This week, in the Professional Writing class that I teach (for art students), we were discussing social media. I've also been talking with my mom about this, as she's been setting up her Etsy shop for her cards (check it out--it's called Slender Stalk, and it's beautiful!) and experimenting with social media. It got me thinking about why I have found it so valuable, and why I keep using it. Yes, it's fun, and of course, it's wonderful to connect with others who share the same passions. But it's more than that.
Here are some thoughts on the topic. I'd love to hear yours, too!
How can artists/humans benefit from social media?
Social media is a space that folks must navigate, enter, and fill. It is a convention center. It is a train station. It is a street.
Social media is a tool for communication (both sharing and listening). It is not a replacement for human connection. It is another way to speak to other humans.
We do not need to use social media to live. Ideally, it can add to/enhance our experience of life. To some, it can feel overwhelming and detrimental. I understand this. We must remember that we are able to use or not use social media anytime we like--we control it (not the other way around).
The purpose is not to sell work, to shout like the loudest infomercials about ourselves. We would not behave this way in public; thus, it behooves us to be mindful about our presence online. Online = in public. The point is never about getting numbers, sales, or recognition.
Not every social media channel will be useful for us. We have to make decisions about which will be most helpful for our work and our lives. Also, we can use these channels differently from one another.
An authentic voice (discussing real passions, thoughts, and both good and stupid ideas) will resonate with interested listeners. We can be silly, deep, thoughtful, irritated, inquisitive as we express ourselves.
Social media allows us to open our studio to the public. Even if we don’t have a studio. It allows us to visit other artists’ studios and have discussions about what we make.
Social media furthers our art and our thinking about art. It can be a good excuse to take our own art seriously (if we do not already).
A crucial part of being an artist is supporting the creativity and art of others. Social media allows us to be a champion for people and ideas that we believe in.
Social media can help us find a generous, supportive community (to which we must bring a generous, supportive presence). Social media is about connection. What if social media (like art) could help us become more open to the world and the place of the self here? What if it (like art) could help us to be more present? I think it can.