Collective Intelligence: Social Networks for Artists

Social networks are a relatively new phenomenon, and we are using them in ways that fundamentally change the way we communcicate ideas. 

Ten years ago, conversation over the web was a much more linear process, and less an integrated one. Much like a telephone conversation, the only information being shared is from one to another. While people did have conversations with multiple people online, i.e. chatrooms, it was not the norm.

Now computer mediated communication through social networks is the main way we communicate. 

In today’s art world, a field thought to be less interactive than most, the importance on social networks online is skyrocketing.

Collective intellengece in the art world is creating very interesting conversations about the age old question ‘what is art’. Now more than ever, art exhibits music concerts, even theater productions encourage interactions such as tweeting and facebook posts. With the audience and the artists being so closely linked via social networks, a new way of communication in the art world has formed. 

“The culture sector has begun to make a shift from using social media with a purely marketing focus, to sharing the processes and insights. It’s a step in the right direction for community engagement” says Abhay Adhikari, an expert on digital spaces. He goes on to discuss how the sharing processes within the art world is limited to after the fact. People discuss shows and exhibitions after their cultivation. He suggests bringing other artists into the planning process itself through niche platforms.

A niche platform that uses community conversation to its benefit is, a site much like pintrest, but catering to severe art enthusiasts. 


On this website, you can ‘stack’ works of art to your own collection, share them with others and  look through the stacks of your favorite artists. 

So what is collective intelligence and what does it mean for the art world? Simply put, more heads are better than one. Social networks allow a free flowing sharing process between many individuals that allow a creative space to form to share ideas. 

Art inherently is about collaboration. Most art forms require more than one person, and the best comes from a collaboration with many people. Online artist platforms are proving to be lucrative in the ideas department. Since these websites apply to a niche audience, unlike twitter or facebook, there is less clutter about things that do not interest the user. 

Many websites, like Artbistro and Film Net, also work as a ‘dating site’ for collaborators. Upload a profile and make connections to work on a project. 

One of my favorite artists Austin Kleon, talks about ‘stealing like an artist’, which celebrates the idea of re imaging, collecting and collaborating with other artists. 

While he doesn’t directly address the digital element to this phenomenon of meta art, he does highlight the way in which an artwork is formed; from multiple perspectives of people and ideas. Social networks created a collective intelligence that an artist needs in order to make successful work. 

Adhikari, Abhay. Social media in the arts: creating engagement through chaos. The Guardian. October 2012.

Geeks, tweets and bums on seats. The Sydeny Morning Herald. July 2010. intelligence

Flew, Terry. New Media: an introduction. Oxford. 

Kleon, Austin.