Information visualization and data collection: a challenge to analyze the actions of cultural institution professionals on social networks

Antoine Courtin, Labex Les passés dans le présent, France

Our study focuses on digital tools for processing and visualizing data to analyze patterns of production and circulation of scientific and cultural information on social networks and public information practices in these digital environments. Although used initially as carriers of ordinary sociability (Jouët, 2011), platforms like Twitter have allowed the emergence of a new public digital territory that tries to tame various stakeholders such as cultural heritage institutions. For these institutions, this new field provides the opportunity to open up new horizons, in line with the recent trend to overcome their physical boundaries and reach other audiences via mobile museums or exhibitions "outside the walls" (Otero 2007). However, beyond studying the behavior of audiences, the actions of professionals who engage in dialogue or communicate with audiences for promotional or educational purposes on social networks also need to be better analyzed.
Our analysis is twofold: a critical questioning of “actions in progress” on Twitter, focusing on how to qualify the participatory dimension in these areas of exchange, and a proposal of available toolkits to collect, analyze and visualize data from online social networks. The methodology combines qualitative and quantitative methods that are needed to understand and visualize the vast body of NSN data in order to develop analytical tools that will provide support and mediation for museum professionals.
Furthermore, we must take a critical look at the data collected given the restrictions due to the Twitter API and interview the institutions as producers of data that they are no longer the master of. The new spaces created by the theoretical basis of the work we are developing in order to understand "public-users" of museums are mainly located in the sociology of culture (Bourdieu 1973; Donnat, 2009; Lahire, 2011; Fleury, 2011), in the sociology of practice and in the theory of cultural, creative and communicative industries.

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