How To Thrive as a Creative Without Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter
By Thea Fiore-Bloom, PhD
Are you an artist promoting your work on Facebook?
I’ve got a pop quiz for you.
After I spend a few hours on Facebook I feel…?
A. Creative, productive, and expanded. I feel like I’ve done something good for myself and my art business.
B. Flat. Flatter, and flattened. I feel like Wile E.Coyote after he gets steamrolled into the pavement.
When was the last time you sold work through Facebook …?
A. Quite recently. I sell via DM and Facebook funnels scads of buyers to my online shop.
B. Sales on Facebook? Is that a thing?
If you answered A to both questions, Mazel Tov.
There are artists who actually love social media and thrive there. I’m happy Facebook is a nurturing and prosperous platform for you and wish you continued success there.
But I can help you no further today.
B‘s? Gather round. You’re in the right place.
Let’s begin by busting a myth.
“Facebook is Mandatory” Is A Big Fat Myth
“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.” – Rumi
So many self-proclaimed art business experts insist we have to be on Facebook and other forms of social media to make it as a creative.
That’s a big fat myth.
Business mentor Jaquelyn Atkins said something important on her recent podcast:
“Don’t feel that your business is chained to Facebook (or any form of social media). Let go of the idea that your business requires it for its survival. It’s a societal belief that’s just not true. Give up that belief now. Only stay on the platform because you choose to stay.”
You Won’t Be The Only One Saying Bye-Bye To Facebook
If you do leave Facebook you sure won’t be lonely.
Fifteen million people deleted their accounts this past year.
That’s the equivalent of every resident of New York City, Los Angeles, and the greater Chicago area jumping ship to reclaim a hefty chunk of the fourteen hours a week most people spend on social media.
And Facebook defection rates are predicted to soar some more, especially among young people.
Ask someone under twenty-five about Facebook. They’ll often say things like, “I’m not on Facebook, my Mom is.”
I want to share a radical idea with you that young-thinking, older creatives are cottoning onto and that is this:
You absolutely can have a financially rewarding art or writing life without Facebook. A life blessed with way more emotional tranquility as a result of not constantly asking yourself “Why can’t I have it all together like her? “
How do I know it’s true you can thrive without Facebook or Instagram or Twitter?
Creative Success Without Facebook is Entirely Possible
I sell my art locally and on Etsy without Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. (Mind you, I’m no Damien Hirst sales-wise but what I do sell is good enough for me).
My blog is successful without Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter thanks to readers like you.
I’ve built a thriving writing coaching practice for artists without Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
And The Charmed Studio Podcast for Artists I launched in 2021 is growing like an oversized science-fiction weed – without Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
And if I can do it you can too!
To thrive without Facebook try following my three Fs.
The 3 F’s to Thriving Without Facebook: Face, Find & Free
Have the Guts To Face The Void
Jaqueline Atkinson got it right when she says that thriving Facebook-free requires we “face the void.”
Look back over your life and remember times you let go of something or someone toxic.
In order to return to wholeness, you probably spent time in an in-between space or void.
(A state anthropologists of religion call the liminal realm)
Voids swirl with two seemingly contradictory things:
- Acres of fresh possibility
- And piles of fears
However, if you face your fears in the void you get rewarded by finding something that makes it all worth it.
This brings us to our second F.
Find Your Dream Alternative
Atkins let go of Facebook, and dove into the void, right?
After acclimating to the fear she looked around with new eyes and found InsightTimer; her ideal platform for connecting with like-minded women and earning income, outside the confines of Facebook.
What fun new way will you find to put the word out about your art if you dive into the Facebook-free void and emerge with new eyes?
“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”- Rumi
While in the void poke around online. Explore what’s sprouted up lately.
Maybe it will be you who leaves Facebook to begin teaching painting on the shiny new platform Level Up?
Also of note is a Canadian online artist mastermind teaching platform called Leveling Up especially good for painters and painting teachers.
Why couldn’t you become a teacher on InsightTimer?
Or you might end up loving StudioDoorz; where artists pay a small fee to be listed on a gorgeous website that sends excited art buyers right into your studio for shopping visits.
Why can’t it be you who starts a podcast or writes a book with all the time you save being off Facebook?
Or maybe you invent your own way.
Get curious, let yourself go toward what excites you; follow your intuition.
Allow yourself to fail, grant yourself unlimited do-overs. You’re the CEO of your art or writing business.
And give it time. With patience and self-love, you’ll succeed soon enough.
