Before Twitter…

There was bathroom graffiti!

I love the bathroom graffiti at SFSU. My favorite conversation is:

Original: Happiness is fleeting. Try contentment.
Response: Contentment is boring as fuck. TRY HARDER.

We’ve been “tweeting” for a very long time!

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4 comments on “Before Twitter…

  1. Excellent!

    It’s quite a journey reading this bathroom stall’s graffiti — ranging from the very personal (“I might kill myself” – reminiscent of news on how status updates on social networking sites have saved some teenagers’ lives) to more public issues (“Have a great semester yall”; “Best stall on campus”; etc.), all happening in this space (the campus bathroom stall) that crosses private and public boundaries, much like the intersections between what’s private and what’s public in social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook. I think this could provide a great segue to talking about what we now mean by public vs private spaces in this age of new media, and if we need new constructions and understandings of such terms.

    Back to the bathroom stall graffiti — I love how the scribblings, drawings, and words become layered over one another overtime in a collaborative space that allows each visitor to respond to, edit, or scratch out other people’s thoughts. It’s also very colorful!

    Great find! This is definitely one of the most robust bathroom stall graffiti I’ve seen! 🙂

  2. I agree! It’s from the Women’s restroom in the food area in Cesar Chavez. I’ve been fascinated with it since I started here. I agree– it embodies a lot of the same qualities we’ve been talking about in class, the interaction and the public voice, but bathroom graffiti stresses anonymity. Part of that is the illegal status of graffiti; I think that adds something to the process that is absent in the newly emerged public forums online.

    And yet, after a while, identities are recognizable. In the Humanities Building, there’s a writer who identifies as “Crater Face.” She scribbles poetry on stall walls and blackboards, and has created a presence in the Humanities bathrooms.

    Bathroom graffiti is fascinating, for so many of the same reasons we’ve been drawn to new media venues. If I were any good at photography, I’d love to make a book with pictures of bathroom graffiti from across the US!

  3. Great — I was just going to ask you where I can find this stall (heh, heh). I agree, you should get on it before someone else does……. (Alas, after I typed that, I googled “book on bathroom graffiti” and found this: http://www.itsallinthehead.com/). I think you could definitely start on this side project as a blog and begin with bathroom graffiti in San Francisco…

    And, yup — fascinating stuff… I think the aliases and identities that come out of these bathroom graffiti are really interesting: identities and presences made up of text, text, and more text (Twitter is also so text-heavy that it can indeed intimidate when you see endless strings and flows of text, one after another, with links embedded in the majority of the posted texts). “Crater Face” is a fascinating example — I guess you could say that her scribblings on (various?) stall walls and blackboards are links unto themselves…

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