Social Web/Arts

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The Sciences and the Arts

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The social web also influences the sciences and the arts. We only mention a few interesting projects, although there are many, many more.


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Already in 1991, Paul Ginsparg [1] started It is an open access e-print library for physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance and statistics. Scientist submit their papers and read the papers of their peers.

The next step in the direction social web is Mendeley,[2] a free desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers, discovering research data and collaborating online.

Another platform (not only) for science is Wikipedia.[3] As you know it is a free, collaboratively edited and multilingual Internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. There are about 4 million articles, that have been written by volunteers around the world. Almost all of this articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site. However, these will be checked on correctness by experts. Actually Wikipedia has about 100,000 regularly active contributors and a variety of daily visitors. For more information you can explore Wikipedia's statistic site.[4]

Shared / Distributed Computing

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The basic idea is to use many desktop computers to replace super computers. To my knowledge it really became popular with Seti@home, the search for extraterrestrial life. Since they wouldn’t get any funding to do their data analysis on super computers (nobody wanted to spend taxpayers money for that) they came up with the idea of running the data analysis as a screensaver on peoples computers, while those are idle. Interesting enough it worked (well they haven’t found life yet), and so now there are many similar projects:

Although not really social, they are still interesting projects.

Human Computing

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In the above example, many little computers were doing the work of a super computer. Well, how about using the best super computer of the world, the human brain, to do calculations? Watch the following talk:


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Watch the first 10 minutes of Luis von Ahn’s talk on human computing at Google: Tell us what you think. If you like, watch the rest of the talk and write about it in your blog.


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"Crowdsourcing is a distributed problem-solving and production process that involves outsourcing tasks to a network of people, also known as the crowd".[5] An often quoted example is the Goldcorp Challenge. Goldcorp was a gold mining company that wasn’t doing so well. Their CEO (inspired by Linux and OpenSource) had the following idea:

"In 2000, Goldcorp abandoned the industry’s tradition of secrecy, making thousands of pages of complex geological data available online, and offering $575,000 in prize money to those who could successfully identify where on the Red Lake property the undiscovered veins of gold might lie. Retired geologists, graduate students and military officers around the world chipped in. They recommended 110 targets, half of which Goldcorp hadn’t previously identified. Four-fifths of them turned out to contain gold. Since then, the company’s value has rocketed from $100m to $9bn, and disaster has been averted." ([6])

More details on the story can be found, for instance, in.[7]

Naturally, the social web also inspires the arts. There are two funny and intriguing videos on TED:

  • Ze Frank’s nerdcore comedy:


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Crowd funding - as the name implies - the financing of a project, product or even a company with a large - often anonymous - amount of sponsors. The support of each sponsor can also be very small, but through the mass of supporters, a large sums of money will come together. Crowd funding occurs for any variety of purposes, from disaster relief to citizen journalism to artists seeking support from fans, to political campaigns, to funding a startup company, movie or small business or creating free software or to supporting art.

Examples of Crowdfunding:

Kickstarter [8] is a web site to fund art projects. As they say ’A new way to fund and follow creativity’. Through Kickstarter more than ten thousand people pledge several million dollars to fund projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields.

All-or-nothing funding?[9]

Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands. Why? -It's less risk for everyone. If you need $5,000, it's tough having $2,000 and a bunch of people expecting you to complete a $5,000 project. -It allows people to test concepts (or conditionally sell stuff) without risk. If you don't receive the support you want, you're not compelled to follow through. This is huge! -It motivates. If people want to see a project come to life, they're going to spread the word.

Why do people support projects?[9]

REWARDS! Project creators inspire people to open their wallets by offering smart, fun, and tangible rewards (products, benefits, and experiences). STORIES! Kickstarter projects are efforts by real people to do something they love, something fun, or at least something of note. These stories unfold through blog posts, pics, and videos as people bring their ideas to life. Take a peek around the site and see what we're talking about. Stories abound.

Also the game designer Tim Schafer asked for support funding to his fans.

Tim Schafer [10] is sometimes referred to Tim Burton, cause his games are quirky, funny, full of bizarre beauty - and they almost always flop. For his latest title "Double Fine Adventure" Schafer turned to crowd-funding website Kickstarter and his loyal fan base for help. His goal was to raise $400,000 and a modest number for a modern-day video game budget. The project was fully funded in just over 8 hours, it raised a record-breaking $1 million by the end of the first day. After all he got $3,336,371 [11]

The best-known German Crowdfunding platform is Startnext.[12] Since 2010 Startnext has distributed almost 600 000 Euro to projects, for example an album of medieval music, post-production for an art house film or for a special print of comic strip.

Art Community

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According to his own statement "Showcase your art to thousands of visitors every day". Artists can participate in this virtual gallery show, a spinoff of the famous Saatchi Gallery, their work to a worldwide audience and they can participate on competitions.

Devian Art[14]

Devian Art is the world's largest online art community, showing variety pieces of art from over 22 million registered artists and art appreciators. Everyone can set up a profile there, create galleries, build a fan base and make money selling his art in the devianART Shop.


CastYourArt has set a target to be a Rapporteur of contemporary art and culture scene. Artists, cultural workers posts audio and video in form of podcasts for an interested audience.


Wooloo is a nonprofit international platform, which aims to bring artists into contact with each other and promote the exchange among them. Artists of all media, as well as curators and interdisciplinary groups are invited to publish their works and projects at this platform. The presentations may take place in form of exhibitions, competitions and project ideas.


In this network are more than 25,000 artists represented, who upload their artwork and make friends with each other

Artbreak [12]

Artbreak is a global community for artists and art lovers. It's a place for artists to share their art, sell it commission-free, tell the world about themselves, get feedback, and make connections with buyers, fans and other artists. It's a place for art lovers to find incredible work from emerging artists from all over the world.

