The Top Ten Reason Why I Might Want to Tweet Instead of Make Art

by Lisa Call on September 27, 2008

in art business

Why More on Twitter

Clint Watson offered for me to write a guest post on his blog over at Fine Art Views after my previous post about twitter.

This is that post – I’ve sent it to Clint to post but am also posting it on my blog, which is probably against some blogging etiquette rule but I write best in wordpress after all these years of blogging (I know – kinda weird huh) and it seems silly not to hit publish for my readers, as my experience is few people actually follow links in a post. Although I do recommend Clints blog as he as some interesting opinions about marketing art. So check out his blog here: Clint Watson’s Fine Arts View Blog.

Why Tweet

My top 10 List of reasons I might think writing a tweet for twitter is a better use of my time than creating art in response to Clint’s comment on his blog:

Why ANY artist would think that sending a “Twit” is a better use of their time than creating art is totally beyond me.

My list:

  1. As an artist if I made art 24/7 and never marketed it I would eventually run out of room in my house for the art. I spend a full 50% of my time running my art business. I think Clint knows this as he advocates blogging, so I will assume his comment meant "why would an artist tweet vs. doing any other marketing activity".
  2. I do not view what I do as "selling" my art. Instead I look to just be me. Authenticity is my goal in marketing myself and therefore my art. For me this means having a conversation, not selling. Making a connection is what I’m interested in, not doing the hard sell. Even if not connecting with a real live collector every minute on twitter, it is all a wonderful opportunity for being authentic and writing openly about myself and my art.
  3. Twitter gives me a chance to be authentic in a different way than with my blog. With my blog I put a lot of thought into my posts. They tend to get long and can take a few hours to compose as I edit and re-edit a lot. My tweets are much quicker thoughts dashed off in a few moments. It’s basically me, uncensored. Very authentic.
  4. I think with twitter, at least the people that are using it to connect and not sell, you get to see the real person behind the art. It’s a fine line to walk between being boring, giving too much information and too much self promotion. I find myself dropping the feeds that are only about selling – it annoys me and adds zero value to my life. I want a conversation with someone that feels like a real person. I don’t watch tv, I block ads on the web via adblock in firefox, I rarely listen to the radio, read no newspapers and few magazines – my tolerance for advertising is very low – if I feel all I’m getting is an ad – I’ll turn it off.
  5. I believe social media could likely become a more effective method of communicating with ones tribe than email. I think we are all completely overloaded with email. There is simply too much of it and we need a more efficient way to communicate. I find myself emailing less and less the more I use twitter. I can’t see into the future but I see the present and I see a lot people not liking email so much. At my day job as a software engineer, email has been rendered virtually useless as noone has time to read it anymore. A very common theme I hear from artists is that email takes up way too much time. I don’t view twitter just as addition to email, but hopefully a way to reduce that email so it takes less time.
  6. I’ve been online since 1983. Admittedly I’m a geek. For me, one of the most natural ways for me to communicate is online and I’m very comfortable in public chat type forums. This is absolutely authentic for me. I think some people communicate well this way, others don’t.
  7. I can completely relate to Steve Pavlina‘s comment on his latest blog post about facebook:

    No doubt some people will question how Facebook could help me with my business. The truth is that I don’t really care. My modus operandi is to pursue growth experiences and mold my business around that, not the other way around. So all I’m looking for on Facebook is to make new connections that can lead to interesting growth experiences. I don’t center my life around a profit motive.

    There is more to being an artist than making cash from the art. Connecting with other artists is incredibly valuable on both a personal and professional level. Where will it lead? Let’s find out.

  8. I find some really great information on twitter that helps with with my art career. References to articles and tools that other artists are using. While this might not be a direct sale of art to a collector, who’s to say that an opportunity I learn about via twitter doesn’t? It’s networking at it’s finest for only a few minutes a day.
  9. My 16 year old son tells me only old people email. Kids text, they use social media. Email is too heavy weight for them. My son assures me I am far from cool, but at least I’m willing to give this new thing a try.
  10. I buy art. I’m on twitter. I found art on twitter I liked. I bought it. I do not believe I am the only artist that buys art. And if I am, well so be it. Hopefully someday I’ll buy one of my own pieces and twitter will pay off.

My Thoughts Without Numbers

Okay – truth in advertising here – this isn’t really a top ten list. It’s just a random list of the things I thought of in no particular order and I attached numbers to the paragraphs because I always wanted to write a top 10 list.

I have no idea what the future of twitter might be and what type of value I might get out of it in the long run. And honestly, I don’ really care, which is why it has taken me over a week to finally sit down and write the article I promised Clint.

The short answer on why it is not beyond me to understand why an artist (me) might tweet instead of make art: Making art is a solitary activity. As a full time software engineer and full time artist, my opportunities for getting out are fairly limited. Twitter is a way to connect with my tribe in a very immediate way. It’s a fairly new way for artists to connect and I have no doubt I am making all sorts of "mistakes" that I will cringe or laugh about in the future, which is a large part of the appeal – testing it out and seeing where it will take me.

A final note. This is my experience. I’m not saying other artists should or shouldn’t hop onto the social media bandwagon. I think everyone needs to evaluate it for themselves and determine if it will fit into their art career. I’m happy to see Clint is actively using twitter now and his opinion in the future will be based on experience.

Still More

After writing this I can see I might have another post about twitter in the future. About how I actually use it. I think that might be of help of those that want to try out twitter but aren’t sure what to write about. Look for that post some day in the future. Not sure when.

PS – You can follow me on twitter here: Lisa Call’s Twitter Profile.

