The idea of social media art is fascinating, especially since the different social media platforms change or mandate the artist’s intention. The biggest difference between Twitter and Tumblr (the two most popular platforms for artists) is that Twitter is word based whereas Tumblr is image based. Yes, I know, you can share images on Twitter, and you could write books on Tumblr, but neither would be using the medium to it’s best ability. Twitter has more specific rules for the platform, a user only has 140 characters, an image and a location allowed per Tweet. Most Twitter customization applies only to the actual platform, the background image of the account and the profile picture, Twitter artwork is mostly characterized by a creativity with this type of constraint. Twitter is often also used by emerging artists for branding and self-promotion, but how does this affect art? Promotion in a strict sense is not art, but ever since artists like Andy Warhol, it has become an assumed part of a contemporary artist’s life.
Twitter art also brings about the discussion of transferring Internet fame into ‘real world’ success – what does it mean for an artist to be on the Internet? Can the physical presence of the artist transfer to Twitter? How do hashtags play into art? On the other spectrum of this discussion are the works that scrape Twitter for content to create art. This means that the artist acts as a programmer to create a work that scours Twitter for specific information and puts the data into an artwork. Will this form of data visualization and data appropriation become more popular as artists begin to use programming over painting? There are lots of ways Twitter can be used by artists and as art, but the bottom line is that Twitter is hard on traditional artist practices since the platform is controlled by Twitter, a giant corporation, and is not a public space. The legality of the space is being hotly contested. Artists interested in using the internet as a space to create and engage with work must consider which platform works best for the work, or create their own. As more of us spend more of our time online, the field of social media art will only grow more complex and fascinating…..
Read the rest of the conversation tomorrow on Hyperallergic where the article will appear in full.
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