2009, stainless, chandelier
As I sit recovering from my Fall Show I find myself restlessly tired and reflecting on the weekend’s events and the path that lead me there. It is difficult for me to evaluate the “success” of the show by traditional means but I am as proud of my work as I have ever been and I have learned some important lessons from the journey. I guess in that respect the weekend was an incredibly successful experience!
I began this season caught-up in the social media buzz and excited to jump headlong onto the train. I would do whatever it took to become familiar with the social media venues and use them to expose, examine and market my new work to the world!
So it began……
“Social Media” can be said to have three components;
Concept (art, information, or meme).
Media (physical, electronic, or verbal).
Social Interface (intimate direct, community engagement, social viral, electronic broadcast or syndication, or other physical media such as print).
“Marketing” is an integrated communications-based process through which individuals and communities are informed or persuaded that existing and newly identified needs and wants may be satisfied by the products and services of others.
Marketing is used to create the customer, to keep the customer and to satisfy the customer. With the customer as the focus of its activities, it can be concluded that Marketing is one of the premier components of Business Management – the other being Operations (or Production).
Lois, me, Diane
After reading this, I believed wholeheartedly that the two work together in a successful, bliss like partnership! As in any partnership I went in knowing there would be compromises and lessons to be learned. “Social Marketing” is what I would call it! With Twitter, Facebook, MySpace & Linked, it seemed as though any verbally creative individual could start a mass following.
I gravitated almost immediately to Twitter. Twitter is like a giant “chat room” for adults, all vying for recognition, attention or validation of some kind. The successful can capture the attention of the masses in 140 characters or less. I quickly learned it can also be a venue for tweet abuse or “tweet-arrhea” as I call it.
I have a Myspace account, which I do not utilize because it takes to much time and energy. Facebook just seems like more of the same but with a wider audience of adults looking for long lost mates! Linked is a “professional” Facebook – Myspace site, again one I did not utilize because it requires so much daily attention. There are many people who successfully utilize all of the above and even some I do not know about!
I do wonder how individuals so active in “social media” find time for balance and simultaneously focus on “operations/production” which is the driving force behind the marketing, unless of course you are an internet designed business!
Decision made, I would start with and continue with Twitter! After all, there are thousands of artists who utilize twitter seemingly successfully! And so I did, for exactly ten months. I now have to ask myself what I learned and accomplished in those 10 months of 1-2 hours + on the computer faithfully communicating with my new audience in 140 characters or less.
I learned that no matter how much I posted or engaged with others the results were almost always the same. To get a blog reviewed one must post it multiple times each day to get the desired result, be it…..accolades, comments, controversy, laughs or just validation. In the end I could never post it more than once. Did that character defect doom me to failure? I really dislike redundancy and if someone did not see the post then it was not in his or her karma for them to read it. For those truly interested in what I had to say they could just click on my site and read it there! Ahh….but that is not how it works! Twitter is designed to be quick and fast paced. You must grab the attention of the Twitter masses with your first tweet so that the gospel according to theasianwelder will spread like a “RT” (return post) virus! RT’s = validation.
I will be the first to admit, there are a lot of non-celebrity people who make it work for them and they do get results, fantastic results! Sadly, I am not one of them. I can say I did make some connections that would never have occurred except for my “Twitter experience”. There are some amazing people doing some incredible things in their lives. I wish I had the time in a day to follow and validate their accomplishments, but I can’t. I have to work, provide support a large extended family, and grow my spiritual practice all of which leaves very precious and limited time.
My goal for 2009 was to “learn how to do” social media and marketing. I even went so far as to hire two PR people I met through Twitter to help me succeed in this game! So how did I fare after my 10 month social marketing blitz via Twitter? Like my opening, sometimes success is defined by how one measures it. If I had hoped to connect theasianwelder with the masses via social media then I am disappointed. I would emphasize that my goal has never been to be “popular” or “rich” but to get a wider audience of what I do to promote my works, to engage with others with like minds and to establish a network of working artists in my medium. I did learn that of the thousands of artists out there utilizing social media, the 3D artists are sorely lacking! The 2D painters and photographers have a medium much more compatible with the internet! There are even individuals who label themselves art critique who proceed to proselytize one artist and then seemingly randomly berate another. It seemed far too easy to be critical when it is non-personal.
I also learned there are many Buddhist’s on Twitter as well. Most are kind, compassionate and on a mission to save humanity. To all those out there simply wanting to share their experience with Dharma and help others to find some sense of happiness, I commend you; it is a worthy cause indeed! I would love to read ALL the blogs out there on the Dharma and personal stories behind them but again, my time is limited, so I have to choose my own teacher as my source to enlightenment!
Overall, I would have to say my Twitter experience was good although I failed to accomplish my “goals”, the path was enlightening and I am better for the experience.
close-up “Flowers in My Yard” recycled metals, film, cactus, flowers
Saturday, October the tenth was my latest art reception “The Age of Aquarius”. Many locals posted it repeatedly via Twitter and Facebook. Ironically, no-one from my community of local Twitter followers showed up for the event! Neither did either member of my PR team. Who did attend? Friends, family, long time patrons, people I personally met with, sent notes to, my Sangha community and some who found our flyers placed at businesses around Tucson by me and my daughter.
Perhaps that was my most profound lesson. It all comes back to that personal connection. It is to easy to be a cheerleader, critique, supporter and friend on Twitter but not come through when it takes more than 140 characters! Human connection has proven to be my true source of social media! All the hours I spent promoting the event through the Internet did not result in a single individual interested or caring enough to come to the event except the ones whose karma found us on their own or thru my own personal connection.
When I took a hammer to my cell phone it was my most liberating experience to date. Deleting my account with Twitter….a close second!