On August 14 Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone announced the creation of a new social media platform called “Medium.” This site, a bit like Twitter and a bit like Pinterest, allows users to create, rank, and share collections. Could this be the next big thing for online art marketing?
Twitter has taken the world by storm allowing users to express all sorts of opinions in 140 characters or less, and many artists, museums, galleries, and writers have used the platform to promote their work. While of course it’s possible to be one of Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga’s millions of followers, it is equally possible to follow Jenny Holzer, Ai WeiWei, or even Alan Measles, Grayson Perry’s teddy bear.
Co-creator Evan Williams states in Medium’s first article: “we’re re-imagining publishing in an attempt to make an evolutionary leap, based on everything we’ve learned in the last 13 years and the needs of today’s world.” Obvious Corporation, the San Francisco-based company of the tech duo, has been forward-thinking since the early days of the internet. From introducing Blogger in 1999 to Twitter, Medium could be the next generation of online interaction. Medium was created with the primary goal of connecting and collecting across the Internet, harking back to the principle of the ‘world wide web’. The information available online is absolutely overwhelming and the quality of material spans the entire spectrum, so Medium is designed to collate articles, images, etc. and allow the best, as determined by users, to be the most accessible.
If, as the proverbial “they” say, a picture is worth a thousand words, each entry on Medium is approximately 7.14 tweets. Users can upload their own pictures to established categories or create unique lists to be shared. The sample collection titles given include, “Look What I’ve Made,” “Been There. Loved That,” and “The Obvious Collection.” Each collection is displayed in a grid pattern organised by a hierarchy determined by user ratings. The currently available collections feature undoubtedly cheesy, Windows-screen-saver-esque images of the Golden Gate Bridge and the canals of Venice, which don’t necessarily highlight the sophisticated potential of the site.
The site allows anyone to become a curator. As it is still in its initial stages, only a select few have the ability to post collections on the site, in the near future, the possibilities are enormous. Artists can create online galleries with viewer feedback, artist statements, exhibition promotions, and countless other bits of media. Art enthusiasts can create collections of work they’ve seen and galleries can have collections of past exhibitions.
It will almost certainly be best to jump on the bandwagon quickly because those posts voted as best early on will remain at the top and receive more viewership as content is continually added. Though a still relatively young project, I predict that the image-driven aesthetic and user-generated content will be key in future marketing endeavours, particularly in the art world. Beyond the financial reality of marketing, the ability to share ideas and creations in a new platform is an exciting prospect where the public can take an active role in determining what is, or will become, popular in the art world.
Words: Emily Sack © ArtLyst 2012