Sunday, April 26, 2009

Project II: Co-Modify - May 3-9

Blank Billboard
Photo by mediaboytodd on Flickr

I've been thinking a good deal about the ubiquity of advertising on the Internet, but also the uniqueness of this particular type of advertising. The way it grabs from the context of your social life and presents messages catered to your likely lifestyle and interests. In marketing, there's this notion of finding that segment of one, i.e., catering to the individual, rather than broad groups. It's more of a theoretical ideal, like the horizon or the perfect circle.

And yet, embedded, contextual advertising is bringing us closer to that reality. All the data about ourselves that we upload to Facebook and blogs, everything we type about ourselves in Gmail, the little quips and jokes and flirtations and family photos and comments between friends--all these little lifestreams can be aggregated into a picture of who we are and, importantly, what we might spend money on.

These new directions in targeted, embedded, contextual advertising represent a striking new direction in Internet marketing but also in the way we live and experience the world.

Times Square Looking Uptown
Photo by Stuck in Customs on Flickr

Project II: Co-Modify
In this vein, are excited to announce Project II: Co-Modify. Project II will be a commentary on and exploration of the commodification of social media and, by extension, the commodification of our social lives in general. As with Project I, this will be a statusing (online happening), a free-form public art performance that anyone is welcome to join. However, this time around, we want to span multiple social media streams, including but not limited to Twitter and Facebook.

The performance will be the week of May 3-9. We’re asking our performers to use any or all of their social media networks to enact a fictional "sponsorship" by a company. For instance, I personally plan to be sponsored by Pepsi, and my profile picture on Facebook for the week will be me drinking a can of Pepsi. Every now and then, I'll post a status update like "An is sitting in Central Park and drinking some Pepsi Zero."

Not every post, of course, will be sponsored, but, as with celebrity endorsements, our sponsored actions will be embedded seamlessly with our regular activities. The idea is that, via a collective online performance, we'll be enacting a world where everything we do has monetization value and a world where, more and more, marketing and advertising have become part and parcel with our daily lives.

Pepsi - It brings color to life
Photo by tojosan on Flickr

How to Participate
Interested? Anyone, artists and non-artists alike, can join. Here’s how:

1. Pick a brand or megacorporation.

2. In the comments section of this post, post the following:
* Name (first name or pseudonym is fine)
* The company you've chosen (sign up quick for first dibs!)
* The social media account (or accounts) you'll be using (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, blogs, etc.). Select at least one, but feel free to use all of your accounts.

If you run into an error in commenting, feel free to send an @reply directly to @Platea on Twitter with your info, and we'll post it here.
3. Follow @Platea on Twitter and/or join the @Platea Facebook group. We'll be posting thoughts and ideas for inspiration in preparation for the week. Feel free to share your own, and we'll retweet or repost them.

4. Add the members of our Steering Committee. We’ll be documenting and writing up the goings-on throughout the week, so you’ll want to be sure we can see your performance in action. We are @eroldan, @innym, @jenniferwyng, @joanie_s_c and @printgirl08.

5. By Friday, May 1, we’ll be posting a running list of who’s performing and where. Be sure to sign up by Thursday evening to ensure you’re on this list! However, don’t sweat it if you miss the date: we can always add you in afterward.

6. On May 3, start performing! You can “embed” your advertising as much or as little as you like. It could be one post, it could be many. Your entire Facebook profile could read like an advertisement. It’s up to you and what you imagine the level of sponsorship your company has asked you to participate in.

7. Keep checking back to this blog throughout the week of May 3-9. Our Steering Committee will be posting updates each day with goings-on and documentation of performances. Feel free to take your own screenshots and post them to our Flickr group for possible inclusion in a future blog post.

Questions? Ideas? Thoughts? Send an @reply to @Platea on Twitter or leave a comment here.

Tiger Woods in the Hole
Photo by ATIS547 on Flickr

Recent Press

As with any Internet start-up, we at @Platea have relied on the generosity of others more established in the online art world to spread the word about our collective and about our upcoming performances. We are grateful to the following blogs for reviewing our work, mentioning us in their posts and just generally promoting our collective online.

In a world of short attention spans and quick-to-fade buzz, we are incredibly grateful. The following list also appears on the right column, a new "recent press" section.
Bad at Sports
Twit Twat Twut, The Art of Twitter

Hrag Vartanian
Two Tweeters & a Tweety Bird

smArts & Culture
When Art is Viral

New Curator
@Platea Project 1: The Great Yawn

Tomorrow Museum
@Platea “Stweet Art"
We also want to share out a big thank you to all those who helped promote @Platea with their Twitter accounts, via #followfriday mentions, RT's and just general promotion about our work. We've received too much support to list out here but would be remiss in failing to acknowledge your critical role in helping make the Great Yawn a success.

If you mentioned our work in your blog and we've not listed it here, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or send us a message via Twitter.