FROM TC: A hat tip to the invaluable ArtsJournal.com for pointing out these recent articles:
Commentary: Social media is changing relationships between artists and public
sculptor Eyal Gever, BBC News entertainment and the arts blog, 10/4/12
Artists use social media as a powerful tool to change the relationship between collectors and the public, effectively spotting people looking for specific artworks. Possibly, the traditional art market -- collectors, gallery owners, critics, curators and even other artists -- may question whether the artist who uses the web for promotion is a true professional. But whatever the reaction may be, the change is already happening, and it is too important. The art market will grow on it and get used to it -- it always does. Throughout history and up until very recently, mostly the elite participated in the development and creation of art, while the rest of the society was left to enjoy viewing masterpieces. The public was merely a passive observer. Today, in our connected world, almost everyone creates. Almost everyone participates. With the internet and new technologies of fabrication, remixing, editing, manipulating and distributing, it is becoming easier to create things -- and share them with the world. What is changing and probably -- arguably -- for the worse is that it is now easier to create "art", and we see a lot of "bad" art being created and exposed. A huge concern is that, as a result of so many new tools and techniques, we may lose our sense and ability to evaluate what is great art. But still, the boundaries are limitless. Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of the Serpentine Gallery, once said: "I don't think we can predict nor prescribe the future of art. It is the famous 'etonnez-moi' ['astonish me'] of Diaghilev and Cocteau'-- great art always surprises us, takes us where we expect it least."
Commentary: Are artists using social media, or is social media using artists?
Sarah Nicole Prickett, The Globe and Mail (Canada), 10/5/12
"Is this for print? Or online only?" As a new-millennium journalist in old media, I'm running out of unsarcastic ways to answer publicists. Online is the opposite of only: Its limits almost do not exist. Still, I know publicists aren't thinking quantitatively. Generally, the public assumes what is printed is of better quality, or is just better, or realer, than what's floating in cyberspace for free. This goes for writers, rappers, painters, anybody who makes the culture. Progressive observers are concerned with the commodification of self via social media and "microfame." Whether micro or macro, the trade-off for fame is privacy, and -- particularly in the case of Facebook -- we're sacrificing wider and wider swaths of it for (usually, relatively) narrow public recognition. [So] who's capitalizing? The social networks, mostly: They call us "users" so we will not suspect we're being used. Hollywood created stars to sell movies. YouTube creates stars to sell ads. What has changed is who can be a star, and how. "We are in a moment of Artists Without Art," proclaimed DIS, the least definable of New York's zillion and a half culture mags. "We live in a time when young artists look at each other's Facebook pages more than each other's art." If that's true, it will soon be true that Facebook pages are the art. [B]ut Facebook owns everything you author there to a degree that renders authorship almost meaningless. For artists, especially, the only way to not be used by the Internet is either to not use it, which is ridiculous, or to make something out of it. Later, you can worry about what it makes you.
How artists and others are using Google+ to connect to audiences
Andy Meek, FastCompany.com, 10/5/12
[The social network] Google+ recently crossed the 100 million active users mark, although some have questioned just how engaged those users are. But among avowed users, there's an almost cult-like evangelism. Facebook's stated goal is to make the world more open and connected. "Our goal," [Google's SVP for engineering, Vic] Gundotra says, "is to make the world intimate and much smaller." One of the more compelling stories of Google+ is the way its Hangout chat sessions have knit together celebrities, politicians, artists, [and] ordinary users in face-to-face encounters. Hangouts got a big stamp of approval earlier this year, when both President Obama and Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan hosted hangouts for voters. The New York Public Library in September held its first-ever Google+ hangout book club focused on [the] hit thriller Gone Girl. Christina Trapolino, social media manager for the fast-casual chain Jason's Deli and a strong Google+ advocate, said: "My belief in the power of Google+ isn't about the technology -- it's about the people using it. In little more than a year, I have watched artists...and countless others build robust communities around their interests....We see people performing concerts for free that reach thousands of people from the international community. People are creating art, music... and thoughtfully discussing issues in ways only previously seen on isolated forums and niche newsgroup communities across the web."
Related: How does a musician 'sign' a download? (Answer: Google+.)
Robert Andrews, PaidContent.org, 10/7/12
Singer Ellie Goulding [held] "the world's first digital album signing" to promote her latest release, Halcyon -- the latest high-profile celebrity chat facilitated by [the] increasingly media-savvy Google+ Hangout team. That, of course, is an anachronism. A digital album can no more be "signed" than thin air be coloured green. But album sales are plummeting, displaced by the success of digital track download stores. For artists who still attach importance to the album, could "signing" digital content draw fans to buy the whole digital collection, not just individual favoured tracks? That remains to be seen from Monday's event, when meeting Goulding in a video chat [was] likely the bigger draw. The takeaway is this - buyers value an experiential piece of the creator.
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10,000 people leave social media behind at National Storytelling Festival
Missy Shelton, NPR Weekend Edition, 10/7/12
Nearly 10,000 people gathered [last] weekend for the National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee to hear professional tellers weave some good yarns. Sure, you can get the gist of what happened from a reporter's pithy tweet or you can LOL at your friend's Facebook status update, but getting stories through social media just isn't the same as hearing professional storytellers. People from all over the U.S. [have come] to Jonesborough...to hear poignant tales. It's why Theresa Bellamy brought her friend Cassie to the festival for the first time 13 years ago, shortly after Cassie was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. Theresa says she and her friend take away something very important from the festival: "You take away hope, that there is joy in the world and there are happy endings, along with all the tears. You know, there's just a joyous feeling of hope and that you're not alone." Indeed, it's hard to feel alone when you're sitting practically hip-to-hip under a tent, listening to stories that reveal truths and new perspectives. Storyteller Lyn Ford says it's a way to build connections between people: "When we know one another's stories we realize how much we're alike, even though we are different and unique people. And so, story in the oral tradition can build community. And that's something that we need." Need enough to turn off our smartphones for a few hours, after posting on Facebook that we're getting ready to turn off our phone and hear some tall tales.