“Failing is not a problem you will face. Failing is how you will get there.” – Rich Litvin
We’ve made it to the final F, the most difficult and important F of all.
Free Yourself from False Authority Figures
What must we do to make art fun again? What can we do to get off the post-or-die treadmill?
We must free ourselves from the false authority of pundits (many of whom are marketers, not artists) who love telling us what we HAVE to do.
Deep down we know social media is not the keystone to our happiness, growth, and prosperity- we are.
If you want a more prosperous practice I say don’t speed up. Slow down.
Would you consider trying to work on deepening the potentially fruitful relationships you already are blessed with as opposed to trying to cajole a Like or a sale out of a digital sea of total strangers?
Want some more support on how to slow down and reach out to those who already love you?
Maybe check out:
Turn Your Art Website Into an Attraction Magnet (Without Social Media).
Or listen to The Charmed Studio podcast episode on, How Do I Get More Comments on My Art Blog? 7 Secrets You Won’t Hear Anywhere Else.
Okay, so how about you and I and all of us- hurl the “absence-of-likes” chains that bind us out a big glass window?
What if you dare to pronounce yourself to be the beautiful, kick-ass, courageous artist that you already are?
“Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction.” – Rumi
Remember, you are so much more magical than Facebook.
Because you, my friend, are real.
Got a Question? What Do You Think? Have you contemplated going Facebook Free?
Let me know in the comments below!
*Tin-Foil Hat Confession
I did tentatively try Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for two days back in November of 2017.
But because I’m an introvert I felt overwhelmed by the billions of strangers racing by. And because I’m also a card-carrying tin foil hat type with a fear of data mining (pre-Cambridge Analytica) I freaked after two days, closed my accounts, and ran screaming into the hills. I’m currently trying Pinterest again, but its recent changes bug me. You?
If you want to read about the strategies I stumbled on to make up for opting out of social media see my guest post: 4 Surprising Benefits of a Small Mailing List: How Appreciating the Subscribers You Already Have Can Open the Door to Amazing Things.
I also want to add that since I had to make up for opting out of social media by learning and using holistic SEO to attract my ideal reader to my WordPress blog. Read about Holistic SEO for Heart-Centered Artists here.
Finally, this post is dedicated to artists and Charmed Studio subscribers Spyder Webb for suggesting I write this and Sarah Xiong for inspiring me by breaking free of social media herself this year.
Check out my post, Art Marketing for Introverts. It’s one Alaskan artist’s story of the prosperity and peace she uncovered by doing something surprising you might like to try as well.
How To Get an Artist’s Residency? Don’t Apply For One, Do This Instead
Transform Your Art Newsletter in 3 Questions
How To Put an Email Sign Up Form On Your Site
How Artists Can Make More Money: Without Marketing
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Suhail Mitoubsi says
Thea, I love your articles. And this is a very interesting article. Deborah A. Curtis touched on an important subject “how can anyone be creative, think freely if they truly believe social media is the answer to their success”.
I want to connect with real people, not to connect with robot algorithm. I want to COMMUNICATE with real people, who may or may not share the same interests. For over 30 years, we have been sucked into algorithm.
I try to connect and communicate with people, whether they like my art or don’t. Many people spend a great deal of time and effort to satisfy algorithm – machine codes!
There is nothing stopping you from contacting me, contacting him or her. We don’t have to satisfy algorithm rules and regulations in order for people just to simply communicate. We need to overcome these obstacles that were created for and by robots.
We are not robots!!!
Exactly Suhail, VIVA LA RESISTANCE!!! Throw off the robot overlords. You also may enjoy Charmed Studio subscriber, Nicole Peery’s article on why artists should get off of Instagram. Caution, she does use colorful language.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.
Suhail Mitoubsi says
A great article by Nicole Peery. I’ve never been on FB or IG and I’ve no intention to be. They are definitely not in my world. The information communication era is moving swiftly to robots-focused intelligence. Today, the algorithm is controlling almost all IT communication. To be successful online, you must spend years figuring out the ever-changing complex maze of the algorithm, even for simple human connection.
More to come and it’s already here. The next big thing to invade more of our lives is AI (artificial intelligence). Nobody knows its full impact on us. And like everything else, it has a good side and a bad one too. I’m sure most of us will embrace it strongly until it takes over our lives and then we will realise its other side. Just exactly like social media.
And there is nothing we could do about it.
