Social networking technology is vastly changing the face and nature of the web, and how individuals use it. Massively popular user-driven sites like MySpace or Flickr or YouTube enable users to share their voice and vision with a wider world — in photos, in videos, in text, in network connections, in playlists of favorite music.
Now, sites like Dandelife are adding the variable of time to the mix, allowing users to build a graphic timeline of their life, complete with essential events and stories from birth to school to love to travel to loss. The site even allows users to connect their timeline to their Flickr and YouTube accounts, attaching their narratives to media they posted elsewhere.
Like other social networking sites, Dandelife allows and encourages connections between users — allowing any user to add any other user as friend or family or fan, and encouraging building or reflecting on other peoples’ stories through simple buttons and links.
The arts have always been a place where communities tell collective stories, connect to the stories among them, or explore the stories of distant worlds — in paint, in music, in dialogue, in movement, in three-dimensional form. It will be fascinating to watch what happens to that trusted and honored role as individuals gain greater power to create and connect their stories on their own.
NOTE: For a flavor of how these technologies might work more specifically in the arts, take a look at The Saatchi Gallery’s new on-line homebase/networking site for art students, or the nascient performing arts review hub, AudienceBuzz.com.