Entertainment behind the scenes
Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh wrote more than 800 letters during his short life, posting a note almost daily to his brother Theo. This was quite common in the 19th century, due to the lack of telephones, email and social networking sites.
In his letters, he would chat about the art he was working on, and try to sketch his paintings so his family and friends had a sense of his plans. The letters have become an art history treasure and have recently been compiled in a new six-volume publication.
If Van Gogh had lived in the 21st century, would he have logged on to a social networking site such as Facebook, MySpace or Twitter, and posted regular updates about the progress of his work? Judging from the volume of his correspondence, that would be likely. He wouldn’t have had to repeat his thoughts to every letter recipient, and if he had a camera at hand he could have uploaded photos of his work for others to comment on.
But he would have had to learn to be more concise in explaining his thoughts, especially on Twitter where posts are limited to 140 characters. Some historians say he became increasingly reclusive in his life, so maybe superfluous friend requests would have aggravated him too much.
Years ago at the Sundance Film Festival, Yahoo! sponsored a small cafe where festivalgoers could drop in — if they were on the list — and grab a quick bite to eat. But over time, it seems Yahoo’s fame and fortune as an Internet portal have receded, and in it’s place popped up social networking site MySpace. And in recent years, MySpace has sponsored the cafe at Sundance.
Now, it seems that in its fifth year (2009) MySpace is facing the keen competitive threat of social networking site Facebook. So, when we sat down with MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe in the MySpace Cafe, we couldn’t help but note the irony. Could MySpace be “Yahoo II: The Sequel”? (We couldn’t resist the movie pun. It is Sundance, after all). DeWolfe laughed. He doesn’t see it that way at all and, in fact, he said the outlook for MySpace appears bright.