Picture if you will an older woman (but young at heart of course) who has only had a smart phone for two years, who can’t get a network signal to use said phone inside the house, who has no iphone or ipad and doesn’t intend to get them, a woman who had serious doubts about facebook and twitter being full of time-wasting trivia. But also picture a woman who strategically waited until she was ready to go ahead with a blog she finds she loves doing, who was used to digital imaging, file sizing etc, and who could be pretty methodical when she put her mind to learning new things, in this case with a whole new language attached of dashboard, SEO, plugins you need, or don’t need, ping backs, shares, likes, tweets, retweets, hashtags, GIFs, DMs, avatar, html…ad infinitum. Then what do you get? A non-techy woman with determination going on a specific journey with hardly any social media savvy.
So since I’ve been blogging now for around a year and since I’ve been facebooking and tweeting for well over seven months , and since I’ve actually being persuading other creatives of the value of social media, I thought it was time for me to look at the pros and cons, specifically with respect to creative people – that’s people who by virtue of necessity have to spend time alone to create, who can be a wee bit sensitive, but who need to engage with others for a variety of very constructive reasons, such as support and encouragement, education, feedback, raising awareness and maybe even personal development with catharsis and creative philosophies.
So I’m going to approach it by looking at a PRO, then its related CON – here goes!
First up has to be the wealth of like-minded people you can engage with, who you can exchange views with and give your opinions on topics you’re specifically interested in. People you can genuinely care about even though you’ve never met them. You can ‘meet’ people across the globe, see how things are for them where they happen to live, it opens your mind to new perspectives about creativity, as well as feeling you’ve found people you have so much in common with. You feel closer to the creative community beyond your doorstep – you could say you can access a world-wide tribe of creatives.
You can access too many people to give your considered attention to and you end up having to choose some over others for the sake of time. You can assume you know people quite well from their posts and tweets. But do you? Now with creative people I think we can trust a certain level of intuition about this, so we may be in a better position. After all, not many of us love self marketing, not many of us have huge egos, so that may mean we’re more authentic, I’d like to think so. But just be aware, on-line ‘friends’ are not real friends in the real world, and what most of us put out there about ourselves is selective for a variety of quite valid reasons, such as staying safe, sparing feelings, and avoiding the dreaded trolls etc. I do worry a bit about people who bare their soul. I do appreciate it when they do, it’s very brave, and they can get some amazing support which restores your faith in human nature. But it’s a risky thing to do, and you have to be very well-adjusted and sure of who you are, to deal with any negativity you may receive.
The wealth of information and generosity of information from blogs is staggering. You can solve creative problems, Pinterest can give you so many stimulating ideas for creative projects, and there are so many easy to access links to more and more, leading to amazing discoveries that can enhance your creative life and your work. It’s truly mind-blowing.
There can simply be too much information to process. This is what I felt very early on, before I even engaged with social media. I was wading through too much on-line information, specifically, in my case, in relation to writing techniques. I’ve previously written a post on ‘too much information’ here. Before you have really consolidated your style for yourself, too much information can derail your faith in yourself, and your trust in what you are doing and the way you are doing it. Your right side of the brain muse may walk away in a huff. What do you need her for, if you’ve got all this left side of the brain information? So care has to be taken not to feel overwhelmed. After all, we create in a solitary place and it’s important we are comfortable there, in our own space, without the inner critic being fuelled by all the conflicting information we’re looking up ‘on the side’.(You may like to check out my post on the inner critic) So it’s getting the balance right, and I have to work hard at this personally. I deliberately keep my writing space and laptop upstairs, just for writing, and use the computer downstairs for social media and all the other stuff.
You can reach far more people to become aware of you and your creative product, than just those in your immediate environment. And we are all actively encouraged to do this – here’s me doing it too. You can network with relevant professionals and their services, especially perhaps via twitter and facebook. The world can feel like your oyster as you collect followers, likes, shares, get feedback, endorsements. It can get you and your work ‘out there’.
You can spend far too much time on this networking and gaining followers. And we all know it can become addictive. There are enhanced packages out there to tempt you to pay to advertise your facebook page or product on twitter, to get yourself thousands of twitter followers, and although I recoil from it and resent those who follow me on twitter to flagrantly self-advertise, I just can’t deny the usefulness of it for those running a business. But with respect to art, writing, music…what bothers me most is this: Is a prospective gallery owner, mentor, agent or publisher/producer more likely to want to handle your work because you have being very successful with your social media endeavours OR are they more interested in the actual art work? Well, we know the answer to this. So if you spend too much time on social media, at the expense of your creative work, then it’s really counter productive.
So stressing again, this is just what I feel about social media in respect to creatives, based on my own experience and what I have learned, my take home points would be:
Be selective with your engagements, you just can’t check in with or follow everyone
Refine your interests
Enjoy your ‘friends’ but keep yourself ‘safe’
Be supportive and encouraging – spread positive vibes rather than negative ones
Don’t use up too much precious time on it, at the expense of your creative work
Give as well as take – in other words, protect your karma.
Cheers all, and thank you once again for your support of this blog ;>)
(pics from pixabay – great for free images and lots of choice)