social media

The Pros and Cons of Social Networking for Artists

in Entertainment/Internet

These days, artists are expected to constantly be working to promote themselves. Social networking offers benefits but is also full of artistic drawbacks.

Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others, offer artists a range of ways to make connections with a wider circle of acquaintances and promote one’s artistic performances, events, concerts, and projects as well as potentially sell CDs, books or other products.

However, participating in such social networking takes much time, can be overwhelming on an aesthetic or personal level and can present one with the illusion that connections are being made when nothing “real” is happening to one’s art in this virtual realm.

The Artistic Benefits of Social Networking

The benefits to artists, as with others desiring a larger sphere of connection, maybe obvious. Through a social networking site like Facebook, one can not only reunite with long-lost school friends and keep in touch with an extended circle of family members but remain in contact with a wide range of fellow artists in multiple genres and mediums from all over the world.

Through these sites, people can encounter one’s work whom one never meets in actuality. Such exposure can lead to invitations, attendees at events, purchases and other serendipitous gifts. One’s name as an artist can indeed grow to greater prominence as one receives attention and perhaps even acclaim from areas of the art world that may not otherwise have ever been aware of one’s work.

Further, being able to post a range of visuals and links to audio samples among other pieces of evidence of art-making can not only be a terrific source of promotion but can lead to artistic growth as one experiment more freely with the material.

Instagram is a very popular platform for artists. Most of the people visit Instagram for entertainment and leisure. New artists can quickly build a fanbase on Instagram. You can become a popular figure in a given territory. Influencers with American Instagram followers are making a huge sum of money through promotions and endorsements.

The Drawbacks of Social Networking for Artists

While the benefits are evident, the drawbacks might not be so clear. Once one is involved in social networking, the very medium can often be nearly hypnotic, detracting people from examining the true benefits and analyzing the worth of the hours upon hours spent on the networking site.

Of course, the time expenditure is the first drawback. Artists require deep focus and extensive periods of time to undertake their best work and the regular requirements of social networking may take a lot of hours from art-making itself. Concomitantly, social networking can diminish the depth of involvement in one’s art as such web activity often involves much superficial engagement that can render one easily distracted and flitting like a moth over the surface of one’s art instead of sinking into it.

Secondly, the sheer amount of visuals present on such networking sites can be overwhelming to artists, especially writers. Not only can such stimuli become mentally exhausting, but having to represent oneself on a visual level continuously can lead to self mis-representations that diminish the purity of one’s art-making and potentially create personal problems like stalkers. Everything is not about visuals, but social networking sites suggest otherwise.

Thirdly, social networking sites frequently provide the illusion of things happening that don’t actually occur. For instance, it seems as though one has many “friends” interested in one’s art-making but in fact how many of these attend events, buy one’s books and so forth? Often very few. The contrast between this illusion of plenty and many and the reality of few and a dearth can end up being rather discouraging for artists, especially if they feel their art is suffering due to how much time they have been spending promoting their work and themselves through such sites.

It’s beneficial for artists and others to spend time away from social networking sites, completely concentrating on other aspects of existence. And when one is utilizing such sites for promotional or personal intent, artists especially should remember that these forms of networking are not the totality of what can be accomplished nor are they always entirely necessary. Balance is the key.

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