Twitter Logo Cornell University student Jack Dorsey created one of the newest social media tools in March 2006. It was a combination blog, text message and Facebook status. The term for it was micro-blogging and the name of the tool was Twitter. Users can view Twitter as a short, no more than 140 characters, message—or tweet that gets posted on their profile and on the home page of other users who may follow them (Twitter). The service can be private, but is intended for public use and view. The tool was created out of the idea of being able to know what friends were doing at any moment. The immediacy of the Internet had caught up with itself and people wanted something even faster. Twitter allows users to tweet as often and as frequent as a user may want. The messages are simple and short—the user is not distracted by videos or other embedded objects. Besides a possible link, the messages are mostly text.  Twitter As Mitchell stated in his essay, “Replacing Place”, the Internet is like a structured city that people can explore through (Lunenfeld 152). Twitter in this analogy is a road where the speed limit has been increased and there are no stoplights. In many ways, Twitter can be viewed as homage to Davis’ World’s First Collaborative Sentence. Rather than being a single open document that anyone could edit, Twitter is a specific open document for each individual user. The user can decide how to edit their sentence, or in this sense, streaming thought—whenever and however they want. The stipulation is not that the user cannot add a period, but rather that they cannot exceed 140 characters.Twitter Welcome Page

Because of Twitter’s relatively adolescent standing in the World Wide Web, artists are still exploring the uses and possibilities of the tool. In an article written on February 23, 2009, Ruth Jamieson of The Guardian wrote an articleabout Art on Twitter. She questioned whether the possibility of art existing in the parameter of 140 characters could exist. She was able to find the answer—yes. As a follower of an artist, a user could possibly help democratize an art piece, or even more simply, demystify the creative process. Jamieson was able to gather a list of some twartists (Twitter artists) and twart institutions (Twitter art institutions). Among those on her list include Yoko Ono who tweets a mini-performance about peace and optimism and An Xiao who uses Twitter as a “scrapbook” to capture and share thoughts because she believes that the 140 character limit imposes “a discipline of thought and economy of language that encourages sharp ideas” (Jamieson 1). The twart institutions include the Brooklyn Museum which hosts monthly twartworks commissioned to create Twitter-friendly art and The Tate, which uses Twitter to tweet about events and new web content (Jamieson 1).

 An artist who was not on the list, but has had some success as a twartist is Jan Leenders. Leenders is from Belgium and creates artwork based on tweets that he receives. The artworks are simple designs with the specific tweet imposed on the work. The pieces can be viewed as a form of devotion to Twitter and tweeting (Twit2Art). Twitter is still a very new tool and how it will evolve with modern artists is still unknown, but the foundation of it can still be seen in the desire of people wanting to communicate more and also in advancing what the Internet can do. 

Jan Leender's Art


~ by netart2web on 04/28/2009.

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