Sylvia Larkin says
Thea, I am glad you reposted this blog .It’s certainly more relevant now after the recent FB/IG blackout. In addition FB is changing. I see more and more ads, political and (for me) irrelevant posts. Many artists have left FB and are pursuing other sites, like Me We. I realize I will have to make changes to prepare for an alternative but not sure how. My work never attracted the younger crowd to begin with, therefore FB/IG works for me for the time being. I may focus more on my IG account.
Sylvia you are too kind, I “reposted” it completely by accident. I wish Mailchimp had a redo button to retract mistakes. But such is the price of doing your own tech for your blog, sometimes it works, sometimes you make an a** out of yourself. But as to your points, I totally understand your perspective. I am now reading a book called ZUCKED in which the author argues Facebook’s is largely to blame for increasing political division in the US because of its increasing amount of targeted political ads and material to both ends of the political spectrum. I have heard good things about ME WE.
But the great thing about your work is you will always have an enthusiastic buying audience no matter what platform because of the work but also because you take the time to make REAL connections with people -which I think is the best marketing one can do for oneself in whatever field we are in. xo T
Deborah A. Curtis says
Dealing with my spouse’s final years of life with a terminal illness as his 24/365 everything, I was completely immersed in his care and didn’t have time for much social media. I didn’t have a life. Now that he has passed peacefully, I’m ready to get going again. Make a fresh start. I actually found you on Facebook presented by Skinny Artist! As I rethink how to start again, I was reflecting on blogging groups I used to belong to. I don’t like feeling “forced” to participate and to be “held accountable” by following a commenting/posting schedule created by others. As I thought about doing that again, it felt like such a burden, a heavy thing. It felt all wrong for me. I really enjoyed this post. I found it… FREEING. 🙂 It has helped me rethink my unique strategy for 2022. How can anyone be creative, think freely if they truly believe social media is the answer to their success? That may work for MLM’s or other types of businesses but I think we creatives have to get really creative, dig deep, and find our own way to success and happiness.
I am saddened to hear of you losing your husband Deborah but I’m heartened and pleased you found this post supportive to you. Cheers to you having a creative, writerly 2022. You have everything you need to do it.
You know art biz gurus tell artists to post like crazy… this annoys me because the thing is if you have a lot of artists in your blogging list-it’s a bad idea to flood their inboxes. Artists (and I include myself and yourself here) are discerning consumers and sensitive to the hard sell, right? We will unsubscribe if someone posts at us too often, ESPECIALLY if the content is perceived by us as being overly self-promotional. So you are right to go your own way. You can find a hundred other ways to fly. Ways to fly that suit your unique set of iridescent, soulful wings. If I can help in any way feel free to email me with a blogging or any other kind of question. Thea
PS Skinny Artist is a good site IMO. Drew gets it that artists need to make art more than they need to market.
Deborah A. Curtis says
Thank you, Thea. I used to dread the weekly posting schedule, I just wanted to create (like all artist-creatives). I didn’t feel productive at all. I sold when I created relationships with real people. Typically, one-on-one. I was real, they were real. Social media for the most part feels contrived to me. Many are falsely advertising who they are and what they do. I don’t have time to evaluate each connection. I love the idea of a small/tiny list of real people that get me, take time to get to know me… so I in turn can enrich their lives. I just don’t have time to learn the latest and greatest manipulative strategy to sell my art! Not me at all.
Deborah, this is such an important point you make here. Maybe you will do an entire post on it for your blog? It is something so many of us heart centered artists know deep within but it is rarely spoken of out loud online. You are so right, Social media and marketing gurus brainwash people to hop on crazy approval treadmills and make massive amounts of faint connections with faceless strangers . When instead some of us are waking up to the old idea of SLOWING IT ALL DOWN and getting real. focusing on getting to know one another again. And all kinds of miracles spring from slow connections IMO. This is the one of the main tenets behind this blog. Thanks for your bright words and kind heart.
Hello Thea! I’m late in commenting on this, but I saved it and have ruminated on it for some time. While I’m not sure I’m giving up the goose yet ( I enjoy IG and use Creator Studio for posts so FB is needed rn) I AM giving up on the social media rat race and all the pressure that goes with it. After reading this it felt like a weight off my shoulders and reminded me who is in the driver’s seat here. Thanks to you! (PS I have a Gravitar and now it’s not working – another tech issue ! lol)
Well… it did work lol
Hey great gravatar! Beautiful! Congrats on figuring that out, it was a hassle for me to figure it out too!
