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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised | How Can Artists Survive & Thrive in the New Economy?

How can artists and creatives survive in the current whirlwind of economic meltdown?

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Where To Find The Best Arts News & Information

There are many ways to engage in the arts; through gallery visits, buying art, attending openings and receptions or becoming a museum member. But with the information overload it may be challenging to filter out the excess and drill down to what you want to know.

By employing art media into your life you can keep up with the art news and choose what to see and when. Listed below are some of the avenues we can all take through our various media outlets to follow art news, art happenings and the cultural world we live in.

  • From the UK and the Guardian we have Art Weekly with news on the latest gallery shows in the London area.
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  • Contemporary Art Daily gives us a daily journal of international exhibitions.
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  • Art Business News is just as it sounds. All about the business of art. This includes trade show calendars, gallery and artist profiles and tips on how to increase your sales in the galleries. Its mission is described as “reporting the latest industry news and emerging trends driving the fine-art market.”
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  • Founded in 1996, Art World News focuses on art publishing, custom framing, gallery news and the business of the individual artist. This trade magazine is print only; from the web site go to Subscribe to receive free issues of the magazine.
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  • Décor Magazine was first published in 1880 and is the premier go-to magazine for those who work in custom framing, interior design, publishing, home furnishings and décor manufacturing. Decor is published monthly. I enjoy it for its color trend articles which are always spot-on and a must have for artists and publishers.
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  • Artnet explodes with information and not just in English. This energetic online forum boasts sites in Germany and France as well. Artnet is essential for those who follow art auctions, art openings, the latest and hottest artists out there and significant art events throughout the world.
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  • For the independently minded with a hint of underground, read Juxtapoz Magazine. This online news source and print media offers categories in street art, tattoo, erotic and illustration. Additionally look for event calendars, artist profiles, videos, community information, gallery guides and photography. If this doesn’t make you rush into your studio and make stuff then I don’t know what will.
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  • Art in America may sound like it spotlights only one country but in reality they push the borders with news on international exhibitions, international artists and news opinion from the world over. The strengths of this publication are heavily inclined to contemporary art in major urban hubs such as Los Angeles, New York City, Italy and Britain.
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I suggest starting locally and move out from there. Push your artistic envelope and be open to what’s going on in artistic centers such as New York, Milan, London and Los Angeles.

The art world is alive and kicking and as bold and inventive as ever.

© 2011 Jan Weiss

Artist Bio – Jan Weiss

Jan Weiss, a northern California native is a freelance writer and artist specializing in home decor. With a strong background in art publishing and art trends, Jan shares this knowledge with the trade as well as individual artists.

Weiss has just completed her first eBook for artists, titled: The Coexistence of Art and Money; interested buyers can find this book as well as her art through several on-line galleries such as Artist Rising, Image Kind and Etsy.  Jan’s style is a mixed of collage, digital creations and abstract landscapes that will appeal to the hospitality buyer. She lives with her husband, cat and dog in the Bay Area and enjoys organic gardening, cooking, reading and making stuff.

You can find Jan at
www.theartplanet.com
www.etsy.co


Post image by Nick Sherman under Creative Commons

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Best of the web | July 2011 | Don’t miss these

How Bob Ross sees Social Media

A beautiful infographic from flowtown.com in which the godlike Bob Ross explains the world of social media. Happy Little Blue Birds…

Pay My Rent ~ Buy a Painting

Evangeline Cachinero has quit her job as an advertising art director. Can she survive on her art for one year? A genius way to sell her art.

Artists Who Sell: How to Write a Killer Sales Page {and why}

A genius post from Steff Metal on the lovely Abundant Artist website.

“If you want to make an honest go of being a full-time artist, at some point you’re going to have to ask people for money. That’s quite a scary contemplating. Many of us have got it in our heads that money in the art world is kind of crass – especially when we’re first setting up our websites.

We don’t ask for sales, and so we don’t get them. Our readers buy from another artist instead, or spend their money on Cockney language kits or Justin Bieber CDs.

That’s right – Justin Bieber gets your money.”

Shes right you know…

Art & Illusion – The Magic of Pricing…

Jack White with an interesting perspective on art pricing.

