Artists are often the ones who are able to express and experiment with the Zeitgeist as it unfolds – at least compared to the rather rigid world of academic publishing. I therefore turn to the arts for inspirations and explorations within my own field of research. There are many cool art projects out there that try to experiment with the implications and meaning of social media. Some projects experiment with the very essence of web 2.0 discourse – with user-generated content and participatory culture – such as @platea. Platea, i s a global collective of individuals interested in the power of public art carried out in the digital megacity of social media. Founded by the New York based artists An Xiao, Platea experiments with collective performances using social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
One of their projects that I find particularly intriguing was the Dive in which they experimentet with the fact that status updates tend to move downstream on people’s newsfeeds and eventually disappearing all together. “If it’s a busy day and you have a lot of friends, these updates slide down quickly. If it’s a slow day, they get there eventually. Imagine a picture of yourself diving through this space, gradually making your way down your friends’ news feeds.”
Speaking about creative explorations with social media and status updates, another interesting project that I came across is the recently Turbulence commissioned net art work Status Grabber by Liz Filardi. A representative of the social networking service status grabber calls strangers to request very short “status updates”. This analogue service mimics the social activity of users on Facebook andTwitter, where users stay connected without directly interacting. Status Grabber is part of a project called I’m Not Stalking You; I’m Socializing, an exploration of how social networking changes the ways in which we relate to one another and enrich our lives.