Shouts and Murmurs: Even Connie Swaim is Twittering

twitterscreenshotIt would seem some people avoid opening the front door for fear of a customer walking in. It’s a bit of an overstatement, but not so far off the mark for those who shy away from social media. Like the telephone, email, snail mail and just chatting on a street corner, social media is simply a way to interact.

Writers for the trade papers of the antiques industry seem to rant regularly about the reasons not to use the internet, e-commerce and social media. Today I read “Getting Off the Information Highway” in Antique Week by Christie Garland. “So far I’ve avoided twittering,” she writes after remarking that even Connie Swaim, Manager Editor of AntiqueWeek, is twittering.

“Even Connie Swaim, huh,” I thought as I read. “Does that mean it’s really hit the mainstream?”

Garland says the point she’s trying to make here is that she’s “totally pro-technology.” So far,  it would be hard to conclude that point had been made, then comes the qualifier—“but only when it makes my life easier.” What’s not easy? It seems the complicator here is the expectation of having to twitter (she means tweet) and text within minutes of getting a message.

I think here there’s a clear misunderstanding of the technology. I have never felt any need to immediately reply to a tweet. When following someone on Twitter it’s like logging into a real-time feed of what’s on their mind. Indeed some of it, what’s for dinner, is trivial, but other fans of antiques will probably reveal a lot about what their interested in. As a dealer, you can’t buy that kind of information. And here’s a platform set up to make new friends, who then become customers, and continue to be friends.

I also imagine I actually see or reply to a fraction of the tweets that come through my account. They aren’t text messages aimed at me, merely a feed.

Sure, it’s something else to do. But so was email, so was the phone. Today’s world is about being connected and that’s not going away. Sure there are times you need to get away from it, but just imagine how many more people have gotten to experience say an Edison Cylinder Player because of YouTube, and how many more may soon discover that joy from a Twitter feed.

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage.

When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city.

With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s.

The result will be a book with a video component.

We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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