“Not a month goes by that I don’t receive a gaggle of emails asking about art pricing. My standard answer is, “Art is worth what folks will pay.” That’s the brutal truth. The exception is if you can create the illusion that your art has more merit.”

Is Twitter a Waste of Time?

A close look at Twitter facts and figures in another fabulous and funky infographic.

 

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Lessons in selling art from my weird obsession with camper vans.

I think I’m having a midlife crisis! Over the past few weeks I have developed an unhealthy and possibly slightly weird obsession with getting a camper van.

It all started with a retro turquoise VW camper which one of my favourite galleries uses to advertise their business. It is parked outside with the gallery name on and gives out a jaunty air of summer happiness.

Since seeing this vintage Volkswagen beauty, my campervan obsession spread like wildfire through 70’s Scooby Doo style Toyota Hiace motorhomes, VW T25’s and the “clearly named by a lunatic” Mazda Bongo. I can be found on the Internet at 4am comparing mileage or in the corner of a carpark pawing at camper bodywork and interrogating the owners on miles per gallon economy.

To be honest it’s all got a bit sad…

 

Mr Artonomy has taken on a resigned look and has taken to disowning me when I dash off to look at my latest find. He has more sense than to get in the way of one of my obsessions.

But where he sees a rusty money pit and possible dangerous descent into being a middle aged couple with a flask of tea, I see a life of wild adventure on the open road. I see Friday night spontaneous escape. Sleep under the stars cushioned from the elements by German efficiency. I see waking up on a beach to the roar of the ocean and running joyfully across the sand with my tousel haired children for an early morning dip. I see festivals and sun. I see magical childhood memories being made and I WANT A CAMPERVAN.

So “what on earth has this got to do with selling my art you sad middle aged woman” I hear you cry.

 

Well it’s all to do with “features” versus “benefits” which is an important marketing concept to get your head around and one which very much applies when you are selling your art in a gallery or online.

What I would ACTUALLY physically be buying (features) would be a rusty old van which drinks petrol like a fish, has a weird tent instead of a roof, contains more Formica than is natural and probably has an onboard potty.

However, what I am REALLY BUYING IN MY HEAD (benefits) is a romantic notion of freedom, escape and being at one with nature.

Painting the picture in your collectors head.

 

If a camper van sales man comes up to me at this point and starts telling me about engine size I won’t be too interested in an immediate sale, but if he paints a picture to me of the free and magical campervan lifestyle in my head and how his vehicle will help me achieve it I will be handing over my hard earned cash to him quicker than you can say “split screen VW”

And that, my friends, is the secret of selling anything, be it sprockets, cars, t shirts, jewellery or paintings. You have to discover the deep personal magical inner desires of the buyer and show how your painting can meet that desire.

Collectors  buying an escape.

 

A great example of this is the gallery I talked about who own the gorgeous blue campervan that started this whole blooming thing off. They are located in a beautiful Welsh seaside town and sell a lovely selection of work, a lot of which is based around the sea or countryside. Their customers aren’t just buying a painting. They are buying a memory of being relaxed on holiday, of picnics on the beach, pub lunches, an escape from work and getting on better with their husband. The bottom line is they buy the painting to capture this feeling and FEEL BETTER ABOUT THEMSELVES. They are buying an escape.

So when you are considering where or how to sell your paintings, remember the magical dialogue that will go on in your buyers heads. Try to imagine what it will be and promote your work accordingly.

Me? I’m off to check AutoTrader for a pre-loved VW.

Let me know what you think in the comments…

Image by Barkaw under Creative Commons licence

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Social Media for Artists – How To Conquer It And Have A Life Too

Social media can be fun, a great way to network and spread the word about your art to the world and enjoy new collaborations. It can also be a terrifying time sink of gargantuan proportions of the kind where you wake up on Saturday morning and realise you have spent the entire week poking at Facebook and Twitter and achieved NOTHING else. Not good.

So this little post deals with a few ideas to help you deal with social media in ways that are a bit more efficient and which can help you reclaim your life.

Scheduling – for fun and relaxation.

There is a big secret to reclaiming your life from the tentacles of social media… and that secret is SCHEDULING… If you can limit the time you spend on social media to, say one or two 15 minute session it stops you from getting embroiled in addictive checking. You can set up a bunch of links first thing in a morning to post later. Then you can close down Twitter & Facebook and get on with the good stuff, like painting and creating.

