Online: Twitter for Artists

Twitter can be described as a micro-blogging tool that uses 140 character messages to contact others in the Twitter network and share ideas, experiences, resources, business opportunities, charity work, celebrity news, and more. For artists it is a good tool to network with other artists, follow art organizations, make gallery contacts, publicize your events, shows (#Encaustic: Artists on Twitter) , and work.

Although Twitter is easy to set up and has a simple web interface, it is not intuitive to get started with. Here are some of the tools that have helped me:

twitter_lsbpage1. Set up an account on Twitter. This is a fast and easy step. You will need an email account and a user name. In the past I have chosen to use my own last name: sisleyblinn. This is easier to recognize than a more cryptic or mysterious name that will be seen by others on Twitter. It also reflects how I use my name for my blog and website. Your user name should reflect your purpose on Twitter. Is it for fun, business branding, or family and friends?

2. Once you have an account, personalize your Twitter home page. You can add a picture to the background of your start page, change colors for links and content areas, and add an avatar image of yourself (or a picture of a piece of art work). This will personalize the look of your home page and can be used to visually tie it back to your blog or web site. I choose a recently completed painting for my background and avatar image. Make these changes under the Settings link, in the upper right corner of your home page. ( Home  Profile  Find  People  Settings Help  Sign out)

Be prepared with information for your real name, geographic location, web site or blog URL/web address, and bio. The bio is a short description that can be as creative, specific or playful as you want it to be. Again, think about your purpose.  My bio statement: “MFA Artist. Interest Areas: Encaustic Painting, Printmaking, Web. Exploring the intersection of Art and Technology.” This information will show up at the top of the column on the right side of the page, and whenever anyone looks at your profile.

Articles:
Themeleon: Customize Your Twitter Profile

How to Design Perfect Twitter Backgrounds

10+ Ideal Twitter Background Tutorials with Resources

3. While logged in to your Twitter account, download TweetDeck, Seesmic, Twhirl, or another third-party editor. Although your Twitter messages (tweets)  will be listed (a message timeline) on your account page, there currently is not a way to directly sift, categorize or group the messages. This is where another tool comes in. I use TweetDeck. It is easy to install,  you can use separate columns for groups, searches, replies, and direct messages, and it is free.

Articles:
10 Twitter Tools that Help You Work Smarter

Top Twitter Tools Exposed & Explained at Lightning Speed! (6 min. video)
10 Cool Firefox Extensions for Twitter

4. Sign up for Twitter Tips, and other helpful guides.

Articles:
How to Effectively Use Twitter Hashtags
Twitter Beginner’s Guide

A Visual Guide to Twitter (JPG)

5. Take a little time to learn how to use Twitter. There is a wealth of information on how to use this communication tool. Some of it is pretty straight forward, some of it has a marketing skew for social media professionals trying to cash in on this new market. Don’t be scared off. It is worth the time. And soon, you will have many friends to ask and follow.

Articles:
The Twitter Guide Book
100 Tips to Be a Smarter, Better Twitterer

How To: Use Twitter’s New Retweet Feature
Twitter Beginner’s Guide
– PDF
Twitter Lingo – A Quick Guide

Tweetable Art: 10 Twitter Tips for Artists
Twitter Handbook for Teachers

Mashable: The Social Media Guide: Twitter

Mashable: How To: Retweet on Twitter

Using Twitter to Market Your Art
13 Twitter Tips and Tutorials for Beginners

How-To: Backup Your TweetDeck Groups And Preferences

6. Look for peers, friends, contacts, organizations, news agencies and other interesting people to “follow.”
When you follow someone, you add them to the network of information agencies and personalities that you want to know about and correspond with. Those that follow you, want to get your messages. Follow people’s content (tweets) by clicking on the “follow” link under their name and avatar picture in the upper left of their Twitter home page.

Search for topics such as art, artist, gallery, painting, encaustic, art news, or call for artists on Twitter. Once on a page of interest, check out who they are following. Click on who they think is interesting and decide if you want to follow too. From my page you could follow: Top Art News, Twitter TipsThe Webby Awards, and ArtNetDotCom, Tate, or SFMOMA to name a few.  Don’t forget regular news channels that also use Twitter such as CNN, BBC, or PBS Blogs.

You can also search and/or join a directory such as We FollowTwitr, or Twellow. Take a look at HastTags for trends, tags and people. “Get and set definitions for #tags – A dictionary for (hash) tags,” at Tagalus.  Search hashtags using Twubs.  Example for #encaustic: http://www.twubs.com/encaustic. Use a service such as Omnee, a dynamic Twitter directory. ) Organize people you follow using Twitter Lists.

