Episode 212 – Facebook: Setting Up Your Account

Facebook

This is the platform almost everyone has heard of, and it has ushered in a whole new age and changed the way we manage information about our friends and relatives. For artists, it has created a new way to share images and information. Facebook also turned a college student into a billionaire CEO, who wears jeans and a casual shirt in place of a suit. The meteoric rise of Facebook seems likely not to be short-lived, as we are all contributing to it by providing Facebook not only with our own personal information but with our friends’ information, too. Facebook is constantly evolving, updating itself every day in an effort to balance an uncluttered user experience with advertising revenue needs and privacy concerns.

Facebook: Setting Up Your Account

After signing up for Facebook with a secure  password  you can enter some information about yourself, which, for the time being, I would keep to a minimum: just your name and your college, or as little as is necessary for you to move forward. Once you are set up on Facebook, you will notice that you have no friends. When you’re first starting out on Facebook, the main  goal  is to add  friends.

You can do this automatically by letting Facebook use your address book to send invites to all of your friends, or you search for and add people you know on Facebook one by one. As you look at a friend’s page, you can look through all of their friends, and chances are you share a friend or two. Those are the people you can start adding right away. Those friends-of-friends are the new friends you are making. Once you have added them, they have to accept you as their friend and then that’s it. The next step is to write something at the top of your page every time you sit down and look at Facebook. This is the “status” and it shows up as an empty text field. Make it easy on yourself and start by saying something inconsequential, like, “I just ate lunch and am going for a walk.” Write something new once a day or every time you look at Facebook. You will notice that people will comment on what you have said and you can reply to those comments, starting a conversation.

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.

Episode 211 – Twitter as a Powerful Tool

Twitter  Conversations

A Twitter conversation might begin this way: “Art critics are often frustrated artists grinding their axes on new artists seeking approval from them. Do you agree?” That’s a bit under 140 characters, but it’s a conversation starter that will get other people going, meaning they will tweet back a response. Or someone might forward your tweet, or “retweet” as it is called, sending your question out there for a response.

Twitter as a Powerful Tool for Social and Political Change

Initially, tweets were mocked by journalists as meaningless clutter. But after the disputed presidential elections in Iran  in June of 2009, Twitter enabled protesters to mount huge demonstrations and coordinate their efforts. It was such a valuable tool for the protests that the U.S. State Department called the founders of Twitter and asked them not to do their scheduled upgrade—which would make Twitter unavailable for several hours—so that Iranians could continue organizing protests around the disputed election. When it was suggested that the U.S. was meddling in Iran’s affairs, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, “This is about giving their voices a chance to be heard. One of the ways that their voices are heard are through new media.” Since then, Twitter has been seen as a powerful new tool for getting messages out to the world and even changing the world as a result. Now news agencies and just about every celebrity has a Twitter account.

Serious  Literature

In the world of literature, Twitter has also given rise to new forms of writing that are now considered legitimate, like the Twitter haiku, or “twaiku.” Some major writers, like John Wray, have used Twitter to create serious literature.

For two years, John Wray, the author of the well-regarded novel Lowboy, has been spinning out a Twitter story based on a character named Citizen that he cut from the novel, a contemporary version of the serialization that Dickens and other fiction writers once did.

“I don’t view the constraints of the format as in any way necessarily precluding literary quality,” he said. “It’s just a different form. And it’s still early days, so people are still really trying to figure out how to communicate with it, beyond just reporting that their Cheerios are soggy.” (Mr. Wray’s breakfast- food posts are, at the very least, far funnier than  the usual kind: “Citizen opened the book. Inside, he found the purpose of existence expressed logarithmically. From what he could tell, it involved toast.”)

The New York Times

So Twitter is now recognized as a tool for creating art and literature, and is thought of as part of that world. However, whether writers and artists play with it or try to rise above   it, there is the daily-nonsense aspect of Twitter. This usually consists of Twitter users’ domestic minutiae (or worse), which is the opposite of good literature. Since both types of tweeting—the artful and the mundane—can draw huge numbers of followers, it’s important to consider both to be valid.

Having said that, it falls to you to decide at some point how you will use Twitter. You can start by experimenting. Send out anything at all, and then look at what other people are sending out. As you’re looking through other people’s tweets, you might find some that you like. You have the option of resending these as your own; that is, as mentioned above, you can retweet someone else’s tweet. Once you’ve grasped that, you are well on your way to becoming conversant. It may seem difficult, but it is really a very simple system to use for passing tiny bits of information around.