Will scheduling make me an evil robot?

Looking on Twitter it’s easy to spot the absolute abuse of scheduling software. Streams of random links and spam, offering ways to make $3000 dollars at home, posted by bots with no human interaction. This is clearly not where you want to be, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

You can use scheduling to post your links but take time in your 15 minutes update time to check on what’s happening, thank people for retweets, chat and interact with people. You can still be human. Scheduling just means you get all the grunt work done, actually leaving more time for the lovely enjoyable human stuff.

Which software to use?

There are some great pieces of free software on line which will help you automate many aspects of your social media presence. These are my favourites…

Tweetdeck

I use Tweetdeck.com as my main weapon of choice when dealing with Twitter. You can set up tweets and schedule them for a particular time. You can also see your streams of followers, mentions and direct messages extremely easily making it a snap to keep on top of what is happening. I spend 15 minutes or so first thing scheduling my posts for the day and replying to messages. I will then check back towards the end of the day to chat. Tweetdeck also allows you to add other social services including Facebook.

Networked Blogs

Networked Blogs is extremely handy for taking your blog and feeding it into Facebook. This is my main use for this application but you can also feed your blog straight to Twitter too.

Dlvr.It

I have recently discovered www.dlvr.it and found it really useful for sending an RSS feed from a blog into individual Twitter posts.

The great thing about dlvr.it is that you can schedule the posts for the best time for you and specify how many are posted at any one time, preventing flooding. You also get stats on how your posts performed. Extremely informative.

What about Google + ?

Google+, the new social networking phenomena from Google is growing at a phenomenal rate. It offers a lot of the functionality and advantages of Twitter and Facebook without the complexity. It is easy to use and offers content sharing, the ability to network with people you don’t know {like Twitter} as well as share content with your close friends {like Facebook} all in one place. It is a simpler, more streamlined “one-stop-shop” for the sharing of content and images and as such has the potential to be a definite time saver.

However, it’s usefulness will be ultimately governed by how many people join and the levels of useage it attracts. It looks extremely promising though and is well worth joining for artists, giving you the advantage of being in there early.

At the moment, Google+ is by invitation only so try and grab one if you can from someone you know who is already using it.

Reclaim your life…

Automating some parts your social media presence will really help you to free up your life from some of the more time stealing elements of this area of the web.

Importantly it will allow you to focus on the really important part of social media. Communicating with people.

Share the tips and software/apps that work for you in the comments...

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Kissing Lots of Frogs | Coping With & Reducing Knockbacks From Art Venues

“You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince”

This is one of my favourite sayings. It’s one I got from my Mum who would console me with it whenever I had my heart broken by some pasty faced spotty no-hoper boy as a teenager. It always makes me smile…

I love the sentiment behind the saying… Basically, don’t expect to score the bullseye with your first shot. Be prepared for the knock backs that come as a part of life and just keep going… You will find the right person/thing/place in the end…

This is extremely relevant to your life as an artist. You have to consistently keep putting your work out there in different venues so that people can get to see how fab it is. This means that as an artist you need to keep approaching others with a view to getting them to show your work, whether it be a gallery, a cafe where your work would look good, a shop, an exhibition curator or an art fair manager.

The likelyhood is that many of the approaches you make to galleries, sales outlets or agents will result in rejection.

This can be really hard to cope with mentally. It’s really important that you don’t let this knock your confidence in your work or drag you down, preventing you trying again in the future.

How can you deal mentally with these knockbacks and also improve your strike rate so they happen less frequently?

Remember, you need to kiss a lot of frogs!

 

You have to keep in mind that this is just the way stuff is.

Rejection by an art venue is not necessarily a personal indictment of your work.

  • Your work may not be the right kind of work for the venue .
  • They may not be taking any new artists on at the moment.
  • They may be oversubscribed.
  • They may be overwhelmed.
  • They may have finished exhibiting art for the season.
  • They may just be too busy to take a look…

It can even be something totally random that you have no control over.

  • They may be hacked off with artists because their wife ran off with one.
  • They may have a personal and irrational hatred of the medium which you work in.
  • They may be in financial trouble and unable to take on anything.

