Visitors in immersive museum spaces and Instagram: self, place-making, and play
Visitors to museums are increasingly drawn to posting images online that document and reflect their experience. Instagram, as a social media platform, has a proliferating presence in this context. Do different kinds of public spaces within the museum motivate people to share particular types of posts? What kind of posts do visitors generate from digitally immersive spaces with an interactive focus? These questions were unpacked through an exploration of data generated from a digitally immersive, interactive public space – the Immersion Room at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York. Findings indicate that constructs of self, place-making, and play constitute critical components of what occurs, and these aspects are amplified in immersive spaces leaving digital traces within social media. I argue that the intersection of immersive digital environments and visual social media platforms such as Instagram offer a moment to play with and subtlety reconstruct the self with place being a significant contextual frame for this activity. Implications extend and challenge perceptions and the role of both museums as public spaces and the ways in which visual forms of social media intersect with spaces and the people who use them.
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