You indeed are the one in the drivers seat Melissa. And I bet you will soar even higher in your art business and art practice with or without social media. I totally get wanting to stay on Instagram if you enjoy it. Unlike Facebook, it was created as a creative platform, to test out new ideas.
And speaking of tech issues, I have been wrestling with a cloud, the cloud- or whatever it is-for 5 days straight. So you are not alone in tech madness.
Denise McCanles says
Sarah Xiong says
I LOVED this post. So helpful and insightful and encouraging to see others finding success outside of social media. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with it. On the one hand, you can use it to reach many people at once, but on the other hand, it can become detrimental to your mental and emotion well-being if utilized too much or in the wrong way. I definitely struggle with my relationship with social media and how it makes me feel after using it. I’ve since moved away from sharing my work on social media and it has done wonders for my mental and emotional well-being.
So excited to hear you have seen a revivification of your mental and emotional well being-isn’t that one of the grandest of gifts we can give to ourselves? Whatever way we get there, we get there. Thanks so much for inspiring me since the first day we met Sarah. Take care.
Denise McCanles says
This was really great! I don’t sell art on Facebook but I’ve gotten into enough political trouble with my family that I finally had to leave. Not to mention the false information that comes out of Facebook about almost everything. My stress level went down immediately after I escaped from self righteous posts.
Huge step Denise, so cool. It is good to hear that stress levels go down upon leaving. You are not alone on the family strife front, Pew research should do a study on this over the past 5 years or so huh.
Lola (jen) says
social media….friend or foe? Some days I love it (the sales, yes, but also the camaraderie) and other days it is a big grind. I love knowing that leaving it is an option….
Hey Jen, I totally get it. You weave magic on social media. And like your colleague Sylvia Larkin, it’s a financial wellspring for you. You deserve it. And I bet your success there, like Sylvia’s, must be the result of years of hard work and skill-building. It shows. You have achieved a level of proficiency and mastery at it. The thing that drives me nuts is most folks who teach or tell artists HOW TO SUCCEED on social media are not artists themselves. And the strategies they insist artists follow don’t encompass the burnout we feel with marketing. If people like you and Sylvia taught about Facebook success- I would listen.
Sylvia Larkin says
Thank you for the shout out,Thea! I would suggest to people who are burned out on SM, to limit the amount of time they spend on a daily basis. Participating in “Auction Groups” can also be very stressful because it requires a constant presence and lots of promoting. I have been following Mark Shellshear on FB for years. He stresses that artists take videos of their work and promote them daily. His blogs are filled with great advice about selling art. He is not only an artist but also a former gallerist.
Jacquelyn Atkins says
Thank you so much for sharing some of my experience from exiting Facebook, Thea! Your episode was such a delight to listen to.
For anyone considering leaving but who use FB for messaging and connecting with clients, friends, families etc. I’d love to add that I haven’t yet closed my account. I made a public announcement of my departure the week beforehand, encouraging people to stay in touch with me in other ways. Then I changed the header of my business page and personal page so it said I was no longer active but here’s where people could get in touch with me.
By not closing my account it meant that any stray messages on messenger would still find me. Although after more than 3 months FB free, it is actually rare for anyone to contact me that way now. So perhaps closing the account is not far away!
A Facebook free life is definitely a happier life, for both me and my business! 💕
Thanks, Jacquelyn, so glad you liked the podcast. And I will pass on the possibility of not closing the account and leaving a new header and away message with contact info on to Mineke.
Those are great ideas! Thank you for sharing them ….
Rob Anglin says
Your blogs are always so redemptive.
I LOVED “The Prisoner” with Patrick McGoohan.
“We want information.”
“You’ll never have it.”
“By hook or by crook, we’ll get it, Number Six.”
“I am not a number. Who is Number One?”
“You are Number Six.”
I first heard this sequence long ago, so I may be misquoting it.
Since I play with words natively, and had undiagnosed ADD/Dyslexia in my youth, I played with that sequence the very FIRST time I heard it, and came up with:
“Who is Number One?”
“You are — Number Six.”
The clue was there ALL-ALONG.
The numerous versions of “Number Two” who he gradually defeated, lead to his ultimate realization that it was HE, who was “Captain of his own ship” — HE was Number One.
And YOUR message to us is: that FB is not “Numero-Uno” — WE ARE !!!
How liberating !!!
Fortunately for me, I never joined FB. My artist wife (Carolyn Lord — http://www.carolynlord.com) has both a personal and business FB account, but does not bother with Instagram, and most of her art sales are through galleries or Open Studios or other direct outreach to her website, rather than FB. I am NOT saying that folks have not found her though FB, but to my observation, she puts more effort into keeping up on FB than it gives back to her personally or to her art business.
