Back in January I carried out an experiment looking at people’s friendships with each other within a certain Facebook group. I did not tell the group I was studying them until afterwards.The stalking I did over a four day period showed how everyone was connected and who they knew. It was a bit like the six degrees of separation theory and with Facebook it is easy to see how the connections between people are formed. The painting I created ended up as a web showing these friendships. You can see the result here.
Fast forward a few months and I’m at it again. The group itself is concerned with linking artists together to create new artwork so this time I examined how willing people are to connect to each other and their level of involvement in any conversation.
My new set of rules for the art were as follows:
1. Dates were for a six day period from 25th – 30th March inclusive.
2. All conversations within the group during these dates were recorded.
3. The names of people who clicked ‘like’ on a conversation were recorded.
4. The names of people who voiced an opinion in a conversation were recorded.
5. I generated a painting based on these connections called Conversations on the Meltwater 2 This is based purely on the conversations we had and the people who reacted to them.
There were 7 conversations in total. Usually there would be more but with this being the Easter period people’s interactions were interrupted by other commitments over the holiday. This limited interaction was great as a controlled study but still there were more than 20 people liking and contributing to the conversations they saw.
The arrows in the artwork lead from the person to the conversation. Of course some people who instigated a conversation also commented on it and so generated a closed loop from the conversation back into the conversation.
These studies that I’m generating are far from scientific but they are great in showing how social interactions are generated by us humans. With the internet these interactions are far more measurable than they ever were previously.
There will be one more artwork generated based on social interactions within this group of people later in the year.