Friday, January 07, 2011
Let's talk about media.New Media v. Social Media
NEW MEDIA: let's consider new media to cover websites, blogs, any respected digital space or feature, really--an app, a video stream, a podcast. This media will, for at least the next 50 years, probably still be known as "new media" because it took practically as long to be adopted by the arts community as mainstream. This is an industry that is at once forward-thinking and technologically challenged (Flintstones-style). Kudos to those working with new media!! Below I am listing examples of new media that should serve as reasons for why this is so super important for the art world:
Art Fag City (blog): Why? Because it's humorous and critical. And it's on top of the lowest of the Lower East Side. How else would we get daily updates on the goings on of the emerging art scene? Blogs are updated with far greater ease than websites. How else can international art news be spread efficiently and cheaply? Thank goodness for the web-log!
Walker Art Museum (cell phone audio tours): Why? It's certainly easier to use your phone for an audio tour than to wait in line to check out an audioguide. It seems like a big money saver for the institution as well. And what could possibly make an exhibition more engaging, more informative, more exciting than hearing about the works from the curator (or sometimes even that artis!)? As Martha Stewart would say, "It's a good thing."
The Exhibitionist (iPhone app): Why? Because it will significantly cut down on your paper usage: no more printing out maps to plan your gallery-hopping routes. This will be one of those tools where a year from now I will wonder how I ever managed without it. Aside from listings and reviews, this helpful application maps out your route, which you can then share with your friends.
SOCIAL MEDIA: This is something I consider to include social networking, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare, ASmallWorld, etc. I categorized blogs as being outside social media because at least a few of them are recognized art world authorities. But then of course there are the hundreds if not thousands of hobby-bloggers who provide a great deal of content and interesting (outsider?) criticism to the art world. Aside from these bloggers, I'm not sure that social media provides as much of a lasting significance as new media does. Other than increasing viewership and visibility, Arianna Huffington suggests that sometimes connecting is just for connecting-sake. And that doesn't really make much of an impact when it comes to art.
MoMA's Facebook page: It provides the same visitor info you find on the museum’s main website (opening hours, exhibitions, etc.) The Twitter feed proudly announces news of great importance such as, “We’re open until 8pm tonight with DJ Andrew Kuo, bar & $28 prix fixe dinner) The YouTube tab must be filled with all sorts of goodies because it was taking so long to load that I eventually gave up. But the fact that 621,583 “People Like This” is hard to ignore. That number will surely be higher by the time you, reader, are reading this. It’s, um, well liked. People know what MoMA is. This Facebook page seems to share with the viewer that MoMA is something that is KNOWN and if you don’t already know it, you probably should. I don’t know if this type of page serves MoMA as much as it serves Facebook users. I’m sure it’s fine for MoMA to add yet another fan to it’s list of thousands, but John Doe gets to show off to his friends that he’s a fan of MoMA, and is therefore a pretty cool, cultured guy...who’s benefiting more here? And is this benefit in any way furthering the museum’s mission? Me thinks not.