Since my motives for painting are less about sales, and my writing has not-yet been published, I have had no-need for FB. Fine Art Services Online (FASO) hosts Carolyn’s and my websites (mine is: https://www.robanglinart.com) and they do advise us to use Instagram to drive interest in our websites for potential sales —to think of our website as our virtual gallery. So I finally relented a few weeks ago, and have been posting photos and some gouache paintings to Instagram. I have a smattering of followers, and I posted a sequence of photos of a gouache painting — which shockingly did lead to a SALE.
Still, I am a real live human being and NOT A NUMBER. I have other projects such as a fabric shade structure for our roof terrace — so I paint sporadically, and the Instagram algorithms probably dislike my inconsistent posts. No-worries. Instagram is MY SLAVE — not the reverse.
Rob Anglin says
I forgot to mention that Carolyn was approached to become a MENTOR by the folks at Leveling Up (in Canada), and she has loved working with them.
Oh good to know. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them Rob, so your wife’s opinion is further confirmation they are a wonderful platform. Although they have some tough SEO work ahead of them since its so easy to confuse and differentiate the spate of Level-Ups from Levelling Up. I called them LevelUP on the podcast, my apologies LevelingUP!
First off- CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR SALE!!!!!!!!!! How thrilling. May it be the first of many social media related sales for you.
Second-I’m so glad I kept that Prisoner sentence in the comment. I almost edited out thinking I am such an odd duck, and it’s an old, obscure show, so no one will know what the hell I’m talking about. Glad I kept it in because your response was so enlightening. I didn’t know or totally forgot McGoohan was number one all along. How clever of you to have spotted that in the very beginning. I bet you know who did it at the beginning of murder mystery novels too!
Thanks for your support and for commenting. I am over the moon happy that this article helped you remember you are Number One- because you truly are.
Here’s a toast to all us gentle souls remembering that. Cheers.
Kristen Dunkelberger says
Thanks for these thoughts Thea! I bailed on FB a few years ago, and use IG as a way to see art and connect with other artists. As an introvert and general loner, I’m pretty sure that social media is not a good route for me to connect with my target audience. That may be because I don’t know who they are yet. In fact, they don’t know who they are yet either! I mostly focus on my newsletter, which is essentially a semi-private blog. I’ve gotten most of my subscribers from commenting on Sara Genn’s The Painter’s Keys. I applaud those who find that social media works for them, and it’s still putting in the work to build relationships, just like IRL. This post is a good reminder to find your own way out of the many avenues available.
Thanks Kristen, I have never heard of Sara Genn nor The Painter’s Keys.I will check it out right now. You remind me in your comment that commenting on the work of others (on or off social media) builds community and in your case also builds your mailing list, fabulous. You must be improving the lives of readers through your comments. A lot of knowledgeable social media marketers, historians, mythologists , car mechanics, etc answer questions in detail on Quora to gain subscribers to their blogs.
Kristen Dunkelberger says
Beware the rabbit hole of The Painter’s Keys – Sara continues the emails her artist father started many years ago. There are thousands and thousands. BUT! there is amazing insight and information along the way.
I just fell down your rabbit hole. What a wonderful blog. Deep and visually so fulfilling. She’s a gifted writer and the idea of carrying your father’s work is so cool to me. I see she is on Facebook and I’m sure she has healing stuff to say over there which no doubt is of service to so many artists. This is another example that poves that social media has many powerful facets and healing facets. It’s just not right for everyone all the time.
Thank you for writing this. I fantasize about leaving Facebook almost on a daily basis. Why am I still on it then? Well, one reason is that I have friends across the globe that I would lose touch with if I left. Another reason is that I do, occasionally, sell a painting on FB, and I’ve had a couple of exhibit opportunities that might not have happened if the gallerists hadn’t been reminded of me and my work regularly by seeing it on FB. Having said that, I still hate the time suck, the guilt for not responding to everyone who posts something, the comparisonitis, and the sheer overstimulation of ALL those people ALL the time…
But there’s another reason I find social media (and that includes Instagram) ultimately soul-sucking, and that is what I call art overload. There was a time – long, long ago – when looking at good art, discovering new art and artists, was exciting and stimulating. This happened in museums and galleries, in art centers, on art walks, and in personal contact with other artists. By contrast, on social media, you’re exposed to so much art on a daily basis where you’re just the consumer, there is no personal connection, and it’s often a popularity contest. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t know what to paint anymore, because everything has already been done (and better than I can do it), and it’s all on Instagram and Facebook. Not to mention the fact that we, users of social media, are providing free content to a few mega multinational companies…
The few times I deactivated my Facebook account, it was good for my mental health. I’d do it again in a minute, if I could find a way to stay in touch with my old friends and former art business acquaintances. Again, thank you so much for opening up this conversation!
