Content Crimes: How You’re Misbehaving Online

As I wrote last week, you could waste a lot of time online if you’re not paying attention.

Let’s look at this subject a little closer so that we’re not just looking at where you’re wasting time, but at how you’re harming your art career goals.

Content Crimes When Sharing Your Art Online

My friend, Cynthia, calls them content crimes. Nobody is going to throw you in jail for committing these transgressions, but you might check yourself into rehab when you decide to do something about it.

Here are the top 4 content crimes you might be committing.

Content Crime #1: You’re inconsistent.

You sent a newsletter for a few months and then nothing. Nada. The big zippo.

You tried blogging for a while … um … whenever you felt like it.

You heard that artists were selling art from Facebook, so you built a business page and put a few pictures up. It’s just not working for me, you claimed. Waste of time.

If you are truly excited about your art, you’ll share it repeatedly, even if you think nobody is listening, because you believe in yourself. You don’t give up.

If you do give up, I’m led to believe …

Content Crime #2: You’re not ‘all in.’ You’re not committed.

I believe that either you’re an artist or you’re not. You’re not “sort of” an artist. [Tweet this]

When you’re “sort of” anything, it’s hard to inspire people with your teaching or your art. It’s nearly impossible to inspire others when you’re not inspired yourself.

We don’t follow “sort of” anyone. We follow people who enrich our lives and who give us something that no one else has offered.

We buy art from artists who are 100% committed. We aren’t buying just the art. We’re buying a piece of the artist.

People can tell when you’re not all in.

Decide: Are you all in? How does this manifest in how you show up in the world?

Content Crime #3: You don’t post about your art enough.

Maybe it’s just because of my line of work, but it drives me batty when I go to an artist’s social media site and never see their art. Or I click on their blog button and have to scroll to see their art.

You’re an artist. Share your art!

There are many aspects to sharing your art, from the work in progress to the finished piece to the installation or use of it.

If you’re not “sort of” an artist and are making art almost every day, you should have more than enough content to photograph, to video, and to write about.

Content Crime #4: You’re ignoring your list.

Social media is easy and, you think, unobtrusive. It’s pretty safe. So you post there and hope people find you..

Meanwhile, the people who have gone out of their way to give you their email address are waiting … and waiting. That list is growing cold and forgetting about you.

The people who have bought art from you and who have signed up to receive your messages and postcards expect to hear from you.

They signed up because they want to hear from you.

You’re relying too much on social media and not sending love to the people who have asked to receive it.

Yellow Line

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9 comments to Content Crimes: How You’re Misbehaving Online

  • I may be guilty of #3 on occasion, but I think I’m doing ok with the others 🙂

  • “I believe that either you’re an artist or you’re not. You’re not “sort of” an artist.”

    Or perhaps you’re an artist, and care deeply about your work, but you get blindsided by life. I used to sell professionally, but these days I can make work and blog only sporadically — sometimes very sporadically — due to chronic illness and the demands of caretaking a spouse with progressing Parkinson’s Disease. I agree that people who are actively selling and serious about making a career of it need to be consistent and keep a professional presence online. However, I disagree with your assertion that I (and those like me in similar situations) should no longer be entitled to an identity as an artist at all.

    • I sympathize with your situation, but I doubt Alyson was making a statement that was set in stone. Many artists like to do lots of projects. They get excited about it for time and then quit. In part they no longer show up for work. That being said, I too have been on the side of caretaker, and even though the daily weight of that has been shifted I still spend almost the equivalent of a work day each week visiting my Mother in a nursing home which is a necessity. If I didn’t she wouldn’t be alive today. I teach art classes as well and with all my other responsibilities it does not allow time for me to delve into social media platforms like Facebook. ( For now I cringe at the thought) I do have a blog and like you my writing and posting is sporadic, but I try to do something each month, not each week and I try to send out news a couple of times a month to my email list. I sell also on eBay which is sort of social as I’m building new clients.
      In the work place there’s something called a leave of absence where an employee leaves the work force for a time and then return. It applies to artists. You’re still an artist (your identity) but you’re on a reduced work schedule or in the case of illness, you’ve had to take a leave of absence.
      I did write a post that you may find of benefit. It’s called Finding Beauty in Small Things. It was about care giving. There’s a trait that artist’s have that when applied can help even in this situation.
      http://hagermanart.com/blog/finding-beauty-small-things/

    • Ellen: It sounds to me like you’re totally committed. There’s nothing “sort of” about you.

      I did say that inconsistency leads me to believe that someone might not be committed, but there certainly are life circumstances that account for inconsistencies.

      Your spouse is very lucky to have your support. And I know this experience will inform your art somehow – if it hasn’t already.

  • mel

    Dang. On one hand, I’m pretty consistent with the things that have a set schedule (monthly newsletter, weekly youtube), but I still feel like a “sort-of” artist.

    A lot of it is a mental health thing, so a lot of the time I’m low-energy and feel so invisible in general that I make or send out superficial content even though the only sign that someone is reading it is a statistic or an occasional comment, or a “like”.

    A few times a year I get into an almost “happy” kind of mode where I’m really productive and end up posting pictures online every day in great bursts of, like, a week, and then it’s gone. ha!

    I wish I could be super personal and make people feel like they really KNOW me, because that seems to be a really good trick, at least online. But not even my closest friends know me so it’s hard.

    I like to tell myself that it’s because of my day job that I don’t do the things I’m “supposed” to be doing (applying to shows, painting everyday) but that would be lying to myself!

    • Hi Mel,
      I just visited your website and your work is beautiful! I believe that we artists self-select. That means that only you get to decide if you are a “sort-of” artist or an “emerging artist” as your bio states. When I looked at the gallery of your work, I saw a real artist and really lovely work. Decide it in your heart first to show up as an artist – even if it’s only a few times a year. I wish you the best in your work.

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