All these problems/reasons/issues are theirs, not yours.

Finding representation and venues takes time and patience and probably a lot of false starts.

You may need to kiss 50 frogs to find 1 prince

 

So it’s really vitally important that you don’t take the knockbacks to heart. Realise that there can be a million reasons that someone doesn’t get back to you or says no. 99% of those reasons will have nothing to do with the quality of your work.

You just need to shrug it off, be proud that you tried and move on to the next opportunity.

You need to kiss the RIGHT frogs!

 

There are however, some simple things to help you in your quest to find the prince and they are as follows.

The number one thing that you can do to help yourself is KISS THE RIGHT FROGS!

It’s no good going around kissing common or garden frogs. You need to kiss the ones that have a CHANCE of turning into a prince…

When looking for a gallery or venue for your work, the crucial thing is to do your research and find the ones who are a good fit for your work. There is no point in trying to get a gallery that specialises in modern urban abstract art to look at your work if you produce delicate landscape watercolours. That is a waste of everyones time and will result in a confidence sapping knockback. Instead, focus on the galleries and venues that are right for your work.

How to FIND the right frogs.

 

Visit as many galleries or art venues where you would like to see your work as possible.

  • Get yourself on their mailing list and visit the exhibitions they put on.
  • Familiarise yourself with the kind of artists and genres they exhibit or work with.
  • Chat to the owners {without trying to sell anything or mentioning your work} and get a feel for the ideals of the venue.
  • Do you get on with the owner/manager/curator too? This is really important if you are going to have a commercial relationship with them.

Once you have got a feel for a group of galleries you will begin to understand the kind of artists each one works with.

You will then be able to narrow down your focus to a few venues that are a good fit for your work. There is no point wasting your time {or the venue owners} if your work isn’t a good fit. You want to find places that you can have a good relationship with.

Get to KNOW the frogs better before you kiss ’em…

 

Once you have a possible shortlist of a few “good fit” venues, it is time to approach the owners.
Rather than going in “all-guns-blazing” trying to sell your stuff to them, you really need to concentrate on building a relationship first.

This strategy takes time but will result in good relationships which can help you move your art career forward {and you will probably get to meet some nice people too – bonus}.

You can do this by visiting exhibitions they are currently showing, chatting to the owners and generally getting involved without being pushy.
Only when you have established a relationship is it a good time to broach the subject of your work and that you would like to show it with them.

…And pucker up

 

At this point a good professional approach can work wonders.

  • Choose a good time to approach the owner/curator {not when they are busy/hassled/hungover etc}and suggest that your work may be a good match for them and you would like to show with them.
  • Choose your time wisely or you may undo all the goodwill you have built up so far.
  • Send a polite follow up email chatting about your previous conversations or their exhibitions you have enjoyed to remind them that you are interested in what they do and not just being pushy. Attach a couple of images of your work and a link to your website.

Unfortunately there is no shortcut to the basic fact that you need to build up a good relationship with the venue first. Cold calling with all your artwork in tow seldom works.


But if you follow this approach, the chances of hurtful knockbacks are diminished.

5 quick tips on approaching art venues

 

  • Make sure you always know the name of the person you need to speak to. No sending things to “whom it may concern” You should have already built up a relationship with them.
  • Make sure that your approach is professional. If sending items through the post ensure everything is nicely packaged and presented in a crisp manner.
  • The same applies if sending emails, make sure you address it to the right person. Send from a professional email address {no flowerfairies@hotmail.com – this matters more than you think}. Attach only 2 or 3 jpeg images and make sure they aren’t too large that they will clog up someone’s email.
  • Make sure your website is finished {I get sent so many links to “Under Construction” websites} and professional looking.
  • Make sure you actually LIKE the person you are approaching. Remember you are looking to work commercially with them. If you don’t fit personally this is never a good idea.

So keep your faith and confidence when approaching art venues. With a little prior research and work, much of the uncertainty and damaging rejection can be reduced.

