New art-focused social media site launched


Sonya Bekkerman and Saul Ingram

The global art world is moving online, and a new online social network is setting out to accelerate that shift, opening up conversations and connecting artists, collectors, curators and other art professionals and enthusiasts all over the world.

The new network is called Tondo. It launched in beta at the end of 2014 and is fast gathering speed, according to founders Saul Ingram and Sonya Bekkerman. Both formerly of Sotheby’s, they say that art collectors have been quick to embrace Tondo’s new avenues of conversation and connectivity.

“The appeal for many of the collectors is that it’s a space full of like-minded people,” says Ingram. “On Tondo, art is the main event. Collectors have told us they like being in a place with museums, galleries, service providers and artists. It’s a place to discover new artists, exhibitions and art fairs that they may not have been to – and they are definitely enjoying the variety.”

Bekkerman adds: “Some of these collectors have told us that prior to Tondo they hadn’t found a comfortable space where they could create dynamic conversations. That is so much a part of our mission: conversation and connection reign supreme.”

Tondo enables members to submit posts, follow other members, start surveys and conversations and track the most popular conversations or key topics. Ingram and Bekkerman decided to create Tondo when they spotted a gap in the market for a social media platform entirely focused on art.

“There are lots of e-commerce sites and news sites, but we saw a gap in the middle of that,” says Ingram. “Tondo is a complimentary platform and that connects art professionals, curators, aficionados, collectors – it’s a perfect vehicle to connect the world internationally. The art world is entirely global, so it works really well for that market.”

The possibilities, they believe, are endless, with Tondo creating connections that may not otherwise have formed, strengthening those that already exist and facilitating important – or just enjoyable – discussions about art.

“Social media is a great democratiser: every person is at the same level,” says Ingram. “We love that the content is by nature really digestible: it moves away from very complex, long form writing into more image-based, short form, mid-weight content, which travels really well and reaches around the world instantly.”

A large part of Tondo’s mission, says Bekkerman, is to strengthen the existing art community and facilitate the formation of new networks.

“What social media does so brilliantly is it creates community after community, and that’s very much part of our mission – the response has been overwhelmingly positive:  everyone understands that this is an opportunity. The art world is a naturally connected community offline, but until now it hasn’t been connected properly online.”