PSS – You can friend me on facebook here (just note in the request you read my blog): Lisa Call’s Facebook Profile.

PSS – Clint always does a PS so I felt I should follow the tradition for this post.


Tina Mammoser September 28, 2008 at 1:56 am

Interesting, was this the same article that appeared on EmptyEasel? Although that site was recommended to me I find it hard to navigate and it rather annoys me that you can’t comment to articles, like the Twitter one that was posted recently. So I’ve unsubscribed. A like sharing information, two way communication. :)

I agree with a lot of your points. Online communication is natural for me, and because I’m Twittering doesn’t mean I’m not creating artwork or that I would be creating artwork in that same time. A couple weeks ago I was sitting with an artist trying to sort out her website and got some great advice almost immediately by asking on Twitter. I talked to a friend in the US for the first time since November because we worked out our Skype problem via Twitter. I’ve been able to vent some of my excitement about recent events on Twitter because otherwise I work alone and would have to bottle it up. I don’t “sell” on Twitter either because that’s not what I use it for.

I suppose I don’t understand some of the almost angry aversion people have to different tools. Not everyone has to use sites if they don’t suit. Surely the same criticisms could be applied to the internet generally? Or the phone. These things can all keep you from creating, right? ;)

Tina Mammoser September 28, 2008 at 2:00 am

oh, just wanted to add that Clint isn’t one of the ‘angry aversion’ people I mentioned. Didn’t mean to lump him in with the generalization.

Mary September 28, 2008 at 5:14 am

Hi Lisa–Thanks for this. I’ve never quite “gotten” twitter or squido, either….maybe it’s just me but it seems like just more extra work for me? I blog, I etsy, I flickr and it all seems to take a fair amount of time. I am also tweaking my website, which of all of them, seems to be the most effective right now. I’m going to go look into twitter after reading this, though.

Phyllis Dobbs September 28, 2008 at 6:30 am

I enjoyed reading this blog. One of the reasons I love twitter is that I’ve made a lot of great contacts with some fabulous and talented people (you, for example).Being a creative person, it has been wonderful having this connect with other creatives. I’ve also enjoyed the social media and geek posts and have benefited from them as well and used some of the things I’ve learned to tweak my own blog and website.

I love it that you’ve always wanted to write a top 10 list!

Pat September 28, 2008 at 6:36 am

Thank you for sharing some wise words!

Lisa Call September 28, 2008 at 6:45 am

Tina – this didn’t appear on Empty Easel – at least I don’t think it did. I don’t read EE anymore because it just doesn’t click with me (I agree with your comments about the site). I might go check it out though and see what they say about twitter.

I think the angry aversion icould simply be fear. A natural human reaction to new scary things.

Mary – I think everyone will have a different opinion about twitter and it’s value. Certainly if it feels like it isn’t worth it to you and just more work – don’t do it!

Yes and yes and yes Phyllis – I find twitter to be adding much value to my art career.

Thanks Pat!

paula September 28, 2008 at 7:02 am

I wish I got it ….I still don’t.
To go there and read a line from someone I don’t know means nothing to me on yours or anyone else’s twitter page. I HEAR you that you are getting connections and learning….when I look at it I still feel this annoyance at all the little 2 cents worth of words. are these comments really meaningful and saying anything?
if you can help me get this I will be amazed. maybe I haven’t spent enough time on anyone’s twitter page. twitter, I still can’t get past the name. maybe i’m an old fart. maybe not. maybe i still just dont play well with others.

Lisa Call September 28, 2008 at 7:21 am

Paula – I think some people get it – some don’t. It’s not a bad thing – we all communicate differently. What you might not see upon first inspection is that there is a conversation. It’s through the @replies. If you look at my profile page any of the comments that start with an @name are replies to something other people said. I can see a list of replies people sent me and can then respond.

I have the option to see the replies that people I follow send to other people. So in this way it becomes a conversation.

Whether or not it’s valuable or meaningful – each of us have to answer that for ourselves. For me – yes – it can be both. For you – maybe not.

It took me a LONG time to get past the name. Ditto for etsy – that name – ugh – can’t stand it – definitely puts me in the old fart category I suspect.

cynthia September 28, 2008 at 9:04 am

I’m not sold on Twitter – mostly having more fun on Facebook. I think I forget about Twitter until I get an email telling me that someone is following me.

I’m so not cool according to my daughter ;) I’m okay with that.

Okay, going to see what other posts of your’s that I’ve missed.

Schnoobie September 28, 2008 at 10:33 am

I went to Twitter and have since signed up. For me it’s about the dialog…(I dont have a lot of like minded friends around on a daily basis to interact with)and being able to connect , be inspired, motivated..I do love the internet. Thanks for the info-nudge!

paula September 28, 2008 at 11:04 am

am i correct in understanding that you blog, then you go to twitter and post the blog url and then people read the blog and go there to comment?

Susie Monday September 29, 2008 at 6:59 am

Twitter is shorthand blogging. I relish the little glimpses of my on-line friends lives, find it helpful as reminders are posted to check on on my rss feeds, wish more of my closest and dearest creative pals had Twitter accounts.
However — I am on the geek-out-lyer end of the bell curve of my acquaintances in real life it seems.

Lisa Call October 2, 2008 at 8:58 pm

Paula – I’m going ot write another post about twitter – I don’t know if it will explain this or not. We’ll see.

Susie – yes – I’m on the geek side also – I think that is a part of the appeal. I’m also online 8 hours a day so keeping up is no effort or distraction from my art.

paula October 3, 2008 at 7:28 am

I look forward to reading it, i DO want to learn and be open and understand, not be annoying :)
I figure if you are this in to it there has to be something there…

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