Just make sure you choose your frogs carefully… that way you will find the perfect frog for you and your art. A fabulous frog with POTENTIAL…

Let me know how you get on in the comments…

Image courtesy of Jacki-Dee under Creative Commons Licence

 

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The Secret of Weaving Art Marketing Magic: How not to break the spell…

I have of late, due to my upcoming nuptials to Mr Artonomy, by necessity acquired more than a passing interest in wedding paraphernalia {which is all a bit weird for a girl more used to wearing Doc Martin boots than any kind of fairy princess palaver}.

The other day I found myself behind the beautifully liveried van of a wedding cake maker. As I am in the market for a wedding cake I took more notice than usual, noting that the company was local and thinking in my mind that I would check them out. The van was beautifully designed, adorned with photos of towering cakes and decals of fluttering birds, butterfly’s and confetti. I drifted in to a reverie, imagining one of their beautiful cakes at my wedding and possibly a cloud of tiny Disney style bluebirds chirruping in harmony above it…

And then I pulled alongside the van at the lights…

Driving the van was a scraggly man in a dirty white bakers coat that looked like it had never seen the inside of a washing machine. Dangling from his craggy lips was a fag with an impressively long layer of ash on the end and as I stared in my shock at the mismatch, he gave me an aggressive look and burned off as the lights changed leaving my rather pathetic Disney bluebirds day dream to evaporate in a sulphurous cloud of exhaust smoke…

I think I may bake my own cupcakes or something.

And herein lies the danger… a mismatch between your creative work and what your marketing says about you can mean the difference between sales and never selling anything at all.

What goes on in a customers head?

 

When someone thinks about buying one of your paintings, they are physically considering say a canvas 50x50cm with a landscape painting in blues and greens in oils, but in their heads there is a whole other conversation going on.

It may go something like this…

This landscape takes me back to being 8 again and running in the fields outside my Grannies house in Ireland. It makes me feel free and young”

or

When I look into the depths of this painting I see another world where I can escape the stress and sadness that encompasses my life at present”

or even

If I place this painting just over the fireplace, opposite the door, when Mr and Mrs Armitage, the dentist couple over the road with social pretensions who always makes me feel uncomfortable and small, visit my house for our bi-monthly cheese and wine evening, they can’t fail to notice it and will understand that far from being a dull businessman with a wife who is having an affair with the milkman I am in fact a man of exquisite culture and taste…”

They are buying a dream, fantasy or escape. Something magical…

 

Potential buyers of your work will weave their own magical story around your work in their mind. It becomes personal to them and their life.

You can never know what this story is but the important thing is DO NOT BREAK THIS SPELL with a marketing mismatch.

Suddenly coming up against a marketing mismatch will jolt them back to reality and make them feel less inclined to buy the work and even make them feel a bit daft for thinking about it and they will sidle off embarrassed, never to return…

OK. I believe you. Give me some examples.

 

  • You sell expensive and beautiful handmade jewellery for brides but your website is poorly built and contains spelling mistakes and badly photographed images of the pieces on sale.
  • You create exquisite hand made stationery and invitations but hand out a flyer advertising your services which is poorly photocopied on thin quality paper.
  • Your paintings are highly priced but anyone making an enquiry is given the contact email sexysimon@redhotlovemachine.com

Hmmmm. All these will succeed in breaking the spell…

So, take 5 minutes today to consider the marketing of your work, your website, and any marketing materials that you have. Are all your ducks in a row? Does it all communicate the message you want people to pick up about your work? If not, what can you do to improve it? Often some small improvements will bring everything into line.

Let me know how you get on, or about any glaring marketing mismatches you have seen {they don’t have to be art related}, in the comments.

 

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Best of the web | April 2011 | Don’t miss these

Nothing is Original - Austin Kleon

HOW TO STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST (AND 9 OTHER THINGS NOBODY TOLD ME)

How to steal like an artist {and 9 other things nobody told me}

This amazing post by Austin Kleon is based on a talk he did in New York. It is a list of 10 things he wished he was told in college. Brilliantly sage advice for artists everywhere. An absolute must read for all creative folks.

The Importance of Being an Artist in Today’s Modern World

Sometimes. with the economy the way it is, it’s difficult to see where the future of art is heading. Artist Lori McNee shares some thoughts.

Artomat Art Vending Machines

A lovely idea. Art-o-mat machines are retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. There are over 90 active machines in various locations across America. You can submit art to be sold. Just wish there were some in the UK.

