Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tyler Sticka - Portwiture

When he combined two popular networking sites, Twitter and Flckr, Tyler Sticka created a new way to view ourselves on the internet with his piece, Portwiture. The piece takes the inputted Twitter user name, doesn’t need to be your own, and analyzes that feed for the most commonly used words in the Twitter feed. It then searches the photo sharing network Flickr and displays a collage of images that match with those terms.

With Portwiture, a new dimension is added to the digital idenity that we create for ourselves with Twitter. Suddenly, each word has deeper meaning as its usage may come to represent us and the images displayed through this project. Not only does it give us an interesting visual image to go with our thoughts, but it shows us what we think and speak about it a clear display.

Year(s) Created: 2009

Media: Website, text and photograph integration

Artist Statement

Portwiture combs a Twitter user’s recent updates for frequently used words, then finds Flickr photos that resonate with them. The result is a serendipitous visual representation of your profile: your Twitter status, in photos.
Although I praised the potential of public APIs in several of my speaking engagements, it struck me as strange that I had yet to utilize the technology myself. Portwiture is the first result of my ongoing exploration of connecting disparate wells of public information.

In order to minimize server impact as well as increase the amount of immediate user feedback, the application’s activity occurs largely on the client side with jQuery. A combination of RSS and the versatile SlideShowPro Flash component power a “slideshow” method of viewing results. Visitors with CSS3-compatible browsers will enjoy rounded corners, text shadows and the Museo typeface. The service taps Twitter’s potential as a means of promotion and discovery with the implementation of “Tweet This” buttons on profiles and photography.

Portwiture was Mashup Awards’ “Mashup of the Day” for February 25, 2009 and a nominee for “Best Mashup” in the 2009 WebVisionary Awards. It was one of six “Incredible Twitter Powered Art Projects” featured on the popular social media blog Mashable. It was also featured in SlideShowPro’s email newsletter.

Exhibition History

"Portwiture" has been available online since 2009 at the following website.

Image Sources

Photograph. App Scout. PC Mag Digital Network, 21 May 2009. Web. 9 Dec. 2009.

Portwiture: Twitter and Flicker Mashup. Photograph. Silicon Florist. 14 July 2009. Web. 9 Dec. 2009.


Sticka, Tyler. "Portwiture." Web. 9 Dec. 2009.

Henry, Alan. "Portwiture Puts Your Tweets In Pictures." App Scout. 21 May 2009. Web. 9 Dec. 2009.

Turoczy, Rick. "Portwiture: What does your Twitter stream look like?" Silicon Florist. 14 July 2009. Web. 9 Dec. 2009.

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