Suzanne’s Virtual Manifesto for Artists

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Why do social media at all? As an artist, you have to do it artfully, or it won’t work. It has to be authentic, interesting, generous,and beautiful.

Ironically, you can’t take it too seriously. It’s like throwing pebbles into a great sea. You produce a ripple or two. Keep them going and something interesting will come in on the tide, but you can’t predict what or when.

Here’s a hint for Facebook. Your personal profile is your white pages home number listing. Your business page is your yellow pages ad. You can have a single line, or work hard to have a half-page advertisement. It’s up to you how much time you want to put into it. But you need a listing. Facebook reproduces images so beautifully, and is so nearly universal, that every artist should use it, whether minimally or daily.

For all social media, if it’s not interesting to you, it won’t be interesting to others. Your strangeness, your struggle, and your process are fascinating. Share them. On the other hand, don’t share too many unfinished pieces, and don’t become addicted to sharing art as soon as it’s done. There’s a balance to be kept between process and product.

Publicize others. Rejoice in others’ work. Remember that everything is public and everything is perpetual. As an artist, give up on trying to be private. Everything on your Facebook profile or page should be about art in some way or another.

Having a public social media presence takes what I call “nerd time.” Give into it. Schedule blocks of time just to master new online skills. Drink too much coffee or soda, wear an old sweatshirt, retreat, and learn something. Groove on those dopamine hits from likes or followers. Then leave it and get back into the studio.

Social media is SOCIAL. Follow others. Comment. Become fascinated. It’s better to do one or two things well than a many things half-way. Choose one or two media and enjoy them. Make them yours. I do Facebook and a blog.

Social media is not to sell your art. It’s a way to contribute to the world of thought and beauty. At its best, it will focus you like a lens on your own art and process and magnify it along the way. You can use media as a beautiful scrapbook of your progress. It can be a way of visualizing and bringing ideas into reality. You can make connections with a huge, marvelous world, and feel supported by it. As a by-product of contribution, connection, focus, and fascination, your art sales may increase.

How to make it work? Schedule it. Daily, weekly, whatever. A post a week is good, a blog a week is fine. Ignore statistics and just produce it. At its best social media, like your artwork, is a valuable alternate persona, a lovely interface with a big world, and a new piece of your brain in action. Just show up and try, and be willing to fail or look silly, have things fall flat, because they will. Social media is very forgiving, though. Forgive yourself and post again! Don’t forget to be funny and authentic.

Social media, like art, is creative. Use your creative skills to make a new social media your own, just as you would learn a new technique or media to further your art. And remember to laugh at yourself in the process!

Suzanne Edminster, 2013

4 comments

  1. As always you’ve hit the nail on the head, and inspired legions in the process. Your words are a balm for my social media wearied soul. I’ve been blogging for so many years I can’t even remember the beginning now. Thanks for being a cheerleader and helping me to remember the WHY.

    Like

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