Mineke this is a thought provoking comment. Thanks so much for sharing it. You could reprint your comment as a post on your blog or as a mini essay somewhere else. I am thinking of a possible answer for your quandary in the first paragraph. If any artists out there have an answer for Mineke please chime in, I’m sure it is a common conundrum. WhatsApp doesn’t cut it right?
Also I love the ideas you bring up about seeing art in person vs online, the idea of being a consumer rather than a participant. Another great observation of yours. That really resonates with me.
I wonder if some scientist will do a study, hook people up to electrodes and monitor the brain response of people sitting quietly in front of one piece of actual art vs people scrolling through social media art feed…..You raise the point that social media opens us up to so much more art, (art that needed to be seen btw from fantastic artists of color…and fantastic women artists and other artists under-selected by museums and galleries) but how and where can we form limits on viewing that still allow for incusivity and relief from over-deluging ourself?
Thank you, Thea, that’s a good idea. No, WhatsApp serves a different purpose, for me at least. But it’s also worth considering that there is always a cost: the cost of losing touch with a few old friends and acquaintances, of losing out on potential sales, versus the cost in time, mental health, and even creativity.
Interesting idea, to compare brain waves of people looking at actual art vs. scrolling through their social media feed…
I’m all for inclusivity, too, but I wonder how much social media actually helps underrepresented artists. I, personally, have learned a lot more from and about such artists from podcasts than from Facebook. The difficulty with discussions about social media is that we all live in our own bubbles. The algorithm says: Oh, you like this? Let me give you more of it! I believe the only way to use social media to your advantage is to see it as a tool, and to have very firm boundaries. Anyway, much food for thought here. I’ll go and check out your links now!
Just though of this for a possible suggestion to the issue you mentioned about losing touch with important, friends, aquaintances and colleagues:
Maybe to make a calm, slow exit from FB or other platforms leave a little notebook by the computer and over the next 3 months or so to jot down the names each day of the people who truly add to your life or to the life of your business on FB. These would be folks who you want to stay in contact with post FB. Perhaps reach out to them before you go and inform them where you will be in future? That might calm the worry of leaving great opportunities behind. Just a thought. You will come up with the perfect solution for yourself I’m sure. 🙂
Lauren mantecon says
Coming out of the closet. Love! Have taken your advice, like I always do from your pearls of wisdom . Joined up with Leveling Up – Studiodoorz and now off to investigate heart centered SEO’s and Insight timer.
You are so kind Lauren. Thanks for your support. So happy it helped.
Janet Fons says
I shut down my FB account a long time ago. A real rabbit hole of wasted time. I am still on IG but am very sad it is owned by (you know who) I hate to say his name. I recently listened to a wonderful artist teaching about how to “beat” the IG algorithm and become an influencer (!). This works for her, obviously, she’s teaching classes. The thing is, it’s obvious the rules change often. Today it’s reels, tomorrow it will be something else. I do know that the rules change constantly and therefore whatever you post gets seen by fewer of you followers. I appreciate your take on social media. If it works for you, great. But for most of us it’s a colossal waste of time.
Reels……..whoa…yeah…not having any of it. I listened to a podcast on Reels from someone I trust in podcast land- just in case a subscriber or client might need to know about it but I couldn’t make it through the whole thing and it was only a 22-minute recording. I was walking on the beach with headphones and realized my whole body was tensed rigid, my neck at this odd angle because I was rejecting the incoming info. I loved the idea of Instagram when it first came out this visual playground for us to experiment on. Now it’s experimenting on us.
“(You know who)” lol, you crack me up Janet, I hear you. Yeah, the whole beat the algorithm game is insane, even the manic marketing mavens can’t keep up why should those of us turned off by it have to try? It reminds me of the fantastic, frightening, British sci-fi TV series from the 60s with Patrick McGoohan called “The Prisoner”, where McGoohan is captured brought to this strange island and called “Number 6” and in one great scene he shouts out: “I am not a number, I am a free man!”