Where the feeling of overwhelm comes from (and how to destroy it)

We have been talking about overwhelm on Artonomy this month. Peter Shallard offers psychological advice to entrepreneurs and offers another and interesting angle on the best way to deal with it..

A Brief Guide To Life

Continuing the theme {I have gone a little existential this month – I think it’s due to the long Easter break!} Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits has a wise and simple manifesto for a simplified and more stress free life.

Heres To The Crazy Ones…

The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…

 

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Not Waving But Drowning : 9 Great tips To Fight Overwhelm And Stop You Going BONKERS

Do you sometimes feel like you are drowning in a humungous wave of information overload?

I write a lot first thing in a morning and a bad morning used to look like this…

Start writing a post. Search for an image for the post. Check email. Check to do list. Realise I haven’t done any of it. Write another to do list Feed the cats to stop them mewing at me so I can concentrate. Update twitter. A bit more writing. Feed the kids so they stop shouting at me. Check Facebook. Check email. Delete junk emails. Reply to emails. Write a bit more. Break up a fight between the kids. Check email. And all this before 7am.

I’m already stressed and the day hasn’t even started! Phew.

With so much multi-tasking and things which we feel we really need to keep on top of it’s no wonder that we can start to feel as though we are drowning in information and communication overload.

However, I have developed some strategies which have helped me keep (a tiny bit) more sane in the face of this onslaught.

Important things I have learnt.

 

I have learnt that…

Multi-tasking just doesn’t work.

It can impact on your creative thought processes and turn your brain into a big wobbly jelly mush. Concentrate on one thing at a time and you will achieve more.

The internet MAY be changing the way we think.

There is a school of thought that the fact that we are constantly plugged into The Matrix MAY be actually rewiring our brains to make us less able to focus. Read more here. It may be wise to just be aware of this and give your brain a little time off for R&R now and again.

So… My brain saving strategies.

 

Have a “Disconnect Day” once a week.

I think this is the most important thing you can do. I try and “step away from the computer” every Sunday. Although I’m not always successful {I fully admit I am an addict}, I find that consciously distancing myself from the web leaves me fresher and more able to enjoy it when I go back.

Don’t check email first thing and set specific times to check.

The random gratification we get from email {ooh, has anyone sent me anything exciting since I last checked 3 minutes ago} actually means that it is mentally addictive.

This is due to what psychologists call ‘operant conditioning’ Read more. Because email is random and we don’t know if any mail will appear when we hit the “get mail” button, we behave like lab rats, frantically clicking in the hope that some juicy morsel in the shape of a video of a kitten in a duck hat doing a dance will be delivered onto our plate.

Speaking as a recovering addict, do one big thing and try and close your email programme. Set yourself specific times to check. I check around 10.30, 1.00 and 4.00. Try and stick to them. This will save you a TON of time and stress. However, as any addict knows it’s extremely easy to fall of the wagon…

Don’t try to read everything

There is so much information flying at us that if we try and process all of it our brains will melt into a pool of quivering jelly. Well maybe that’s a slight over exaggeration but seriously the skill of SELECTION is becoming more and more crucial in the modern world. Ruthlessly weed out those things that are a time waste {marketing emails being the main culprits} and send them straight into the trash folder. Being ruthless gives you more time to spend on the really important things.

Don’t do too many types of social media.

It’s easy to spread yourself too thinly and then beat yourself up about the fact that you havent updated something for a week. Concentrate on maybe a maximum of 3 channels of communication and enjoy them. If you arent enjoying them, STOP.

Mindmap your way to sanity.

As a massive list {and lists of lists} maker I know that keeping your lists organised can actually become a huge task in itself worthy of it’s own list. {warning – this way lies insanity} I have been trying a new method which Cynthia Morris expounded on her blog.

Basically, instead of getting lost in the tiny minutia of the list, look at the bigger picture and mindmap your projects. This method gives you a much greater overview of your commitments and stops you going round in ever decreasing circles until you disappear up your own backside {speaking from experience here}

And some indispensable tools.


Tweetdeck

Update Twitter, Facebook and various other social media sites from one place. Most importantly, see all your Twitter feeds in one interface and be able to schedule tweets into the future. You can spend 20 minutes in the morning preparing Tweets and then leave Tweedeck to sort it all out.