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.

Episode 210 – Show and Tell

New Platforms

Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Instagram, four- square, WordPress, phone apps, iPad apps, Google AdWords, Facebook ads, and many other new technologies can’t be avoided because they’re part of a new language that everyone is using. They are ways of reaching out to the world to share your ideas and images. I wouldn’t say that it’s about “promoting” your work; I would say, again, that it’s more like show and tell, just the way you might have done it when you were little. As an artist, either you show the world your work, or it doesn’t exist.                                 

Show and Tell

You may be prolific, but if people can’t see and enjoy your art, then what is it for? These new platforms are simply a way to exhibit your work on the web. Each platform has its own nuances and tools that make it valuable in its own way. Rather than getting overwhelmed by it all, there are new programs that combine it all for you, so you don’t need to spend more time using social media than you want or need to. We will now discuss how you can integrate these platforms and come up with a general plan for how to begin.

Twitter

This is the networking platform that almost everyone has heard of. It has been credited with aiding revolutions like  the ones in Egypt, Libya, and throughout the Middle East. It has also helped to draw in crowds at openings and it is now quoted regularly in papers of record, like the New York Times. Using Twitter means sending and receiving short messages of no more than 140 characters, or “tweets.” Most tweets are either meaningless babble or conversations. For example: “I am eating breakfast in my studio and some oat- meal fell on a painting and I think I like the way it looks, I might call it My Breakfast Art.” That is exactly 140 characters—the maximum allowed—and of course most people write much less.

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.

Episode 209 – Monetizing Your Idea

Monetizing Your Idea

After brainstorming together, we came up with some examples of how it could be turned into money: writing a popular book about it, making it part of a fundraising activity, or doing it as a publicity event for a business or organization. We could also try making stickers, posters, and other related products, which could be sold, and documentation that could also be sold as visual art. The other term he mentioned was “repurposing,” which means taking one product, let’s say bars of soap, and finding another purpose for it. In the soap example, there was a famous marketing strategy in which a soap company sponsored soap-carving  contests

in schools; thus, the soap was repurposed as a sculptural medium, and sales of the soap increased, as did the visibility of the brand. That is how businesspeople think when they are really good at what they do. These kinds of people should be enthusiastic and excited about your work, because art, and the selling of it, is new to most of them.

This chapter deals with new technologies that can be of use to artists. Creative businesspeople are the inventors of these tools, and they are a lot like you. We will talk more about how to approach them in later chapters, but my story serves to remind you that they can be on your side. They might even surprise you with their openness to your ideas. Creative ideas from creative people are always in demand, and the best entrepreneurs know that artists are at the center of creative ideas.

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.

Episode 208 – Businesspeople and You: What You Have in Common

Businesspeople and You: What You Have in Common

Part of what I do as an artist is talk to people who can help me realize projects. They are often wealthy people who are involved in some kind of business, like private bankers, investors, and developers. I always thought of those kinds of businesspeople as the polar opposite of creative people like myself; in fact, I not only thought that they were not creative, but worse, that they only thought about money and were generally unsympathetic to artistic ideas. I had some evidence to prove that point, but that was because I was talking to people who weren’t at the highest level of the business world, which is where things really get creative.

A Business Lunch That Didn’t Work

To give an example of what I’m talking about, when I first had a major show at the Whitney Museum, I asked a friend who was a printer and had earned enough to have a huge house with a pool and various luxuries to have lunch with me. I wanted him to print a small catalog for me for free; in other words, I wanted his printing company to sponsor it. We met at a restaurant, and I explained that I was getting this major show in the Whitney Biennial and that I wanted him to produce the catalog. I told him I would be giving performances at the museum with my wife and that we would be giving out foot washings, hugs, and bandages. I explained this was a major show, like the Oscars for art or something, and that it would get a lot of press. He kept trying to fit my art into his world. He would say things like, “Oh, so the performance is getting you publicity so you can sell your art?” I explained that the performance was the art, and that there was nothing to sell. He didn’t understand that, and he told me that he couldn’t help with printing because he didn’t have that much money. I was disappointed and chalked it up to the “fact” that businesspeople don’t understand the arts and creativity.

