I don't know if you fall into the same category, but I'm the kind of painter who:
- Likes to make paintings, and
- Likes to have sold those paintings.
Now, there's a step in between those two that I don't care for as much - the actual selling of paintings. There are some painters who very much like the selling part. They tend to be social and outgoing, and they find selling to be not just challenging but energizing as well. For me, selling is akin to the wearisome, fanny-numbing, 3500-mile drive I make each year from my summer studio to my winter studio. I love spending time in both places - in fact, I need to, to make a living - but if I could click my heels thrice and travel in an instant, you bet I would.
Yet, there's a part to selling that I do like. Some of you know that I am mentally ambidextrous, and that my right brain is just as well-exercised as my left brain. I am comfortable digging into the HTML code behind web sites, and I recently enjoyed learning about h.264 encoding for MP4 files and also what the heck a QR code is. (At the top of this post is the QR code for my website URL. You've seen these before, in magazine ads.) There is a pleasurable, technical side to selling, too. Lately, I'm enjoying expanding my knowledge about social media, search engines and cutting-edge Internet technologies.
Today, let me talk about social media. For many, Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends, and Twitter is handy for catching the latest on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's travels in Canada. But of course, the marketeers, as they always do, have figured out how to exploit this new way of communicating. Painters are figuring it out, too. In my research, I've seen many painters struggling to get their names out by tweeting, "liking" and commenting. Sometimes the activity is excessive, and I sense desperation or a lack of good manners.
I'm trying to find the middle path. I don't want to be a gadfly, but then, I don't want to vanish from the face of the earth. But how effective is social media, really, and is it an effective marketing tool for painters? Is it worth the effort, or is it just another time sink? Am I better off watching nine year's worth of "Roseanne" episodes on my computer or trolling the social media sea?
I don't have an answer yet. But maybe you do. I'd love to hear what you think and how you use social media.