How can we make better use of our time online, and use social media in a focused way to learn about and discover things that truly interest us? I touched on this question last month during a presentation to arts educators in the Arlington, Virginia public school system, and thought it might be useful to post some of my suggestions here. Read on for top tips for learning about art, or anything, online.
Do note that for every resource or app I mention, alternatives exist. Likewise, the museums and galleries referenced below are larger ones with the wherewithal to invest in educational content. Smaller venues hold treasures as well and should be explored. My plan will evolve over time, and yours should too. Here goes:
1. Choose your favorite online channels (social media)
Confused about the differences between social media channels? Here is a chart that summarizes how the audience differs between channels. And here is a handy guide to how create appropriate content for each channel.
2. Choose your favorite efficiency tools (apps)
Feedly is a content aggregator that you are able to customize with rss feeds. The result is a single screen that lists the headlines of every website you’ve added as soon as they are posted. Currently I have about 80 feeds programmed into Feedly; there is no way I would be able to scan the same information on a daily basis without this app.
What about articles that you read or see online that you’d like to consult later? If you are still compiling links in a draft email or downloading pdf’s in order to save articles, I recommend switching to Pocket. This app, by means of an icon in your browser bar, lets you save articles from anywhere online for future reference. Pocket is integrated with Feedly, which means that if you’d like to save an article that you read in Feedly you have the option within the Feedly app to save the article to Pocket.
Note that Feedly and its ilk all have a “save to read later” function built in, but I prefer to have everything saved to a single location for efficiency’s sake.
3. Choose your favorite resources
- The online real estate of museums and galleries, populated with original content produced or curated in-house.
- Note that museums have upped their online game lately and are now creating micro sites for bigger shows. Example: Italian Futurism show at the Guggenheim Museum.
- Newspapers and magazines (arts sections). Examples: New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Observer, Artnews.
- Remember, you can follow these sections in many ways. The Los Angeles Times arts section, Culture Monster, also maintains a robust Twitter presence.
- Hyperallergic and ArtFCity for broad critical coverage. Hyperallergic is an invaluable resource; if you only follow one arts site, make it this one.
- Creative Time and the Public Art Fund for art events outside the normal museum/gallery venues.
Individual journalists, bloggers & artists
- Pick your favorites and follow them on Twitter – it is one of the best online venues for starting conversations with interesting people you might like to know. Examples: @Lafeeculturelle blogs about contemporary art in London & Paris. @TylerGreenDC produces the weekly Modern Art Notes podcast. @AndrewRusseth writes about contemporary art and art history. @Hragv is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Hyperallergic.
- PR: Blue Medium, Nadine Johnson, @AndreaSchwan, Sutton PR
4. Put it all together, and check in regularly
Once you’ve populated your social media channel(s) and apps with resources, you need only check in regularly to stay in the know. Here’s what I do:
- Seasonal scan of “best of” guides for the arts. I put shows of interest on my calendar. Examples: Newspapers and regional magazines (ie: New York Magazine) all have Fall & Spring Previews
- Seasonal scan of museum & gallery sites for upcoming shows; these are also calendared.
- Daily scan of my Feedly account
- Daily scans of Twitter if/when I have a free minute
That’s it! It is so much easier to stay on top of things when the information comes straight to you, don’t you think?