Cristina Dalla Valentina says
Dear Thea, this post of yours comes as a breath of fresh air to me! Lately I have really reached a point of exasperation regarding the presence on social networks, which is always heralded as absolutely necessary for an artist, but which for me has only been source of unpleasant comparisons, of sense of inferiority, and of fear of losing something if I can’t post on Instagram even just for one day.
I can confirm that everything I have achieved in my art business has never passed through social media: I have never had direct sales, and even the visualitations on my online galleries have never been helped by Instagram (on which I also have several followers, but it’s like I didn’t have them…) or from Facebook. Other artists may have a different experience, and I know that there are artists that have success through social media: but there are also many like me that find this experience very frustrating and destabilizing. Artists that risk of losing their joy in making art for this.
It’s so good hearing someone come out of the chorus and say what I have been thinking for some time, but I didn’t allow myself to admit. It really gives me courage, dear Thea, and for this post I thank you!
Lately I have already thinned out my presence on Instagram and on social media, but what you write further confirms to me that there are other ways that I have to search to find a way for my art business, or at least to have fun again to be an artist .
Thank you dear Thea, it’s always enlightening to read you! I will recommend this post to my artist friends!
Cristina, I am printing this out and taping it to my refrigerator right now. You and artists like you are the reason I risk making an ass out of myself on the blog. I was scared to write this to be honest, and put off doing this post since ….2017…wow. I could never have gotten an editor to print this article, that’s one reason I started this blog. I started The Charmed Studio for the freedom
to make an ass of myselfof speech. It’s so cool you follow your own history of sales and know what’s what. Like I say to artists if you are selling from it great, but if you’re not and its making you feel like a shadow of your former self, why stay? Don’t lose your joy, it runs like a beautiful clear river through your art, I can see that. You are real and 1000 times stronger than you know. You will find a wonderful alternative I just know it.
It’s like Joseph Campbell the mythologist said in an obscure lecture tape I once hear-I’m liberally paraphrasing here; He said something like: —When you are on the right path, the gods are with you and a chain of invisible hands appears offering their help to you. Strangers will appear with opportunities to get you there, friends will suddenly offer you the perfect kind of opportunity. One after another after another these events and people appear to pull you along the rough bits and ease your way to your new destiny.–
Write me anytime if you have a question or need support in your new avenues of exploration.I’m right here. xo Thea
Cristina Dalla Valentina says
I will never stop thanking you Thea for your sincerity and courage! And as for the Campbell quote, I can truly say that I have already found in you a divine sign that I am on the right path. A big hug! Cristina
Grazie mille Cristina. 🙂 Same here.
Sylvia Larkin says
Thank you for this interesting article, Thea! You are right, Facebook is not mandatory and not right for everyone. For many other artists and myself it works! For years I have been selling successfully on FB, and IG, spending about half an hour daily on social media. A few pieces sold on Etsy and my website, only because I drove traffic from FB to these sites. The problem is that some artists believe that all they have to do is show their art on social media and it will sell. In reality it takes years of building relationships, working on your craft, supporting others and telling your story! I agree that freeing yourself of so called authority figures (who are not artists most of the time) is very beneficial. Ultimately none of these marketing ploys matter. I love the photo of your niece by the way! Perfect!
Ah thanks Sylvia for mentioning the photo. And I had you in mind when writing up the A. answers for the pop quiz. I’m happy Facebook works for professional artists like you. And I had no idea you spend so little time on it daily! But as you say, it takes years of relationship building, working on your art, supporting others and knowing how to succinctly tell your story. Good advice!
Bobbi Dunlop says
So timely, Thea! I’ve been spending less time on FB recently and feeling good about it. It’s not such an automatic anymore. I do use IG mostly and post (only) this to FB which I find simplifies things greatly. I’ve sold work from IG and enjoy the people I follow there so that might be my hold out. I’m going to grab my coffee this morning and dive into your links and recommendations… excited to see some new ideas and possibilities! I’m intrigued and inspired as always reading your newsletters! Thank you!
You are so welcome Bobbi! Yeah, I was reluctant to even mention Instagram in this post because I have so many artist friends who for the most part, actually enjoy it and get inspired by it. I can’t say the same of Facebook.
Instagram was meant for creatives. And I love it when artists use it as a platform to take bold, weird chances on. Thanks so much for introducing me to LevelUp. Maybe have a look at StudioDoorz, and tell me your vibe on it. I think it may spawn a new genre of platforms that might benefit artists who are good at one-to-one interactions with actual physical people. (Artists who rocked the social aspect of craft shows or art fairs.) But everyone is different. Anyway, I so appreciate you and your support.
