When I started this blog, twenty months and 760 posts ago, I didn’t imagine that it would take so much of my time, nor that it would drag me even further into using other social media, such as Twitter. Nearly 100 people have subscribed to this blog in one way or another, so by definition if you are reading this, you are using social media even if this is the only thing you do.
Perhaps you use Facebook, and nothing else. Perhaps you use Facebook and Twitter, and you’ve decided that anything else would be too much. Perhaps you read and send messages via these things, but wish you didn’t, and you plan to go ahead with that thing you’ve wanted to do for a long time: stop using them altogether.
If you’re an artist, you’ve probably said: This is really wasting my time, and I need to get back to my studio.
If you’ve had any of these thoughts, you might roll your eyes at what I’m going to say next. Not only are there very good reasons why you should use social media – there are good reasons why you should use more of them.
1. It’s true that most of the people you ‘meet’ online will never turn into physical friends. But every person you’re in contact with is a potential pair of eyes for your work.
2. If you add comments to blog posts, or Facebook threads, or Google plus posts, or you retweet a Tweet, you’re leaving your signature somewhere on the internet, and you’re spreading your name around. So the more media you use, the wider you cast your net.
3. Online conversations can lead to real-world results. I’ve been using Google Plus for months now, and it has led to contacts with several very successful artists, some of whom allowed me to interview them; and lately it led in part to my being asked to blog for an art website.
4. You are building up a potential mailing list for your next show or event.
5. If you engage in a discussion and leave a comment, or if you write something longer, perhaps on your own blog, you are thinking at length about things that matter to you (art and the world it connects to) and you are writing about your own work. Any time that you write about yourself, you are reflecting on your own process, always a valuable thing for a visually-oriented person.
6. You don’t have to spend hours and hours every day looking at the torrent of information on Facebook or Google Plus (although believe me, you can!). I find that if I’m disciplined, I can do everything I need to in about an hour. That’s one hour a day on self-marketing and promotion – and it’s never wasted time.
My personal preference at the moment is for Google Plus – and in a future post I'll talk about why it's a much better platform than Facebook for artists.
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