Episode 193 – New Markets for Artists / Friend Limits

Continued from last episode…

How was I finding the friends I needed for my zombie army? I was looking for other artists, curators, and people who liked the arts. I started looking at the Facebook pages of people and organizations in the art world, including critics, well-known artists, and galleries and museums. I would then look through their friends and click on the “add friend” button, thinking that those people might have interests similar to mine. If you look at someone’s wall and you like the comments that someone else is making, friend them. That’s what I did, and before long I had an entire army of zombies!

Friend  Limits

Facebook is designed to make you want to connect with other people and make more friends. However, Facebook discourages random friend adding because they want to generate real conversations rather than meaningless lists of friends for gaming purposes. If you add too many friends in a day, Facebook will send you a warning. If you continue to add friends, Facebook will turn off your account and tell you that you broke the rules. I know because it happened to me. You can either start another account at that point or you can appeal, which is what I did. I searched, “What to do when your Facebook account is shut off” online, and I found an email address to which to write an appeal letter. I simply wrote that letter and my account was restored.

More Friends

The rule-makers at Facebook are really not after individuals who are adding too many friends; they’re after bots, which are automated programs that create Facebook accounts and automatically generate friends. Why do bots exist, you ask? Because having a lot of friends actually translates into real value. If you are an artist for example, having many friends is valuable because a lot more people will be seeing your art, and they are potential customers or partners of some kind. If you are a businessperson or corporate employee, you are making friends and mixing business with pleasure a bit, and that could turn into professional advances for you as well as personal benefits. As an artist, you are sharing your work and telling people about what you are doing, just like any person who has a message that they want to share—and the more friends you have on Facebook, the more the message of your art is shared.

In short, the more friends the better, especially friends who are interested in art, because your work can reach the world through them.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 192 – New Markets for Artists / Friends: How to Add Them and Why

Friends: How to Add Them and Why (Dale Carnegie, Pay Attention!)

Having friends on Facebook—as of 2012, you can add up to five thousand of them—is like being on a mailing list. You have the option of inviting everyone in your email address book when you first sign up for a Facebook account. If you haven’t done this yet, you can do it now. Click on the small arrow in the upper right-hand corner of your Facebook page, next to the word “Home.” Select “Account Settings.” Now on the left side of the page you will see the words “Invite Friends;” click on that. Once you do, you can see there are a few options. Either you can enter your email address and password and Facebook will automatically invite everyone from your account, or you can enter in email addresses one at a time. The other way to get Facebook friends is to add them. Once you add a friend, you have to wait for them to accept your request. One way  to find friends is to look at the Facebook pages of people like me, as I have many friends who are artists. I already have five thousand friends, which is the maximum, but I have another page as well. Even if you don’t “friend” me, you can still look through my friends and begin “friending” them if you like. But please do friend me, because that will subscribe you to my Facebook updates.

To illustrate the dos and don’ts of friending, let me tell you how I got involved, reluctantly, in Facebook.

My Facebook Story

My wife and I are a collaborative art team, and our body of work includes visual art as well as performance and conceptual art. We work with different museum directors and curators, most of whom are in New York, though many are not. We know that all the relationships we have in the art world are important and, like anyone, we try to be as sensitive as we can and not burn bridges or make enemies, even if we do not share someone’s opinion or taste.

The story began one day in 2008, when I got a form email saying that I had been bitten by a zombie and asking me to join Facebook. I usually ignored things like that, but this time it was different because it was from a curator I knew and with whom my wife and I had worked. So, reluctantly, to keep up the playing spirit, I joined Facebook.

