Jim Richardson, writing in The Art Newspaper, warns galleries and museums of the change that is inevitably coming to the art world. In and editorial “Facebook is more than a fad” he writes:
Social networks and blogs are the fastest growing online activities, according to a report published in March by research firm Nielsen Online. Almost 10% of all time spent on the internet is spent on these types of sites, which Nielsen describes as “member communities”, and they are visited by more than two-thirds of the world’s online users.
This has not gone unnoticed by museums and galleries, with many creating some kind of presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. But because this has primarily been done as a marketing tool, institutions are missing a far greater opportunity. By treading gently into the second generation of web development and design, known as Web 2.0, museums risk achieving little, and are effectively paying mere lip service to online social engagement. If they were to make a proper commitment to the enterprise, they could transform their relationship with audiences, change people’s perceptions of them and vastly expand the reach of their collections.
The Nielsen research shows that a major factor in the success of social networks is that they allow people to select and share content.
How will what Clay Shirkey called “mass amateurization” penetrate the art world? Lawrence Lessig writes of the change from a Read Only culture to a Read/Write culture. Now, with intitiatives like Creative Spaces, amateurs are not Read Only any more. They can curate too. How are art institutions going to handle the idea that their authority is no longer a given?