When Send Me SFMOMA made its official debut in mid-June, we hoped to receive 100,000 queries by the end of the summer. We felt that would give us enough data to meaningfully analyze the text service’s use, and help us understand the gaps between how we tag our collection and how our audience would like to explore it. By the end of July, however, we had received over 3.7 million text requests. Needless to say, Send Me SFMOMA has far exceeded our expectations.
Though it was designed to make SFMOMA’s collection more accessible, there are still limits to the service’s reach. For example, the five-digit phone number (572-51) we used to ensure the service wouldn’t be rate limited or blacklisted is not available to all carriers, nor is it available outside of the U.S.
After Send Me SFMOMA went viral in July, appearing in news outlets around the world, the interest in making the service available to international audiences was resounding. SFMOMA’s tweet about an international rollout is the most popular in the museum’s history. As interest mounted, our thinking turned to the broader philosophy that guided the project’s inception. As an exercise in transparency meant to engender discussion about SFMOMA’s collection, this project has clearly succeeded. How, then, would making Send Me SFMOMA internationally available enhance the spirit of the project? This line of thinking led us to two conclusions.