Playing Games

At first I found frustrating that I had to answer so many questions, but not taking it very seriously allowed me to start getting very silly with it. For a profile picture, I put an image of Harry Potter that I got from the web. I entered joke interests so that it that sounded like I was ten years old. Ultimately, of course, I joined the Zombies game on Facebook, which was the whole reason I had signed up. I invited all my friends and began exploring Facebook, but I couldn’t really figure  it out. I kept getting messages alerting me that I had been bitten by more zombies, and I realized that I had to bite back—which meant that I had to invite a few of my friends to become zombies. The more friends I got to be zombies, the more points I earned, and I became stronger and better equipped to win fights. It may sound silly—or perhaps it won’t to some of you—but even though I thought it was ridiculous, I became addicted to it. I started to really enjoy competing with the friend and curator who invited me to join Facebook and play the game. It was just the kind of meaningless game playing that I had wanted to avoid, but instead I was going on Facebook every day and night to fight zombies and add friends.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 191 – New Markets for Artists / Posting a Photo of Your Art

Posting a Photo of Your Art

To post an image on your wall, click on your name in the upper right-hand corner of your Facebook page. Then you will be looking at your “Wall,” where you can post your own comments and photographs. Really, your wall is like a personal web page, and Facebook makes it easy for you to add content, which your friends can then comment on. Probably the best part of Facebook is how easy it is to post photographs to your wall. Obviously, you’ll want to add pictures of your artwork, but you can also post photos of your studio, or just a photo you took during a walk. Go ahead and post a few photos of your studio or a picture of a tree or a street scene. Begin by looking at your Facebook wall. You’ll notice that towards the top of your page there are four or five words in a row that begin with Share: Status,  Photo,  Place,  and Life Event. Click on “Photo” and a little box will pop up giving you three choices. You can upload a photo, take a photo, or create an album. For now, let’s do the simplest thing and upload a photo. You will be shown a dialogue box that lets you search your computer for a photo. For the time being, make it easy on yourself and choose a photo that is easy to access on your computer. (If you don’t know how to put photos on your computer, have someone help you with that part, and then upload a photo.) Ta da! That was the hard part. Now you are using Facebook and sharing your art.

You will notice that when you posted your photo, you can also enter in a date and place. Entering the date is a great feature because you can post photos of your art a year ago, or at any time in the past, and it will post lower down on your timeline. If you think of Facebook as one super long page or timeline of your life, the photograph dates make sense of the entire timeline. You can back date images that were created years ago, or an event that happened in the past.

You have learned how to like and comment on comments, how to enter a status update, and how to post images of your art. If you stick to the fifteen minutes a day every weekday, then each session you can spend ten minutes commenting on other people’s things and a few minutes uploading a new photo and saying something about it or just posting a status update. This is a powerful beginning, but now is the part where you get to make friends. I discuss how and why to do that below.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 190 – New Markets for Artists / The Community and Reposting

The Community and Reposting

If you want to be noticed and talked about in the Facebook community, then remember to talk more about the community itself. That means spending approximately ten minutes every day looking at the home page or news feed on your Facebook page. It refreshes constantly, so what you see there will always be the latest news, which on Facebook amounts to what people have posted within the last hour or day. Look over it with genuine interest and thought and check off things you like by clicking the word “like” next to the post. If there is a comment or a statement about something, consider writing back a thought or even a nod of agreement and support. If you don’t like to write, consider this good practice. You don’t have to write very much, and you will gradually get better and better at making comments and clicking off the things you like. Doing just this for ten minutes a day on weekdays can really make a difference. You will start to see yourself as in dialogue with the community. Your comments don’t have to be meaningless or trivial, although they can be. You will find that many people are talking about politics. There are always issues and news stories that get people talking and commenting. You can repost or post a link to a news story that you find interesting.

The Ratio to Observe

The ratio of how much time you spend commenting on the news feed to the time you spend talking about yourself or your art should be four to one. This means that for about every eighty minutes you spend commenting on other people’s thoughts and pictures on Facebook, you should spend twenty minutes posting your own content. Or it could be eight seconds and two seconds! I suggest you spend ten minutes a day, every weekday commenting on the news feed, you could then devote a few minutes to posting your own photos or talking about a show you’re having.

