Sunday 19 April 2009

Hello, world

I started this blog at the end of 2006, when I was just starting to work on the web, and had no idea of how it really worked, technically, socially, intellectually or ethically. Everyday I would go out on the web and try to learn about something, then blog about it to reinforce it (yes, I appear to have a fairly rigid learning style).

That quickly got tired, and I ended up writing more and more about the visual arts in New Zealand and responding to international art coverage. It was good timing and I felt in great company, with Over the Net, Peter Peryer and One Moment Caller all being bloggers I admired and followed.

I'm conscious that posting on Best of 3 is relatively sporadic this year. That's partly because 2009 is turning out to be one of the best and busiest years of my life, and partly because I do more and more of my short-burst conversations on Twitter. However, I think it's also because over the past two years, my working life interests (social media, access to content/data, community engagement, openness, sharing, transparency and generosity on the web) and my non-working life interests (NZ visual art, the operations of public and dealer galleries, art criticism, community engagement) have come closer and closer together, and now they overlap in such a way that attempting to keep them separate by running Best of 3 anonymously seems fruitless (thanks, Twitter, for undermining these boundaries irrevocably!). I'm spending an increasing amount of time, both at work and out of it, talking to people about the opportunities I see for cultural organisations on the web, and thus I feel less need to agitate for for action by writing about it here.

I've never been that concerned about anonymity on Best of 3. It used to be that the people I wrote for/talked too here were quite separate from the people I talked to / wrote for when I have my work hat on (this is no longer the case, and there's been a few times over the past months where I've shamefacedly outed myself as Best of 3 to people who I know perfectly well in my other 'real' and online worlds). I knew many of my readers offline, and I've always figured that if you don't know me but continue to visit the blog nonetheless, you've come to trust me as a source of a certain kind of information, idea and opinion.

But. This week I'm gonna do something on the blog that I think requires readers to know who the "real me" is. So - here goes. My name is Courtney Johnston. I live in Wellington. If I were forced to choose one word to describe my relationship to the NZ art world, I would probably pick 'collector', closely followed by 'interested&informedobserver'. I work at the National Library, but I try to keep my work stuff out of Best of 3, as I already write about it elsewhere.

So. There you go. One small blog post opens up a whole new world. Thanks for reading.


Sarah Eades said...

Great post!
When blogs started out many of them were anonymous, it was seen as a way to be able to voice your opinion without retribution and a freedom to discuss and create a discourse. Since then things have changed so much.
When we started the Auckland Art Gallery's blog it was a big decision whether or not to name the authors of the post it would have been easier just to label them as written by the gallery in general. This is different from an individual blog i know. However i wouldnt change a thing and think its a great move to "come out of the blog closet" so to speak. perhaps now you can link to your twitter conversations etc?

Shelley said...

a blog coming out - i love that. remember how shocked i was when you told me you were the author here? i was so glad to know who i'd been reading for so long! i'm sure others will feel the same (or knew already!).

styler said...

hello you

Courtney Johnston said...

Aww - thanks guys.

Sarah - I think it's *hugely* important that people on institutional blogs post under their own names, and it's something I encourage (enforce, cough) as much as possible at work. Gives them and the reader a sense of ownership & a reason to be there.

Anonymous said...

Terrific stuff Courtney- one of the best NZ blogs by a long way. Positive, informative, and with plenty of Jerry Saltz!

(visit Paintlust dot co dot nz sometime!)