Art Without Twitter

November 22, 2010

Well friends, this will be my last post for a couple of weeks. Forgive my absence, but I’m getting hitched on Saturday and then I’ll be away for another week and a half. Before I go, I wanted to share an interesting little discovery I have recently made. About six months ago, kicking and screaming and full of self-loathing, I created a Twitter account for this humble little blog. I believed Twitter was no different than Facebook, which I increasingly dislike, and resisted heartily. In the end, I gave in at the insistence of my dear friends from Inspired Taste that it truly is a great way of advertising a blog.

It has taken several months to really understand how to use Twitter and to grasp what makes it different from Facebook. But I assure you, there are major differences. For starters, I only follow one or two friends and celebrities. I really didn’t want my Twitter to be another Facebook, full of my boring status updates and other people’s mundane daily lives. Instead, I began following museums, artists, and art organizations. I started with just a few, but have gradually added more and more. To my astonishment, many of these same museums, artists, and art organizations began following me. And sometimes, shockingly, they followed me first.

As of this morning, I have achieved 50 followers, most of whom are involved in the art world. Flattering as this is, this growing interest in my blog, it is not the best part of Twitter. What is really impressive is how connected I have become to the happenings in the art world as a result of my Twitter page. ArtInfo.com, Art News, the Met, the Huffington Post, these sources have alerted me to so many current news stories which are both interesting and relevant to the courses I teach in art history.

In the last several weeks, there have been at least five instances where a story from my Twitter feed helped me with a discussion point in one of my classes. For example, I was teaching my students about Marina Abramovic, an artist I had already learned a fair bit about. Two days before my lecture, the Tate Museum’s feed shared a link to their recent artist talk with Abramovic. I only planned to watch a few minutes, and ended up sitting for the whole 89 minutes of it and thoroughly enjoying it. I was then able to share quite a bit of the artist talk with my class and add another dimension to our discussion.

Just this week, I was planning a discussion of museum architecture and Frank Gehry in my Art 150 course. And lo and behold, Philly.com shared several stories about Gehry’s proposal to expand the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This led to an exciting and extremely current conversation with my students, who were quite passionate about the possibility of change to such a major Philadelphia landmark.

What is amazing to me is how clearly I am seeing the art world adapting itself to new methods of reaching out. It is creating a tangible way of making the often closed-off art world more accessible to everyone. Not that I and others couldn’t or wouldn’t be as well-informed without Twitter, but I have become so thankful for this instant connection. It is a personal news feed of stories which are relevant and interesting to my chosen profession. In the end, Twitter, used appropriately, majorly suits the very idea behind this blog. I want art to be accessible and open for discussion, which is exactly how it appears through Twitter. Thanks to those organizations who are sharing their goings on with me and helping me feel more involved and informed. Below are just a few of the great stories I have found recently!

New Zealand Museum Bans Pregnant Women – ArtInfo
Secrets of Art Appreciation – Art:21
Picture Rights for Art History Books – College Art Association

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Joanne November 22, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Twitter really is such a useful tool when used correctly. We only use it to become more involved in our community (food), but it is certainly exciting to know that other communities are able to benefit as well!

P.S. Congratulations on getting married, that is one lucky guy!

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