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Get Yer’ Art Conservation Daily Right Here!

It seems like a long time ago that I wrote a post here about how I was going to start using Twitter even though, like many at the time, I didn’t know what I was going to actually use it for.  This was back in September of 2008 when I wrote “The Twitter in My Mind,” and while this was only a couple of years ago, in Internet time 2008 seems like a long, long time ago.

While some important uses for Twitter have developed globally—especially around politics and sports—and many cultural institutions and art folks use it in interesting ways, Twitter still seems like an insider’s club.  Said another way, if you’re not using Twitter, you probably don’t have a use for it; in fact I think those that don’t use it generally get tired of hearing about it, and all the jargon that goes along with it.  After all, who could actually like the word “tweet” or want to work out a suitable past tense for that word.

But after more than two years, I think I’ve finally found a reason for folks interested in art conservation to use Twitter without, well, actually using Twitter.  Using the web-based application Paper.li, I’ve created Art Conservation Daily to summarize all the tweets about art conservation from the past 24 hours.  This online newspaper is auto-generated from my list of about 150 people that regularly tweet about art conservation.

So you can have a fresh copy of Art Conservation Daily delivered to your virtual doorstep every morning (e-mail inbox) by simply clicking on the “subscribe” button in the upper right.  Best of all you never have to so much as sniff a “tweet”.  While I don’t understand how the paper chooses the headlines or sections, overall it seems to do a good job of creating a timely and relevant newspaper. Take for example this weekend, when the Egyptian political system began crumbling, and museums became endangered; the best way to get the most current information about this situation was through Twitter.  Not surprisingly, the front page of Art Conservation Daily had a story about the situation.
As far as I can tell, there is no other place that you can get a daily summary of art conservation news on this scale. I really only have one market competitor: e-conservation daily, which is similar but its Twitter list is less than ½ the size and the content appears to be geared more generally to the cultural heritage field.  There are a few professional associations that operate general news blogs about art conservation (AIC and IIC, for example), and a few other conservators that write about conservation issues on their blogs, but none that give such a clear and timely snapshot of art conservation current events.

Although it seems unlikely that it will be putting the likes of The Art Newspaper or Art Daily out of business any time soon, Art Conservation Daily seems to be growing in popularity.  According to the counter at the top of the paper, it has had just under 2,500 viewers and a modest list of subscribers.

Also, there are some interesting features of this application: you can embed it in your own web page using the code at the top of the paper, you can see a streaming list of folks tweeting about art conservation inside the paper, and there’s a built-in archive so you can catch up on past editions.  Of course it’s paperless. The drawbacks? There aren’t many; it’s free, easy to use and maintain, but there are ads.  But what paper doesn’t have ads?  My only complaint is that I don’t get any of the ad revenue.

I’m always looking for interesting folks to add to my list to make the paper better, so if you know of any users that consistently talk about conservation or collections care, please let me know and I’ll add them. Who knows, they might make it in the paper.

Filed under: Around the Web, Art, Conservation

7 Responses to “Get Yer’ Art Conservation Daily Right Here!”

  • avatar
    Koven Says:

    Twitter is lame. This is dumb. Twitter is just people talking about what they had for breakfast. Why would I ever want to read that? I’m not even going to read your art conservation thing, because Twitter is so stupid. I can’t wait for Twitter to go away so we can get back to e-mailing like normal people.

    P.S., Twitter is lame.

    P.P.S., follow me at http://twitter.com/5easypieces

    Love,
    Koven

  • avatar

    Hi Richard,

    Nice Post! As you know I set up the e-conservation daily page. I thought it time for a quote from a newspaper baron of old…

    “Putting out a newspaper without promotion is like winking at a girl in the dark — well-intentioned, but ineffective.” (William Randolph Hearst)

    I agree with your assessment that the paper.li site allows conservators who wouldn’t otherwise use twitter to discover the information being shared therein, and to get a better grasp on what it is being used for. Based on a small amount of feedback I strongly suspect the vast majority of our subscribers don’t otherwise use twitter… most I suspect use facebook as their main/only social media site.

    A bit of background for you. When I set up the e-conservation daily, my aim was not for a more general heritage page, but to gather a more international approach and avoid the Americanisation of the tweet list. Although I think what happened is how you see the site, i.e., it failed in it’s aim, but seems to have succeeded in gaining an audience. Which I was – to be honest – somewhat surprised at.

    Why I think my aim failed:
    a) some of the people on the list use languages that paper.li doesn’t support.
    b) a lot of the people simply stopped tweeting (I consider them stopped if no tweets for 6 months or more).
    c) the Americans on the list, particularly those “social-media-heritage” types simply tweet a lot more than anyone else.

    It was always the intention to revisit this list, and it has and will certainly grow and develop over time. Ideally I’d like it to grow with more international conservators, and for paper.li to support their languages (I know they have several language build outs currently in the pipeline) but only time will tell on that one. But somehow I doubt it’ll ever reach the number of yours… how do you keep up with it?!

    It’s worth noting that there are also several museum/heritage based paper.li sites, so the popularity of these sites seems to be growing.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  • avatar

    Great to see Koven here reading the IMA Blog and offering some wisdom. :)

    And thanks, Daniel for the in-depth response. Of course I’m keeping an eye on e-conservation and will be interested to see how Paper.li evolves.

    Thanks,
    Richard

  • avatar
    Lindsey Says:

    Aha! I didn’t realize that you were the person behind the Art Conservation Daily. Or, rather, I didn’t realize that you worked at the IMA. What a pleasant surprise to find this on my blog reader, since I’ve been fortunate to provide some featured articles to your page through my @exhibitsmith feed.

    Best wishes and perhaps our paths will cross (in the real world) sometime soon.
    Best,
    Lindsey

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