Social Media/Meaning in Exhibitions
Capturing related keywords and associated Tweets of the Twitter community, TweetCaption is a real-time visualization of the global and social context of specific art pieces/ museum installations. It allows visitors to draw parallels between the exhibition piece and underlying discussions of the context the piece is dealing with. While traditional captions provide curated and authoritative explanation and interpretation for museum pieces, TweetCaption opens up the possibility to set exhibits in an on-going context of public understanding, connotations and current developments.
“…real-time, networked digital technologies as awareness systems that offer diverse means to collect, communicate, share and display news and information in the periphery of a user's awareness.” (Journal of Media and Culture)
The Internet and new media technologies in general keep gaining importance in recent years, increasingly establishing themselves in our everyday routines, shaping the perception of our environment. Twitter usage and participation has by now been adopted by a diverse and important group of users: politicians, celebrities, journalists, businessmen, young and old.
“Tweets are the new quotes.” (Twitter)
Recent political developments (e.g. revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt) and the news about them have shown the general importance of social media: Twitter and Facebook messages also get increasingly cited in offline media, showing a personal view of people involved and being a real-time document of important events. These are all qualities that could also be of importance in an exhibition setting.
Illustration from the Smithsonian Web and New Media Strategy
New media right now are mainly used in ways to help museum authorities getting and using a more accurate and up-to-date infrastructure that subserve their work for the exhibition. Strategies to fully integrate and explore social and new media in all their possible potentials are still missing. It involves institutions to take some risks, for the potential sake of leading to richer content and deeper personal experiences.
The point we want to make here, is that including current (internet) technologies e.g. in the form of social media allows including social understanding, global influences and personal reflections within exhibitions. Used technologies are not new per se, but are set into a new context of perception and participation.
Tweetcaption enables users to leave their opinions and museum authorities to get a better understanding of their visitors reactions when having a closer look at their comments .
As the hashtag associated to the piece and the respective museum can be individually defined, not only can museum staff filter relevant messages, but the hashtag can also function as publicity and multiplier among peer twitter users.
In collaboration with Jona Hoier.