretty easy fix, and not only would it prevent dubious content to show up in the stream but would also be a great way, if not to captivate, but to try to retain the audience a bit longer.
This lack of control over that media is also very symptomatic of a main misconception about online communication:
Most Memorial, education centers and museum to often see website or online resource center as the sun of their solar system. With Social Media platform, we believed to have discovered new solar systems, and we were very much afraid of the life forms that grew in it. Museum and documentation center, made shy exploration of it, but besides planting a flag on the nearest planet, we did not do much to explore and settle in these newfound lands.
To continue on my example –
most of the Shoah Memorials’ YouTube videos are hosted on that platform for two reasons:
- It is practical
- Easily sharable
But ultimately, the video is aimed at being published on the website of the museum, it is not made to have a life of its own on YouTube. The YouTube Channel at the Shoah Memorial is not considered as a reliable streaming platform for content
The problem is that using a platform only for practical purposes without really defining a communication strategy specific to that platform can in fact, harm you more than it will serve you; in that example the Shoah Memorial channel served as a entry point for extremist and anti-Semitic ideology.
The main challenge is to benefit from an already working media massively used; to use its code of communication to deliver your own message and reach your audience. It is important that your strategy acknowledges those communication codes so as to adapt your message and deliver it in the most natural possible way for the users.
It’s crucial to understand, when it comes to online initiatives, whether they are commercial, cultural or pedagogical, that your website is not at the center of the solar system. Your website is planet earth and Social Media platform are all the mysterious planets out there.
So if your website is earth, Social Media platforms represents planets of our solar system, who is playing the central decisive role of the sun?
The user, exactly.