Bobbi Dunlop says
Hi Again, Thea! You’re so welcome …. funny thing is, I introduced you to LevellingUp.ca not Level Up! I was surprised to see how similar they are, not only in name (art teaching platforms). I’ll check out Level Up, too. I’d highly recommend LevellingUp, for painters 😉 And I definitely will look into StudioDoorz. I’d love to find another platform for my work!
Oops! Oh isn’t that weird, and there is another one call LevelUp Digital that is hiring digital art teachers, wow. Thanks our staff (I mean me) will correct that.
Kevin Doberstein says
I do agree that social media can eat up a lot of time in the precious creating world. With the ever-changing social media environment, it can be hard to keep up. I agree with Carlynne you need to streamline to limit time on the social media platforms. I believe you also need to keep an intricate balance with everything involved in being an artist. And if Facebook isn’t working for you with your artistic pursuits, then maybe a good thing is to limit your time on it. Or leave it altogether. Like someone close to me likes to say, “if it isn’t paying the rent, kick its sorry ass out,” But you also have to keep in mind that social media is a low, monetary way to get your brand out into the public. The hard part is finding that targeted audience.
I hear you Kevin, thanks for commenting I always appreciate it. I love “if it isn’t paying the rent, kick its sorry ass out,” 🙂 My new invisible t-shirt!
I just have a totally different take than most on branding and marketing thats rising up within me very recently.
It’s dawning on me slowly that the targeted audience we seek is close not far from us. If we get smaller not bigger, slower not faster, I think we have a better chance of finding our kind of people. That “art marketing for introverts” article I mention above speaks to that. Instead of casting our line into the overcrowded and often disheartening sea of social media some of us may find if we slow down (have longer conversations with the people we already are blessed with knowing, and create fewer but deeper connections), we may find the gold may have been in our own back yard all along. The more people got to know YOU the more they would buy from you.Just my perspective.
Some artists love and thrive on IG and FB, I would never recommend they leave what’s working for them emotionally and financially.
Kevin Doberstein says
I can’t say that I’m thriving with using social media, but then again, I never worked it with any intensity. I like blogging because it shows the depth (having longer conversations) of the subject. That reminds me, I need to start my next blog post, hee hee.
You are great at blogging! It is in your wheelhouse of genius. And like you said your brand, or branding is important too. You need to have a nice shiny house to invite your kind of people into. I just find I was getting carried away with metaphorical house renovations and it was stressing me out. You may not be like that.It is a tricky balance all of it huh?
I’ve been thinking along these same lines for a while now. I spend way too much time checking my phone but I also DO sell from FB and IG. I sold a sculpture for an artist yesterday via FB and I’ve sold my own work via IG.
I don’t want to let go of those platforms just yet but I want to streamline how I use them. I’m also going back to blogging and newsletters to build my list so maybe I can eventually do less social media. Some of this comes down to my own discipline in leaving the phone out of my studio when it’s painting time. Maybe I need a safe with a timer lock on it to keep the thing out of my hands! Lol
Lol. I can relate. I had to turn my Smartphone into a Dumbphone and shut off my email on there. It worked for a while…But I turned it back on last month and now check my email all the time again. (Facepalm). All these organizational gurus talk about “batching” tasks and only checking email once a day. I wish.
Anyway, I really enjoy your blog and newsletter and look forward to your stories.
Ann Wamack says
I deleted my Facebook account a couple of months ago. I haven’t missed it as much as I thought I would.
In fact, I feel a bit liberated to be done with the gossip and politics and wasting time. I do intend to put that extra time into improving my painting skills.
Thanks for recommending this. I hope more folks take your advice.
Ann that is huge. Congratulations! Yes, you have a great point about the politics end of the picture, what a trying time it has been for family members and friends who are clashing through Facebook. And what a wonderful idea to invest your re-claimed Facebook time in your studio instead. Thanks so much for commenting.
Just found this:
MOST PEOPLE WILL SPEND SIX YEARS OF THEIR LIFE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Broadband Search research published the following eye-popping stats last year:
“It is estimated that the average amount of time spent on social media per lifetime currently stands at six years and eight months. This number results from an equation in which the average life expectancy is compared to the percentage of the day social media consumes. Comparatively, we would spend only a year and 11 months socializing, three years and seven months eating and drinking, and one year and eight months doing housework.”
Your thoughts? It makes me want to shut down my Pinterest account.