This ratio is important because you can use it to determine how you are contributing. This is really the whole concept behind social media, and it is often misunderstood. When you post a photograph of your art on your Facebook wall, which I will explain how to do in just a moment, you will most likely get a comment. When you do, you will make a mental note of who made that comment and you will probably look at their page as well. You might even comment back—not because you have to, but because it is human nature to reciprocate, especially when we’re paid a compliment. So take part in the community, comment on other people’s art and their status updates, and they will comment on yours in turn. The more sincere and in depth your comments are, the more you will receive the same back.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 189 – New Markets for Artists / Posting and Content

Posting and Content

You’ll notice that some posts get more comments than others. If you are ranting about politics, you will probably get some passionate responses. I have experimented quite a bit with different status updates, and I am always surprised by what gets comments. When I post things about my family, I usually don’t get much of a response; when I post about art, I get more of a response; and when I post about just feeling great, I get the most comments of all. Asking questions sometimes gets responses, but not always. I have been posting a lot about an art project of mine lately, and while I have gotten many responses, it was nothing like the flurry of comments I got last night when I posted this: “I am washing the dishes and wondering how you clean between the tines of a fork. It seems impossible or like too much work. Am I crazy?” Everyone started commenting on how to wash a fork. This may not seem useful, but it is, because people commented on it that I hadn’t heard from in a while and a lively and humorous conversation came out of it. Thanks to that status update I re-established contact with those people, and as a result they may notice when I post about my art in the future.

Comments

One of the more interesting things that can happen through Facebook comments is when an argument or discussion develops between people who are commenting on the same post. However, it has been my experience that status updates that express a sense of well-being get the most responses. Most of my friends are artists, and I would not say that most are inclined to be optimistic. But I think that when someone is feeling good, we want to share in their well-being in the hopes that it will rub off—at least that’s my theory. If I write, in my status update, “I love life, I am breathing in deeply today!” I will get at least several responses right away, including comments. I also got a lot of comments when I wrote that I had just gotten a publisher for my book and posted about him handing me an advance check. Many people congratulated me and made other comments. But again, that  was a comment or a status update about celebration, and in general I find that’s what the Facebook community is the most receptive to, celebration. Don’t you think we all want more triumph in our lives? It can’t hurt to make an effort to say things that might make people feel good, because that’s what’s popular! Is it any wonder? I feel that sharing your art is a form of celebration, it is life affirming and  generous.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 188 – New Markets for Artists / The News Feed

The News Feed

The next step is to go to the Home button in the top right-hand corner of your Facebook page and click on it. That home button will take you to what is called the news feed. The page you are now looking at, the news feed, is a list of phrases and photos that people have put on Facebook in the last hour  or  so. If you have added friends and they have been active on Facebook in the past couple of hours, you will see their names and the things they have posted. If not, you will see other people’s postings. This page, the “News Feed,” is the heart of the Facebook community. I will not ask you to spend more than fifteen minutes per day on this. You could do even less and still be very effective in sharing the images that you make. You can look the News Feed over and scroll down it to see if you find anything interesting, like an opinion you agree with (or one you don’t). If you like something you are reading in a short sentence, you can click the little word that says “like” next to it with an image of a thumbs-up. This is what it means to “like” someone or something on Facebook. You should know that you always have the option to “unlike” something in the future if you wish. Take your time to read through this page. This is where everyone is, making it the most interactive page on Facebook. You can make connections just by “liking” other peoples’ pictures and pages and making comments. If you get lost somehow, just click the “home” button again at the top right of the Facebook page, and you will be back on the News Feed page.