A Business Lunch That Did Work

Then I met another businessperson, a private banker who worked with a variety of companies. He helped the companies he worked for to restructure their businesses and invest properly in order to increase their earnings. When I sat down with him in his office (a few years after sitting down with my printer friend), I found that he was fascinated by the art I was doing with my wife. Even though there was nothing to sell, he felt it could be “monetized” somehow. He was enthusiastic and talked about “repurposing the performance.” What did those things mean, I wondered, and why was he so enthusiastic? He was enthusiastic because it was a new idea he hadn’t heard of, and it was an exciting challenge for him, creatively, to figure out how to make it a success. When he said “monetize” he meant the process of turning a free performance into money. I had never thought that way.

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.

Episode 207 – New Markets for Artists / Using Social Media Platforms for Sharing Art

Chapter 4

Using Social Media Platforms for Sharing Art

New Internet-based markets and social networking force us into a dialogue with them, no matter what our stance on this new plugged-in culture is. This chapter will provide an overview of the new social platforms that are changing the world and their importance and relevance to the arts. I will go over some of the basics from the introduction to Facebook in Twitter in chapter 2, but the coverage here is meant for users who are already familiar with these platforms and are ready to move on to more advanced techniques.

Lady Gaga and Obama

What do Lady Gaga and President Obama have in common? They both use social media in a masterful way. In 2011, Lady Gaga was the number-one celebrity, ousting Oprah Winfrey from the top spot, in much the same way that Obama defeated Hillary Clinton by outspending her in campaign advertising. When Barack Obama was running for president he lacked support from the top democrats, whereas Hillary Clinton had those connections because of her time in the White House. That alone was daunting for an underdog like Obama, but he chose a highly effective campaign tactic focused on social media and getting small donations of $50 dollars or less in great quantities. Of course it worked, financially and practically, because he had much more to spend on his campaign as a result. Lady Gaga is in that position because of her talent but also because of her use of social networking. She has attracted millions of fans through her Facebook page and Twitter, and she posts regularly to feed the interest of her growing fan base.

Social media platforms, both established and emerging, are not going to disappear anytime soon. This is your primer on making them work for you, so that you can harness the power that Lady Gaga and President Obama are using to bolster their tremendous success without spending money. As an artist, you are a creator, an inventor, and an innovator. You have that in common with some of the greatest business minds in the world today.

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.

Episode 206 – New Markets for Artists / Write It Down If Necessary

Write It Down If Necessary

The other, old-school solution to remembering passwords is to write them all down somewhere. Because passwords tend to change and be added to over time, it is easiest to write them down in a word  processing document on your computer. I recommend either keeping that document in a safe place or uploading it to a private site that can store it for easy retrieval. One free service, which comes with a Gmail account, is Google Docs. This allows you to post documents privately on the web without sharing them. Also, Google Chrome is a great browser and is now incorporating a free system that remembers all your passwords for you. If you use that browser, it is something to consider. If you lose your computer, and can sign into your Gmail account, open Google Chrome, and everything will be back, bookmarks, passwords, everything. Again, that first Gmail password better be a very tough one to remember!

Final Warning

I could write more about passwords; in this age of online shopping and communicating, passwords are the keys to everything we have—and in a hacker’s hands, those keys can be used to steal your money, hassle your friends and relatives, and ruin your day in more ways than you might imagine. So take a precautionary step and save yourself some heartache by making your passwords stronger, and making them all different, especially the passwords to your email accounts. Then decide how you will manage passwords in the future. Use a service like Xmarks or 1Password, or save them using a Google Docs or by writing them down on paper or typing them into a word processing document. Just choose a method that you can stick with in the years ahead.

Last Note on Phone Ads That Silently Steal

Another type of cyber crime comes in the form of smart phone adware that adds a charge to your monthly bill without your knowledge. That means, just for clicking on an ad, not buying anything, you could have a recurring charge on your bill. To avoid this, you should either avoid clicking on ads altogether when using your smart phone or call your cell phone carrier now and tell them that you want all ad-based purchases blocked on your phone. That means you could still buy from Amazon and eBay but you wouldn’t be able to accidentally add a $9.99 recurring charge to your cell phone bill that you didn’t want!

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.

