"One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls."Khaled Hosseini
I have broken through to the other side and have a thousand followers on Instagram. It seems like a pyrrhic achievement. What’s the big deal? It’s not the affirmation that people might think I’m cool, successful, hot, or hip. After all, there are plenty of Instagram stars. Taylor Swift probably has the same number of followers as Warren Buffet has dollars. I'm not interested in convincing anyone that my life is glamorous or that my thigh circumference is perfect. My feed is simply about my studio and the visual delights that I stumble into, and inspire me, and my creative life. And occasionally, something personal that intersects with my virtual visual cabinet of curiosities. So my pleasure in hitting 1K is about connection to, and with, a creative community who want to swap images and ideas like baseball cards.
Here is what I’ve observed:
- I have discovered that there is a rich community of artists and visionaries that proliferate outside of the sanctioned art world who make exceptional work. Most of them have tidier studios than mine. There are many interesting voices out there that I would otherwise miss.
- I can now toss around phrases like organic reach, influencer and audience engagement with impunity and earn eye rolls from my teenager.
- I'm still baffled by the “follow / unfollow” trend!
- I'm still baffled by all the thong selfies who follow me -- not a fit.
- I’m not sure it's such a good thing to have this quasi-literacy, and not, say, be fluent in Italian instead.
- Launching on all of these social media platforms takes a great deal of time.
- To preserve your time as an artist, you need to consider hiring someone who is a professional in this world. I did this instead of buying likes. My words and images are my own of course, but I would never get anything done as a wife, mother, artist, gardener, advocate, farm manager, writer's residency host (to name a few), if I had to market and post everything. If you can afford it, do it. If you cannot, consider a trade or possibly using a virtual assistant! I found Maria Brannon--Lightning Flash Creative, through my friend Sissy Yates and never looked back! She's been my trustworthy spirit guide in this rather baffling social media universe.
- I take the weekends off and observe an internet sabbatical. I found I was getting hooked on the endorphins of being "liked" and this was the remedy.
- I have results. I sell a great deal more work than I did out of my galleries or my studio, and so many of my family and friends now understand the extent to which I am a professional since they follow my narrative online.
- This process has reinforced my love of writing. I am now writing outside of my journals and have written a book.
- Finally, and most importantly, I feel gratitude to all you good people who are engaging with me in a sincere and thoughtful way. I am delighted by it. I really do feel that the world will be a better place if we all tend to a creative impulse. Truly.