Saturday, July 23, 2011

Artists on Facebook: Your Opinion?

This is me,  Kristen Watts.  I figured you might want a face to go with Art Play Today.

After receiving a somewhat negative comment on a post I made about using social media to promote your artwork I have been thinking about it nonstop and would really value your opinion.  Here is the comment left by "Spinning Down Under":

More time on FB = less time creating and less time for real life and real time networking with people who can help you. Simple really. The world of FB is an illusion,smoke and mirrors, and if you post anything on FB it becomes their property - so much for tutorials you post and encouraging others to post photos of their work! Give it a little more time and it will be as passe as last weeks newspaper.Your time is better spent ensuring your blog, website, and etsy shop are high up in the search engines search results . THAT is what drives people (as in paying customers and serious followers) to find you; these are people who are interested in more than simply collecting "names" as friends in fake popularity stakes.But then I'm bucking the trend and prefer owning my own work, not donating the rights to it to a feral and uncontrollable internet site that may just be reluctant to let me have it back. And I'm fussy about my friendships, and paranoid about computer security. FB isn't.Depends if you are satisfied with 15 minutes of transient FB fame, or prefer to be taken seriously. And remembered.
When I first read this I felt a little offended by it, but I've chosen not to take it personally and to learn from her opinion.  I've done a lot of research that I wouldn't have done if not for this comment and I learned a lot in the process.  I appreciate all points of view, because without being open-minded I would never get anywhere or grow as a person and an artist.

In response to how facebook and many other sites may use the content that we upload....I'm not too worried about it, but this doesn't mean I (or my art) won't be taken seriously.  If someone really wants to use your images from your facebook, etsy, flickr, artfire....or any other place you upload your images....THEY WILL FIND A WAY.  Someone can just as easily take an image from Etsy, as they can from Facebook.  It's fairly easy to get around a watermark etcetera.  My point being that I don't see Facebook running a behind the scenes print shop and selling my art or anyone elses as their ultimate evil  corporate scheme.  If my artwork is used by someone other than myself I of course expect the courtesy of giving credit to me as the artist and a link to my site (which I may or may not get)....But in the grand picture, I feel it's useless and unhealthy to be paranoid.

I don't know....maybe I'm to optimistic....but that's something that I like about myself.  I choose to be positive, to share what I know, to encourage other artists to create.  I'm not afraid of someone stealing my style or technique...because frankly we and our works are either directly or indirectly inspired by others.  Sharing makes me happy, so if someone wants to use my images I will just take it as a compliment and move on.  Of course I want to be taken seriously as an artist....But I think using Facebook and other social media will have more positive effects on my art business than the reverse.

Every artist must decide for themselves what they are comfortable with, and every artist must take responsibility for educating themselves as well.  I've done my research and feel comfortable with my decisions thus far.

There is something to be said, however, about protecting yourself as much as you can.  For example, when you upload images for use on the web, you should use low resolution (72dpi) images that are not fit for print.  If you use facebook, you should really read their terms and if you don't understand them, do some research on what the language means.  You should also look at your privacy settings and set them according to your comfort level.

Thank you to "Spinning Down Under" for the thought provoking response to my blog post, and I encourage all of you to express your opinions, whether they align with mine or not! We can all learn from each other!


  1. There is an interesting, eye-opening book called "Googled" by Ken Auletta about the history and far reaching tentacles of this international company, who incidentally own Blogger. Privacy settings ARE important and overlooked by many and need to be checked regularly. I am careful about images I post, and certainly leave my family out of the picture entirely. Social Media are the tools of today, whether we like it or not. I find the whole virtual connection quite intriguing and a proven business builder. I guess it depends on what your goals are. By the way thanks for the comments on my blog!

  2. As an artist you are always looking for ways to market your work.

    Security can be an issue with some of the sites but you as an artist have to decide if it is right for you.

    I love your work and I enjoy looking at the images in "My Shop".

    I agree with you that you can not worry about people stealing your ideas because is some way or another we all get inspired from each other.

    If people like your work they would buy your work.

    Exposure is important for artists even with the risks one has to take.

  3. You took the high road and turned the negative post into a "good for discussion" topic! You are a great artist Kristen and I look up to you for taking your dreams and passion to a new level! Best of luck and I look forward to following your blog! Jeannie

  4. Thanks to all of you for your opinions and support!

  5. Hi I'm visiting you from Hands and heart.I read the comment you got about FB with interest.I'm afraid I'm inclined to agree that building up your blog etc is a better way to go.I choose artists and dollmakers as "friends" and its getting really tiresome all the self promotion,and on quite a lot of occasions I have been copied-at first I did'nt mind but believe after a while it gets to you.I get emails non stop about their new art etc which now I ignore.I find visitors to my blog buy quite a lot and I love visiting back I feel like I have friends.Now that I've ranted on and on I'll finish !!!

  6. Thank you Patricia for visiting and for posting your opinion. I value it very much. Learning how to promote my blog is something I'm still learning. In fact it's all a work in progress. My blog posts automatically post to my Art Play Today FB Page, so it is promoted there. And of course I belong to several Ning groups, but I'm not sure how much I'm really supposed to promote my blog at those sites. If you have any advice on promoting my blog in more ways, please do share! I'd love to hear more ideas.

  7. That person has unfortunately been misinformed by the rumor mill (and is also a bit short-sighted, I might add). Facebook does not own the rights to any work you post. It is a great marketing tool and just one of the many ways, as you've already discovered, to get your work noticed. I hold the opinion that it is foolish to ignore social media, because people who do not necessarily subscribe to your blog are more likely to follow you on Facebook. Their friends see the follow and subsequently follow, too. You already alert fans about your latest posts, so you're on track! And now there is Google + to add to the mix, which looks quite promising and may possibly be an eventual twitter replacement for me.


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