Episode 205 – New Markets for Artists / How to Remember Passwords

How to Remember Passwords

The next question to resolve is how are you going to remember all your passwords if they are meant to be impossible to remember and they’re all different? I use a program that remembers all my passwords on multiple computers called Xmarks. There are other programs, but of course you have to trust them. The best way to evaluate the trustworthiness of password storage programs is to look up reviews and see which ones get the best ratings and comments. For example, LastPass, KeePass, and 1Password are all good programs, and you know that you can trust them, because they have gotten plenty of reviews. The point is that you will have all of your impossible-to-remember passwords stored in one secure location, which you can access using only one password. That means that you only have to remember one—ever. It also means that the password you pick for your password storage account has to be fantastic. No kids’ names, birthdays, pets, or anything else; pick something really good and practice remembering it, or write it down in a secure place.

If you look at a service like 1Password, which has a yearly fee (and is totally worth it), there is more there to help you. Even after you have stored all your passwords securely, you may still find that they are not very strong. Every time you enter a password, 1Password asks you if you want to save it, then asks you if you want to generate a better one. It can automatically generate a new, stronger password, and it will remember it. That’s very useful, because you can change all of your passwords to random combina- tions of letters, numbers, and punctuation, like
*?tHc#2@knYbsL$jk9x. Passwords like that mean increased security, and with the aid of programs like 1Password, you can have them memorized across different computers and devices. That should help you sleep well at night.

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.

Episode 204 – New Markets for Artists / Your Address Book

Your Address Book

I know this doesn’t simplify things for you, but if you are going to dive into the world of social networking and online shopping, you have to protect yourself against identity theft and other types of cyber crime. As soon as someone gets hold of the password to your email account, they can send messages to all of your friends, and they can hang on to that list even if you get your account back. You have

probably experienced this before: You get a message from a friend or relative’s email address with a link that sends you to the site of a Canadian pharmacy or similar. That’s why you want to prevent having your email hacked, so be sure to use a unique password for your email address and everything else. Make an extra effort to choose passwords that are strong and difficult to remember. That is the only way to protect yourself. Anything less is taking a risk—a big risk.

Multiple Account Mistakes

Think about what happens 90 percent of the time: You have ten, twenty, or many more accounts on the web, and you can’t remember different passwords on all of those. So you make the first big mistake by choosing something memorable like “123456789,” or the name of your pet, or “qwerty.” But just as there are top keywords and phrases that people search for online, there are lists of top passwords that are used. That means that anyone who knows how to program a computer to sign in to hundreds of accounts automatically can use trial and error successfully by experimenting with all the passwords. So if you have one of the top one hundred most popular passwords, or even the top one thousand, you are in trouble. The risk is real, and I think we have an obligation to also protect our friends and family members whose emails will be spammed and worse if our account security is breached.

Impossible-to-Remember Passwords

The answer, again, is creating passwords that are impossible to remember, full of upper and lowercase letters as well as numbers and punctuation—for example 7jfYf@fj#Xv0o2. That’s a good password, and very hard to remember. Sometimes people will try to create strong passwords by using the “at” symbol or a 3 to replace a letter, as in “s@yg00dby3” and “s0cc3rRul3s,” both of which are not good passwords because they are relatively common, believe it or not.

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.

Episode 203 – New Markets for Artists / Passwords and How to Make the Best Ones

Chapter 3

Passwords and How to Make the Best Ones

In order to use any of these platforms you need to create an account. You’ll probably use your real name and you’ll entrust the site with your personal information. All of that seems safe, at the moment. Of course, online security is an issue that you should be aware of. As you create passwords for accounts on websites that draw money directly from your bank or credit card, like Paypal and Amazon, there is a reason for concern. Passwords are the targets of hackers, who steal more than a billion dollars from corporations and individuals every year. This is one of the main drawbacks to getting involved in online business of any kind. For me, the advantages have outweighed that drawback. But you need to be aware of how to protect yourself so that you are not vulnerable to attacks. By attacks I mean  not only attacks to your bank account, but to all of your friends’ email accounts as well. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. I am not trying to scare you off though, because it is easy enough to protect yourself well.

Tools to Stop Hackers

Here are a few rules to follow when creating your passwords. One: Don’t use the same password everywhere. That is a very common error. All a hacker has to do is to get you to sign up for something like a gift or a prize or some other site and create a password. It’s a safe bet that the password you’ll create for the website the hacker owns is the same password you use for everything else. That is a very simple scheme, but it illustrates the importance of creating different passwords for different accounts. Also, you should mistrust any sites that ask you to sign in and create a password unless you are fairly sure they are legitimate. Don’t panic; I know you already have ten or more similar passwords. Change one at a time, especially your Gmail and Facebook account passwords to something very hard or impossible to remember, and write it down! Change one today.

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.