The Facebook Community and You

Commenting on other Facebooks users’ posts is very important at this stage, and I will explain why. The reason you are getting involved in Facebook at all is the same as the reason for building your website: You want to get your art “out there,” you want to connect with as many people who are interested in your art as possible, you want more possibilities. In short, you want new things to happen for you and your art. What makes Facebook special is that it comes with a built-in community, and you can and should take part in that community. In fact, in order to make it work, you have to participate. It’s really a simple give and take. If you want people to like you and your art, then you have to be interested in other people and other people’s art as well. This should come as a relief to anyone who has heard others criticize social networking platforms for making people less social and less generous. In fact, if you are checking out your Facebook home page and looking through the News Feed and liking and commenting, you are being social, and people notice. Yes, that’s right—they do. You can tell because when you post something, even if it is a status update about your breakfast, when someone comments, you notice. When someone either “likes” your comment or writes back, you are notified by email and it also displays on your Facebook page. This is the equivalent of throwing a bottle with a note in it out to sea and seeing if you get a response; if you get a response, you are definitely going to read it.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 187 – New Markets for Artists / Privacy Concerns

Privacy Concerns

I want you to enjoy Facebook and find it easy to use, but the privacy settings are up to you. No matter how secure the billion-dollar network  of Facebook  may be, hackers  can find a way to access your personal information or fool you into signing up for silly Facebook games that could end up being a problem. I am not trying to scare you, but we are all taking a risk by putting our information out there. At the same time, you are an artist, and that is part of your mission, to show and exhibit your art, your writings, and your interesting self, and you can’t share all this with the world without incurring some risk.

Adding Friends

Now it’s  time to begin using Facebook and adding friends. If you have added a photo and some information, go to the bottom of the screen and click the button that says, “save changes.” You will also be asked if you want to invite your friends. If you provide Facebook with your email account it can send messages to all of the email addresses associated with your account to ask all contacts if they want to join you on Facebook. You can do this at any time. If you are not sure whether you want to invite all your friends, just wait until later, and click “skip” on that step.

Begin Using Facebook

When you are logged in to Facebook, you will see there are two words in the upper right hand corner of the screen: “Home” and your name. These are the two main portals that you can use to navigate all of Facebook. You will split most of your time between Home and your Profile, which is the button with your name on it. For now, click on the “Home” button. Now look near the top of the page, and there is an empty field that says, “What’s on your mind?” Stop. Now click on the “Profile” button which is your name, and locate that similar empty field at the top of the page. It is the same field, and you can use it to enter a short phrase about anything or a link to an interesting video, article, etc. Stop now and write something in that space. It’s simple; just do as it says and write whatever is “on your mind.” You could write, “I am becoming a Facebook Jedi Master though I am still a Padawan.” Or you could say something very casual, like “Just turned on the new air conditioner!” After you type in your first phrase, click the button that says “Post.” Hitting your return or enter key is not enough; you have to actually click the post button. Once you’ve done that you will have sent out your first “status update.” You can use your status updates to tell people about an art project you are working on to a dream you had or a show you saw recently that was particularly good.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 186 – New Markets for Artists / Logging In to Facebook

Logging In to Facebook

Go to Facebook.com and bookmark the site in your browser. Click on the sign-in button and enter your email address and your password for the account. (If you have a password program that collects passwords, save this one.) Once you are signed in to Facebook, you’ll see a bar on the left side of your screen that shows how much you have left to do to set up your account. There is usually a single bar graph that shows you how much you have to do to complete the process. You might be thinking, Hey, I already signed up! but you still need to add your photos and more information to flesh out your page. It’s a lot like creating a web page. To do this, go to your profile, look for the word “edit,” and click on it. If you can’t find that word, just let your mouse hover over or near the word “profile” without clicking it, and you will usually see an edit button there.

Editing Your Account

Once you’ve begun editing, one of the first things you’ll be asked to add is a profile photograph, and a timeline photograph at the top. This is fairly easy to do. There is a button after you click on the words, “add your photo” that says “browse.” Click on that browse button. Now you are looking through the files on your computer for an image. The picture you choose for your profile picture will be the one that is most seen by people but it will also be displayed at a very small size most of the time. This picture does not have to be a picture of you. It could be of your art, your dog, your town—anything at all—and you can change it as often as you like. There will be more questions to answer before your profile is complete, but you do not have to put up any more photos yet, other than one more for the top of your page which is the biggest image. Seen on your page initially. So use your art here or something beautiful. You will have to crop it into a landscape, horizontal image, but it is the same process as your profile photo.

