Maintaining an Online Presence, without it becoming a full time job
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Maintaining an Online Presence, without it becoming a full time jobPart Time Painter
by Nicole Cadet
The busier you get, the harder it is to keep up with both the real world and the online world. I go to work every day, and after spending 8-10 hours on the computer as a programmer, the last thing I want to do is spend more time on the computer. However, the online world is by far the easiest and most convenient way for me to work as an artist. You have 24 hour, 7 days a week access to customers, you don't have to dress up special, and you can literally do it from anywhere you have a computer* and internet access. So how do keep a good online presence without it becoming a full time job?
Keep it simple:
There is a plethora of online networking opportunities -- blogs such as Blogger, Live Journal , a personally run blog, FaceBook, mySpace, Twitter, forums, mailing lists, RSS feeds, Digg, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, gallery communities such as Deviant Art, ArtWanted, GFX... you get the point. If you have a presence in all of these places, you could easily spend a day updating them all.
When and what should I blog when I don't have masses of time
This is really up to the individual. I try and post to my Twitter account at least once a week, with my main blog once a month. I think as long as you don't go for 6 months without saying something, you'll be ok.
What do you post? Art sketches, thoughts on new painting ideas, links to artistic resources you may have stumbled upon, new products, even a small amount of personal stuff like 'I bought a house', or 'I had holidays and visited the most beautiful beach ...'. You want to post things that don't sound like a constant sales pitch, don't ramble on and on about personal stuff (keep a separate blog for personal details or friends lock them), aren't epics when they don't need to be, and are interesting enough that people want to look at them or read them. Short, simple, to the point is fine.
This is one I fail at regularly. I read comments and post backs all the time, but answering can be time consuming. People like knowing that you appreciate their taking the time and effort to comment. They like it even more if you answer a question they've raised. Sometimes you may have to say a general 'thanks for the feedback, I'd love to respond to you all!' Other times you may be able to respond to people individually. Sometimes a simple link back (such as returning the favour and following them back) is worth as much as writing 'Thank You'. Whatever is easiest, make sure you occasionally take time to acknowledge your readers/ followers.
* Use your phone!
A number of services such as Twitter and FaceBook now have the ability to post updates from your mobile phone/cell/iPhone. You can post photos, short blog entries, and even check up on stuff if your phone is internet enabled. This is only as good as your phone and your carrier's coverage, but a phone is a lot easier to carry around than a laptop!
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