Tadalist & Netvibes

I KNOW I said I was trying to step away from the lists, but these two tools are pretty handy. They enable you to store to-do lists online.

http://tadalist.com/ is a simple list maker.

http://www.netvibes.com allows you to create a wide variety of lists as well as handling various other things including RSS feeds. V handy.

{Just don’t use tadalist to organise your netvibes lists as I was doing at one point!}

Evernote

Evernote is my SAVOUR on the Internet. It’s a tagable and sortable repository of all the bits and bobs you find on the Internet and need to keep a note of. You can clip information directly from a web page and file it in categories and tags. You can even search scanned text! No more piles of printouts cluttering your desk and brain. File it all in Evernote

And finally THE MOST IMPORTANT THING…

 

Take the pressure off yourself…

The main thing that taking a disconnect day every week has taught me is that  THE WORLD WILL NOT END IF YOU WALK AWAY FROM THE INTERNET for a little while.

It’s a relief to discover that when you don’t keep up, when you don’t Tweet or Facebook or email NOTHING BAD HAPPENS. The world will not implode if you take a day off.

It’s actually YOU putting the pressure on yourself.

Relax and give ourself a break. That way, you are much stronger to shrug off overwhelm and enjoy yourself online.

Please share your tips for survival in the comments…

And if you are wondering where the title of this post comes from, here is a video of the wonderful poem of the same name by Stevie Smith.

Photo credit by Akuppa

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How to add Facebook “Like” Buttons to your Art Website

A guest post from artist and web designer Paul Watson.

Adding Facebook “Like” buttons to your art website is a great way to encourage visitors to spread the word about your artwork to their friends, increasing your potential market.

When a visitor clicks a “Like” button on a page of your site, it will appear in that visitor’s Facebook News Stream, visible to their Facebook friends. This is a great way to enable the easy sharing of links to pages within your site.

The Basics

If your website uses third-party software such as WordPress or Joomla then the easiest way to add Facebook ”Like” buttons is to install a plugin/extension from the official repositories. There are many different ones that provide this functionality, so you can choose one that suits you (please feel free to recommend your favourites in the comments!).

If you’ve built your website yourself then it’s still very easy to add the basic “Like” buttons – here’s how:

1. Go to http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like

2. Use the “Get Like Button Code” generator to create the button code

3. Copy and paste the code generated onto the corresponding page of your site.

The “Get Like Button Code” generator actually produces two versions of the code: the “iframe” version and the “XFBML” version. The XFBML version requires that you install Facebook’s JavaScript SDK (Software Development Kit) on your site, so unless you’re experienced with JavaScript then use the “iframe” version as this can simply be pasted into your own HTML.

Keeping Track: Statistics

Now you could check every page of your site regularly to see how many people have “Liked” each page, but it’s far easier to let Facebook do the hard work for you.

If you go to http://www.facebook.com/insights/ and click the green “Insights for your Website” button then Facebook will provide you with a single line of HTML that you need to add to the root page of your domain (the root page is the page a visitor sees if they go to www.your-domain.com).

Once this is in place Facebook knows that you own that domain, and will give you access (at http://www.facebook.com/insights/) to details of “Likes” and “Shares” of pages from your site, details of the most popular pages, and some basic demographics of the people who have Liked your pages.

Quite rightly Facebook anonymizes this data – you can’t see who liked your pages, but you can see the age-ranges, countries, and gender distribution of your potential customers, and which are the most shared/liked pages.

Going Further

Once you’ve mastered this you might want to start using Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol – this gives you even more control over what Facebook displays in the news feed of someone who’s liked or shared one of your pages.

You can read more about the Open Graph Protocol at http://developers.facebook.com/docs/opengraph/


About the Author of this Post

paul watsonPaul Watson is an artist from Brighton, England, working in a variety of media, from assemblage and collage to print-making, drawing, artists books, and photography.

He has also been working as a Web Developer/Designer since the late 1990s, and for the past six years he has worked as the Manager of the Web & e-Marketing team for an international academic publishing company.

Paul’s main website – The Lazarus Corporation:  – displays his artwork as well as the work of a number of other artists.

You can also find him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lazcorp.

 

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