Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Photography Collecting and Twitter

I've been pondering for quite a while now the relative strengths of the blog and Twitter formats. Given that our posts try to be rich in content and analysis regardless of their underlying topic, Twitter didn't initially seem to offer much that would be relevant to our efforts to engage in useful discussions about photography collecting; there just isn't enough room in 140 characters to dive into much depth or critical thinking.

But as the posts have piled up and this site has evolved, I've come around to thinking that Twitter can play an important role in broadening the reach of fine art photography. One of the dangers of a site like ours is that it gets too insular, that we end up talking mostly to ourselves and failing to get outside the bubble of insider thinking (and linking). One of the ongoing goals of our efforts here (one might call it a mission) is to grow the number of photography collectors actually out there and buying work; we want to encourage readers to become collectors. To do this, we need to reach more people who aren't already thinking of themselves as collectors, but have an intense or growing interest in photography; maybe they are contemporary art collectors who haven't yet bridged to photography, or maybe they are folks who have always wanted to buy a photograph, but haven't yet felt comfortable enough. While Google search and user to user recommendations have been excellent methods for introducing people to our blog, I think that Twitter might also be a viable alternative for giving a wider audience a glimpse of what goes on here.

Not all of our content can be boiled down to a pithy, one sentence remark, but after considering it carefully, a surprising amount of what we write can be delivered in a useful, condensed form. Museums and gallery reviews are where we have decided to begin, since they seem to be the most popular with the largest number of readers. Starting last week, we began to post a Twitter version of our reviews after the main blog post was published. The Twitter version has the artist's name and venue, the number of stars the show received (1, 2, or 3), a short description, comment, or summary, and a link to the main blog post for those who want more. That's it. (Given our use of the @ symbol as part of the titling convention for our blog posts, the first few tweets have some inadvertent random links; we're smarter now and have eliminated the @ in the titles.) These tweets are not auto generated somehow, but hand crafted by us to try and retain the feel of our voice. Hopefully, they capture the essence of the exhibit, while enticing readers to come over for a closer examination. Perhaps some galleries and museums may also find these tweets of use in communicating with their existing clients.

When auction season kicks back into full gear, summary auction results and top lots will also fit well into the Twitter format. For the moment, we've decided against summarizing our book reviews and longer magazine style opinion pieces and essays, as we just don't think they translate particularly well. That said, there may be other topics that we haven't found a good way to cover on the blog (note taking at openings or lectures, fair booths, etc.) that might work even better as tweets, so we may do some experimenting. We will not, however, ever force you to endure the minuscule details and random thoughts of our daily lives. We will only ever tweet about topics relevant to photography, art and collectors.

You can find our Twitter feed at Please follow us and share our tweets liberally, especially with those who might not already be active collectors.

By the way, we are currently following zero other Twitter feeds, entirely due to ignorance of where the quality really lies in the cacophony of voices. Please help us to find a small but carefully edited list of relevant feeds that are focused on photography, contemporary art and collecting, by adding your recommendations in the comments.


Anonymous said...

Is it 2008? ha.

You can and should import your RSS feed into Twitter. That's standard procedure these days because for many people Twitter is replacing RSS readers.

What I often see from people new to Twitter is that they try to force it to be exactly what they want instead of adapting to platform standards.

Believe it or not, the day to day random thoughts can add tons of value for your followers. It's not always about broadcasting information, sometimes it's about creating a dynamic personality for your brand...

Good luck!

Joe said...

You can use to automatically post your blog feed to Twitter and Facebook. Great way to reach folks who don't use a feedreader or read blogs very often, without any extra work.