Becoming famous with social networks

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Nowadays to become famous, artists should represent themselves on social networks like Facebook, twitter and co. As well as being present, artists will need to create content of interest so that people have something to read or watch and enjoy. They should upload they works and also update their personal information constantly. If this information is not interesting, users will click to the next page and move on. People need to feel that the artist on his own - and not an anonymous webmaster - are personally available at least on a regular basis, if not daily. And once if an artist has built a fanbase, he should reward them for their time and dedication – run competitions, give away goodies like CD's, signed photos and posters, give them a chance to meet him. Here is a catalogue of the main social networks, that are important in this case:








-Devian Art


Examples of individual artists in social web

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Sebastian Bieniek[18]

In the book "Realfake" [19] the artist Sebastian Bieniek describes about his experiences with Facebook. He had built up over the last three years, an empire of fake profiles. Then he linked up the profiles to each other and became friends with Robert De Niro (for example) and connect him with other famous artist.

Within a short time, he communicated with thousands of people around the world and they became - without being aware of it - his fans too.

Ben Heine[20]

Ben Heine is a Belgian multidisciplinary visual artist. He became more widely known in 2011 for his original series "Pencil Vs Camera", "Digital Circlism" and "Flesh and Acrylic". He is present on nearly every social network named above. His homepage has links leading to other social network platforms. Even on Wikipedia exists an issue about him.[21] "How to become famous in social networks?". Bens engagement on social networds gives the answer about this question

Yaniv (Nev) Schulman[22] Yaniv (Nev) Schulman is a New Yorker photographer. He started also a film/photography production company with his brother Ariel. In 2010 they made together with their friend Henry Joost a film named „Catfish“.[23] It is a documetary film wich involves Nev, who is being filmed as he builds a romantic relationship with a young woman on the social networking website, Facebook. And the incredible ending of it.

Music Community - Soundcloud

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Over the last couple years, listening to music has changed completely. It all began with the first vinyl in 1888, going over to Cassettes and CDs which were likely used until 2000.[24] But as technology improved music started to get more flexible and independent which causes the music industry to react.[23] Nowadays no matter where you go, you’ll see people everywhere rushing around with their headphones on and listening to their favourite tunes. Music has become a daily attendant to us. Powered by the internet, we now have access to million of songs, in any time, in any place. And wether you are a true music lover or not, you surely have noticed that music brings people together. Circle of friends are defined through same preferences music is also a part of it. People are chatting about music, discussing, showing each other new tracks et cetera. So music always brings some sort of social aspect along and as implicated in the heading this article is about the world’s biggest social network for musicians bands, artists, djs, producers and music lovers - Soundcloud.

It all started in 2008 in Berlin when 2 music enthusiasts from Sweden decided to found an online music platform.[25] Soundcloud is one of the most successful startup businesses of Berlin. By now it has over 250 Million users and is growing constantly. Signing up is completely free, you’re not forced to pay anything except you need more storage for your own music or some special functions. It is ad-free so you have no distraction anywhere on the page that might derogate your listening adventure. You can not only listen to music from others but also can upload your own productions or recordings. So if you’re planning to start your own career as a musician soundcloud might be an easy and efficient way to share your sounds with a wide range of people who are interested in all kinds of music.

Once you have signed up you get your own Profile where you can manage your music. There are several kinds of things you can do on Soundcloud. You’re not only able to listen and share sounds but you can also start following people you exspecially like so you won’t miss anything they upload. And of course, people can also start following you which helps you to get a higher spread of your music and eventually become famous one day. All the music of the people you follow appears chronologically in a so-called stream right on your homescreen so you can easily scroll through the newest sounds.

Another great function of soundcloud is its connectivity to other social networks like Facebook or twitter and its API access which offers even more opportunities.[26] Sounds can simply be embedded on other sites in Facebook posts or tweets. Your soundcloud likes can be seen in your Facebook profile if you want to and your even able to share all your favourite sounds on your Facebook timeline directly via soundcloud. This can also help you to reach a higher amount of listeners.

To get more in touch with the community, soundcloud also offers the opportunity to comment on other peoples’ tracks right in time of the track itself or via private message. This can be very useful for improving your music skills, finding collaboration partners, getting compliments and advise, making friends finding new music or just chatting with other members.

So these are just some of the features soundcloud has to offer. There is much more to discover and the function volume gets wider and wider. It’s hard to compare soundcloud with other streaming platforms like spotify or napster because these are more for listeners rather than for creators. As a result of that less communication is taking place on these platforms and you are more on your own.

All summed up, soundcloud is a very helpful tool for music enthusiasts, no matter if you are dj, producer, artist, bandmember or just a music lover. You get access to a very talkative community, a great selection of all kinds of music from well known artists and unknown talents as well and a tool to start your very own music career. Music connects people – and that is what soundcloud does.

Further Information:


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Use the internet to find out more about Kickstarter and some of its successful projects, especially art projects. Tell us what you found in your blog. Look for a project you like, and spend 10 Euro on it (if you like).


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Ex.1: Crowdsourcing

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Read the Wikipedia article on crowdsourcing [5] and write about it in your blog.

Ex.2: Ben Shneiderman: Science 2.0

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Watch the inspiring talk ’Science 2.0: The Design Science of Collaboration’ by the distinguished Ben Shneiderman ( and tell us what he was talking about in your blog.


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  1. Paul Ginsparg,
  2. Mendeley,
  5. a b Crowdsourcing,
  6. Burkeman, O. (2007). The Wiki Way, para. 5,
  7. Gold Rush 2.0,
  8. Kickstarter,
  9. a b
  12. a b Invalid <ref> tag; name "r18" defined multiple times with different content
  23. a b Invalid <ref> tag; name "r23" defined multiple times with different content

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