October 21, 2011; Source: New York Times | Although social media can sometimes limit interactions outside of the cyber world, artists are using social networking to branch out, see new exhibits, and meet fellow art aficionados. Museums and arts organizations are also starting to use the Web and social media as an outlet to produce interactive exhibits and build relationships with visitors and supporters.

“We use Twitter not only to connect with one another, but to share what we feel brings value to a larger online arts community,” said Ms. Merlino, senior marketing manager at the Guggenheim Museum. It has enabled us to form both professional and personal relationships that has provided countless opportunities for learning and collaboration.”

Art professionals throughout the city keep up to date on creative new exhibits and lectures by following one another’s updates on Twitter and using the hashtag #artstech. Recent twitter conversations have resulted in groups attending a lecture on digitally “connected consumption” and visiting I.B.M. THINK Exhibit NYC, an interactive exhibition honoring I.B.M.’s 100th anniversary.

Meetup.com has also been introduced into the urban arts scene, and is bringing together large crowds of similar-minded audiences. Kathryn Fink claims that within just the last 30 days, around 1,000 visits to museums or art galleries were organized. There are dozens of possible arts-minded groups to join on Meetup—from New York Brainiacs to Culture Seekers, in London. Social media makes it possible to find hundreds of people with the same artistic interests, and take it one step further—have company while engaging in cultural pursuits.

Andreya Vivaldi, who organizes New York Brainiacs, spoke of the great success her Meetup group has had. The group has just under 3,000 members, who have organized over five hundred events in the past few years, including philosophy lectures, museum visits, dinners, and screenings at the New York Film Festival. Vivaldi exclaims, “Art is culture. Art is communication. It is about how you respond to it and it is important to be able to have a voice and a forum.”

Are social media sites like Meetup and Twitter encouraging more or less tangible interactions with art and art enthusiasts? The hope is that these social media initiatives will connect innovative artistic dialogues happening on the Web, and bring groups together to experience multiple art forms face to face.—Aine Creedon