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Thu Aug 30 2012 12:24:06

Does 'Art' T-Shirt Show Sales Potential of Twitter?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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It was the botched Spanish fresco restoration that made headlines around the world and was reminiscent of the "Whistler's Mother" scene out of the movie "Bean." But one enterprising artist, the edgy Amanda Palmer,, turned the incident into a conversation with her 610,000+ Twitter followers and spawned a $20 T-shirt with the remade "Ecce Homo" image and the slogan, "Stop Pretending Art Is Hard."

She then sold the shirt using Chirpify, a service that lets Twitter users monetize their followings by enabling them to sell items via their feed. "Chirpify enables in-stream payments; no shopping cart or linking off Twitter," said Andrew Goss, who handles PR for Chirpify. Palmer's original Chirpify tweet about the shirt is here:

When the tweet to sell her T-shirt went live, for a period of about two hours there was one sale every 30 seconds for the shirt, according to  Goss. "Thus far there have been 320 sales," said Eric Sussman,, in management at "Team Amanda Palmer," late Wednesday. At $20 a shirt, that translates to $6400. 

The caption for the shirt was created by Amanda and her audience on twitter on Sunday. "It was a collective brainstorm -- Amanda let folks vote on which caption they thought was best for the image," said Sussman.

In another modern twist on sales, Amanda and her team have not yet actually produced the shirt: "It's something of an "on-demand" sale -- we will produce the shirt in a week or so once we have a better idea on the sizes/quantities needed," said Sussman. But the tweet went it out when it did to seize the moment and better harness sales. "The idea was generated on Sunday, and we put it up for sale immediately on Monday to make the most out of the momentum on Twitter from the day before," said Sussman.

"This is a perfect case study in how social media can take something from concept to sale in less than 24 hours (see stream at," said Goss.

During the early hours of the shirt's sales, Chirpify was the second-most mentioned Twitter handle, above Lady Gaga, said Goss. (You can see this status on a capture of the "Tweet Issue Now" feed from 5:20 PM Aug. 27, 2012 at

Interestingly, while many around the world were horrified by the fresco's transformation, the conversation in Palmer's Twitter feed raised all sorts of questions about the pros and cons of the change, the good intentions of the elderly artist, and what lessons could be taken out of the whole situation.

One thing seems clear: Twitter has moved one step ahead in the game of ecommerce monetization.

What do you think about the t-shirt sales on Twitter? Does this show a massive sales potential for the cryptic-character service? Will we see more of this on-the-fly marketing due to the fast pace of current events? And do you have an opinion on the fresco restoration itself? Does art, indeed, have to be "hard"? Post a comment here!

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Perminate Link for Does 'Art' T-Shirt Show Sales Potential of Twitter?   Does 'Art' T-Shirt Show Sales Potential of Twitter?

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Thu Aug 30 13:31:23 2012

That time vs sales chart would make a pretty interesting bell curve!

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