Over one million followers of the Auschwitz Memorial on social media
Over a million people from all over the world follow social media profiles of the Auschwitz Memorial Site on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Thanks to sharing the posts published by the Museum, facts from the history of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz reach dozens million people.
The Auschwitz Museum has been developing its presence in social media since 2009. “We started – as the first institution of this kind in the world – with our Facebook page as we noticed that this is where the users search for the information about the history of Auschwitz and they find different – better or worse – pages devoted to the history of the camp. So, we agreed that – as a Memorial Site – we should be present there in order to be accessible, so that people could reach us, ask questions and discover the history. A few years later we launched our accounts on Twitter and Instagram. Now, also as the first institution of this kind in the world, we have reached a million followers”, said Paweł Sawicki, responsible for the Museum social media.
The main aim of the presence of the Auschwitz Museum in social media consists in commemorating the victims and educating about the history of Auschwitz, but each of the sites represents totally different characteristics. “What matters most it is everyday work consisting in reminding of the facts referring to camp history, specific people, victims, stories as well as showing the extremely difficult, complex and multidimensional character of camp history”, Paweł Sawicki emphasizes.
Twitter constitutes the most important channel of communication, through which we not only remind of camp victims, but also contact with the representatives of the media, conduct public dialogue, publish official statements, react to press releases containing substantial errors or undertake necessary steps when the reputation of Auschwitz victims is damaged.
Within the period of two years, the number of followers grew from 50 thousand in September 2017 to 650 thousand in November 2019. In 2018, the list of top ten Polish tweets (biggest number of shares and likes – data: Sotrender) included 6 written by the Auschwitz Museum. In October 2019, Museum’s tweets were viewed nearly 58 million times.
"The ‘social’ aspect constitutes an extremely important part of this activity. It is thanks to Twitter users – often celebrities or media figures – who have decided to support us, call other people to join our virtual community of memory and follow our account, we have recently managed to first cross the barrier of 200 thousand and then of 500 thousand. We currently hope to reach the symbolical number of 750 thousand followers on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz. The target seems possible to achieve thanks to extraordinary support and the activity of online community,” Paweł Sawicki emphasized.
Mark Hamill, famous American actor who played Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” series, wrote on Twitter: “It may be difficult, but @AuschwitzMuseum is the most important account I've ever followed. I urge everyone to do the same”.
It may be difficult, but @AuschwitzMuseum is the most important account I've ever followed. I urge everyone to do the same. Visiting the #HolocaustMuseum in Israel was a horrific, life altering experience exhibiting man's inhumanity to mankind. We ALL must #NeverForget. https://t.co/EzEUhWGcUK— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) September 17, 2019
A journalist Dan Rather wrote: “I follow @AuschwitzMuseum and it is unlike anything else on Twitter... a stark, disturbing history that must never be forgotten, and a conscience for our own troubled times. If you don’t follow them I suggest you do.”
I follow @AuschwitzMuseum and it is unlike anything else on Twitter... a stark, disturbing history that must never be forgotten, and a conscience for our own troubled times. If you don’t follow them I suggest you do. https://t.co/OzBzp8HpNE— Dan Rather (@DanRather) September 7, 2019
Journalists also called to follow the account of the Museum in one of the programs broadcast live on the La7 channel in Italy.
Facebook – due to easy contact possibilities – constitutes an important channel of direct interaction with visitors. “This is the place where we can publish the most complete educational content, as the length of posts is not limited. On Facebook we also broadcast important events taking place at the Memorial Site live”, said Paweł Sawicki.
On January 27, 2020 – both on the website as well as on Facebook – events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz are going to be broadcast.
Instagram page represents slightly different function, as it is used on one hand to promote valuable photographs performed at the Memorial Site by visitors, but also to educate, present the authenticity of post-camp space as well as to monitor how the visual memory of Auschwitz looks like.
"With all these virtual tools we are able to shape the memory, as the Memorial Sites tries to care about it not only within the authentic former camp site, but also through media or the Internet”, Paweł Sawicki remarked.