Over the past couple of years, I’ve been steadily posting my work on social media, slowly building a following and putting myself out there. A few months back, one of the shops that carry my work told me that out of all their artists, I have the most people come in and specifically request to be pointed toward my pieces. To me this felt like confirmation that all the effort I put into photographing and posting was worth it. People were seeking me out.
This summer, however, I pulled back from using instagram and Facebook as much and would go weeks without posting anything or would put up pictures from our camping trips, hikes, swims, and other summer activities instead of pictures of pots. And of course the blog has been deathly quiet. A little voice in the back of my head was telling me I should get on it, should take pottery photos, should keep promoting or my audience would loose interest, move on, but mostly I found it pretty easy to ignore the voice and head out for another swim instead.
Part of the reason I stopped posting much work online was the obvious reason of summer and fun and wanting to relax a bit. Plus, I was still keeping studio hours and filling orders while also parenting full time since the kids were home. This was enough to leave me with just enough energy to crawl into bed each night and pass out, so social media marketing was an easy thing to drop out of the schedule in favor of more sleep. Yet I was feeling like there was another reason why I was becoming reluctant to share what I was working on quite as much. But I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then I read this article by Whitney Smith in which she questions whether or not it’s such a good idea to for artists to invite too many outside voices into their process via social media.
“Too many opinions, too many voices is distracting and even confusing. They can create value where perhaps there is none or undermine an idea before its had time ripen.”
It’s a thought provoking piece and I recommend reading it. I realized I was growing bored with the make, photograph, share, repeat cycle and I was again feeling that outside pressure that distracts me from what I really want to make. Instead I’m experimenting with some new rules for myself when using social media for promotion. I’m still posting pictures of pieces that are headed to shops along with that info so buyers can find me, but I’m keeping some of my more personal projects to myself. There’s an idea I’m working on that I’m really excited about, but it’s still very much in process. I am making an intentional decision to keep this one private for a while longer so I can look back and know that the decisions I made were not made because of outside pressure. I also share Whitney's rule of not checking when I'm bored. Being bored is the very source of creative thought and the last thing I ever want to do is stifle it with cat videos and political rants.
That being said, I'm always so curious about other people's personal rules for social media. Do you have them? If so, what are they? And do you intentionally hold back some things or do you put it all out there?