That old curmudgeon, H.L. Mencken, once wrote: "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." Not true, of course, since there are many teachers who do, and many doers who teach. (This might be grist for a future post, perhaps.)
These days, we can take Mencken a step further: "Those who can, do; those who don't, live in Facebook."
Or, instead of Facebook, substitute your favorite social medium. We have many now, including Google Plus, Twitter and Pinterest. And tomorrow we'll have more.
I'll be the first to admit that I spend time on Facebook. I've found it great for reconnecting with friends from whom I've wandered over the decades. Originally, though, I signed up hoping to increase my presence as a professional artist on the Web. I did the same with all the other social media sites. The other day I even signed up for Pinterest, but mostly just to test some HTML code that will prevent people from "pinning" my copyrighted images from my blog and website. (Thank to Katherine Tyrell for that tip!)
So, as a professional artist, how is social media working for me? Frankly, it's not.
I'm sure I can hire a consultant who might suggest ways I can improve this situation, but honestly, I don't think it's worth the effort. Social media takes away valuable time from activities that can have a bigger impact on my professional life. These activities include meeting potential buyers face-to-face, working my mailing list of already-proven buyers and students and, yes, even painting.
And if you don't paint, you have nothing.
Besides my website, which I use as an online portfolio, I've found the blog most useful. I've sold from both the website and the blog; and both have pulled in new students. When I post to the blog, I make sure a link to the post also goes to Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter. This doesn't take much effort. I've also made sure I have a professional page on both Facebook and Google Plus that encourages new visitors to visit my website and blog. I use Youtube, too. Although it isn't exactly a social medium, I encourage visitors to my channel to visit my "real" sites, too.
All of these social media sites require time and energy to evaluate. Time and energy I'd rather spend painting and doing my old-fashioned social networking.