The rise of Art blogs

This week I have been given the privilege of speaking to students in a Fine Arts class taught by MIAD’s Fahimeh Vahdat. A podcast of the lecture will be available and I’m looking forward to again focusing my guest lecture Thursday morning on blogging for Artists.  Podcasting is the distribution of rich media content (mostly audio) but with video iPods look for more video content to arrive soon.

Blogs are an important communication tool for Artists to share their voice and their work with the world. Today blogging is more robust than it was just one year ago. It is a more powerful tool for the Art world to embrace.

The world has changed quite dramatically since 2000, hilighted by Tom Friedman‘s 10 rules for a globalized 3.0 world. If Artists are embracing blogging for the first time in 2006, recognize that blogs has grown more powerful within the last year alone. Blogs have matured to capture the power of RSS feeds, tagging and podcasting. These are very important for Artists to understand and use in their everyday communication. More and more photo blogs, vlogs(video blogs) and podcasts are arriving day by day on the internet.

So how is the world structured today and how does it impact the distribution of Art?
High speed internet access makes citizens in China, India or Russia is just three seconds away from an Art blog…which has already changed the scope of Art exhibitions. The browser window has replace the frame.

Many new faces in the Art community have grown tired of receiving postcards or emails announcing exhibits. Paying postage and crossing fingers that “feet from the street” drop by your gallery is the old approach. To reach new faces interested in Art you have to meet them in their comfort zone…the blogosphere. Their world is digital and way beyond email. This not only includes

Blogs also have pre-built templates and designs, which is great for Artists struggling to massage html like this code:
html
–Instead WordPress and Blogger supply a number of design options that allow Artists to focus on their work and begin writing and posting content.

Establishing Art blogs moves beyond postcards and prayers, it moves Artists into the Web2.0 world based upon sharing. Today blogging has exploded into Web2.0 with tagging and feeds, so writing a post is not enough anymore. Your blog needs to be “circulated” to gain more exposure with smart tools like Technorati, Del.icio.us, NetNewWire and Feedburner helping your voice be heard by more people searching for Art.

Its your world, you can change it.
Additional links from our discussion: OurMedia.org, Archive.org and YouTube

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The State of the Blogosphere

Technorati’s David Sifry has released his second report on the explosive growth of the blogosphere. The numbers remind me of how Mosiac kicked off the web.

Among the findings in the latest Technorati report:

  • Technorati tracks over 27.2 million blogs
  • Technorati tracks over 50,000 posts per hour
  • Bloggers post 400,000 tags per day
  • The Blogosphere doubles in size every 5 months
  • New blogs are created every second of every day (24/7/365)

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Technology Literacy

Some US high schools are beginning Technology Literacy testing to measure student communication skills using computers and digital devices. The American Library Association has defined the process:

“To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information…”

Testing is to be conducted by the nonprofit Educational Testing Service which designs and implements the SAT. A short demonstration of the test (Flash required) is available. Core components measure the following student abilities: Define, Access, Manage, Integrate, Evaluate, Create and Communicate.

This will prove difficult because we are already living in a world of information overload. As the internet provides resources (webpages, wikis and blogs) accurate and accessible communication has placed our wired society in a unique learning environment. Its changing faster than any testing service can study and implement. Two such examples:

Wikipedia vs. Britannica
This debate began when the journal Nature tested the accuracy of articles posted to both online sites. The results: both had accurate and misleading information. Credibility for Wikipedia, the new grassroots “everybody” contributes for free solution and some embarrassment for Britannica. Nature’s results had two additional outcomes. Global citizens seem to accept data that contributed by anyone around the world for free. And Britannica has damaged its ability to transfer their reputation from analog books to digital pages. Although Wikipedia proved you can literally write your own encyclopedia articles, they are not without controversial topics – edited daily by the expression of political opinion rather than fact.

Slashdot and Digg
Both sites are examples of how speed impacts not only popularity but also the process of rapid updating. Digg’s immense popularity has frustrated contributors and readers alike. When your page is listed at Digg (known as the “Digg effect”) monthly bandwidth quotas are quickly overrun, temporality shutting down access to the data. Most sites caught in this overrun are not back online until the “Digg effect” trails off. In tech circles the Digg effect is a point of pride but ultimately access data is denied.

Issues also impacting testing: an unequal playing field. High schools cannot provided every student access to equal technology and literacy instruction. My classroom experiences (as a professional) in Toledo, Detroit, Chicago and Milwaukee may not only prove unfair tests, but funding to pay for administering tests in large metropolitan school districts is not easily available. An important non-issue: student expectations to score well when their own teachers are not technology literate.

The Torino Winter Olympics open this week. Today competition for jobs is just as fierce (and global) as your favorite Olympic event. Not only is it uneasy to see no American students on the medal platform, its alarming they don’t even qualify for the finals in math and science.

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Nikon and Nokia

Nikon announced it will actually stop manufacturing most 35mm SLR bodies. Moving forward the company will concentrate on building digital cameras and accessories.

In the UK alone 95% of their business is digital.  Which makes the statement of Nokia being the largest supplier of cameras no surprise…Nokia builds camers into most of their phones.  This should be a trend of where the image capture market is moving towards for consumers.

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