As you move down the list of things Facebook is asking you to complete, you will see areas where you can fill in your education and interests. I would only fill in the essentials. It is good to put down your real university if you attended one because Facebook is one of the best ways to keep track of and get in touch with your former classmates. At the same time, it’s good to know that you can block people you do not wish to talk to. Privacy and stalkers are taken very seriously on Facebook, and there are many controls to allow you to limit what can be seen of your personal information, and it’s easy to change your privacy settings.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 185 – New Markets for Artists / How to Figure Things Out on Your Own

How to Figure Things Out on Your Own

Here is some advice on how to use your computer to figure out things that you don’t understand. Make believe that your computer is like a ‘70s sci-fi machine that knows everything. If you are intimidated by the thought of opening a Facebook account, just go to Google.com and type “how to open a Facebook account” into the search bar. Your results will be a combination of pictures, videos, and articles. I tend to choose the videos because they are usually YouTube videos made by users who walk you through the process in a very visual way. Some are better than others, but I find that this is a great way to learn something; it covers the specifics without getting too complicated. If my computer is acting strange and having specific problems, like displaying a specific error message, I might type into the search bar, “My Mac computer keeps saying there is an error. What is a kernel panic?” I often get the answer to my questions very quickly this way.

Opening a Facebook Account

Your next step is to open a Facebook account. You can open a new one if you have one already, but let’s just say, for the sake of illustration, that you are opening an account for one person, yourself, for the first time. Go to Facebook.com and you will be asked if you want to sign in or create a new account; in this case, you want to create a new account. You will be asked for your real name, and because Facebook is kind of like a phone book for the twenty-first century, it is good to use your real name if you want people to be able to find you. You could specify that you would like your name to be unlisted, just like in the old phonebook, or you could make up a last name or create a pen name. This is just an option. To start, I suggest using your real name. This will be the most advantageous for you, because you will be meeting people and in most cases you want them to remember your name, not your made-up name.

Private Information

After you enter your name, they will ask for your birth date. If you are concerned about this, you have a few choices here. You can either lie about your birth date and say you are one hundred years old or something, or you could put in your real birth date. If you put in your real birth date, you can also check a box that says not to

display it on your profile. This way you know that it will never be available to the public. Because Facebook is built on personal information, it helps to share it, but of course it is your choice—and although it’s big right now and it does not look like it will pass anytime soon, you can opt out of this system altogether if you like. Having said that, I recommend creating an account and just sharing as much information as you’re comfortable with.

The password you will be asked to create should be unique. Make it different from the one on your email address, please! This is a big warning; I have written a whole chapter, the next one, on passwords, but for now, take my word for it that your password for Facebook has to be different, and hard to memorize!

The process of signing up will not take long, and you will be asked to confirm via email verification, which means to send back another email or click a link in order to confirm that your email address is valid. Once your account is activated, the fun begins.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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Episode 184 – New Markets for Artists / Website Ranking

Website  Ranking

You have probably heard about “website ranking,” which determines how likely it is for your art website to come up in online search results. Those rankings are determined in part by how often the content changes on your website— that is, how often you put up new images. If you don’t make those updates every day, your website will not be ranked very high.

But do not fear; it is still valuable to have a website, and I’ll explain why. If you have a website already there is really only one thing you need to do at the moment, and that is to make a link on the first page of your website to your Facebook and Twitter accounts (more on those in a bit). You may decide to change your website at a later date, but for now, let’s keep it simple; just leave it as it is but add links to get people to go to your Facebook page and Twitter account. Your webmaster can easily do that for you once you have set up accounts, or you can try to do it yourself.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.

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