We live in a time when full time employment is increasingly looking less and less secure. People with creative skills are realising that all jobs are, to some degree, dead end jobs and are “choosing themselves” to go it alone and make their mark independently, by creating their art and relying on that for their livelihoods. There is a trend toward solo-preneurship, with people doing what they do and love best and earning from their efforts.
Sounds good, right?
These same artists and craftspeople are frequently using social media as a platform to publicise and market their work. Some are failing at it. Miserably.
In the old star system, if you were an artist, you set yourself up as the authority (nothing wrong with that) and looked down on the masses, bestowing your works on an adoring, grateful and clamouring public. Part of the mystique of being an artist was the self-centred belief in your own magical, God-like powers and your world view that you, alone, were chosen to be truly extraordinary. And so you might have been. Why doesn’t that work so well on social media?
These days, especially on social media, your audience and your customers are, in all likelihood, creating their own artistic works, too. They’re probably writing their own novel or screenplay, drawing their own pictures, painting their own paintings, writing their own songs and recording their own albums. They might be writing the next killer app. They might have a brilliant new concept in wellness. Their design business may be thriving. Everybody you come in contact with, via social media, is probably striving to complete their own art, just as much as you are.
When you come across, on social media, as fully self-absorbed, disinterested in the work and art of the people you want to appreciate (and buy) your own art, you turn people off. You demonstrate, loudly and clearly, that you don’t care a fig about anybody else’s story, authenticity, integrity and struggle. If you adopt the stance of a superior artist, handing works of exceeding fineness to a great, unwashed mass, this pose is going to leave you standing alone and lonely.
The key to social media is interaction and the realisation that for your art to have any meaning at all, it needs to have some connection, appeal and meaning to somebody else – somebody that is making their own art too. It is far better to care about them, be interested in them, communicate with them, appreciate their art and then offer your own. If your art is any good and of a high quality, it will speak for itself. You won’t have to posture on its behalf.
It’s not necessarily only about you, anymore. Perhaps it never really was.