Articles:
How to Turn Twitter Into Your One-Stop Lifestream
How To:  Use Twitter Lists
10 Ways You Can Use Twitter Lists
Twitter Lists: Frequently Asked Questions and Strategies
The Top Ten Reason Why I Might Want to Tweet Instead of Make Art
How To: Get the Most Out of Twitter #Hashtags
6 Twitter Search Services Compared

The 7 Ways to Approach Twitter

The 10 Users You’ll Meet on Twitter
#Encaustic: Artists on Twitter Exhibit

7. Use third-party Twitter tools to extend your content reach.
There are many tools that will help you get your message out with multi-media impact. A tool I use daily is Twitpic. You can show work in progress, completed work, or pictures from your last exhibit quickly with Twitpic or yFrog.  Only takes a few seconds to add a link to a picture.

There are also tools to show YouTube videos, YouTube Tweete, or upload and view your own video updates with Twiddeo.  Get the most from your 140 characters (including spaces) by compressing web addresses/URLs that you reference with TinyURL. Send out invitations to a tweetup with Twtvite. Create a poll with Twtpoll. Or, send a quick Twtcard. Look for new iPhone apps such as Tweetmic (“high-quality audio recordings or “Tweetcasts” directly from your iPhone), for new functionality. TBuzz enables you to tweet about the web page your are on with the click of a bookmarklet.

Articles/Resources:
9 Tips for Enriching Your Presentations with Social Media
TwitGlry
: A Twitter Tools and Apps Gallery

5 Ways to Share Images on Twitter
55 Cool Twitter Widgets and Apps

Picnik Makes it Easy to Tweet Your Photos
Mashable: Twitter Toolbox: 60+ Twitter Tools

Mashable: Twits to Go: Top 12 Twitter Apps for Your Phone

8. Remember, this is a social media tool with the formality associated with the business or social purpose you choose. Your messages should reflect your personal voice but also be in line with your other online assets. Tweet often, but make an exchange of useful information a priority.

Articles:
Tweet Ideas: 13 Things to Do on Twitter Besides Tweet

10 Twitter Safety Tips to Protect Your Account & Identity
Top 13 Twitter Don’ts

9. Follow, remove or block – choices to grow your network. It takes time to gather good reliable Twitter followers, and find those who will become important as friends and resources. It is worth it. At some point you will find that ah-ha moment when using Twitter goes from “this is not worth the time” to “I love this – who else can I get involved.”

You will need to make decisions on who you are following and who follows you. Like keeping weeds out of the garden, there will be those that follow you that you may not want to.  On your Twitter account page click on the link for “followers” in the upper right of your home page and click the “block” button. Other tools, such as TweetDeck will have this option as well. Don’t get tied up in the numbers of followers.

Unless you are a promotions fanatic, you want quality over quantity. If you find that you are not really interested in someone you choose to follow, “remove” them from the list. On your Twitter account page click on the link for “following” in the upper right of your home page and click the “remove” button. Other tools, such as TweetDeck will have this option as well. Again, don’t get tied up with the numbers. You want the most relevant and interesting information available. This protects you and your time, and developes quality relationships.

Articles:
Beyond #FollowFriday: 24 Daily Twitter Memes

Twitter Etiquette: A guide to getting unfollowed

FollowFriday- How it Works
The Best Damn #FollowFriday Video On The Net
Twitter Support: How Do I Report Spam?

10. Oh yeah, just for fun:

TwitPaint
Stephen Colbert interviews Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter
(video interview)
TwitShirt: Your tweet quote on a t-shirt
Peekr. Temporarily view the background on a Twitter home page.
We Are Hunted: The Online Music Chart
NASA
26 Charities and Non-Profits on Twitter

Terminator Salvation Launches Elaborate Twitter Game
6 Twitter Games To Make Tweeting Fun

Conclusion: In my studio, not only do I move from drawing to painting, sketch to print, or idea to finished piece, I also move between my work tables and the computer. You might say that my analog (physical art making) life and digital (2D/3D image creation, art business development through my web site and blog, and networking with friends, peers and resources with social media) have a symbiotic relationship. I am inspired and motivated by both.

Update, Aug ’09:  Although I have successfully used Twitter for the past year, I am currently taking a social networking break to re-evaluate my overall branding PR plan.  (It’s okay to do that, really!!)  Look for me again on Twitter in the future.

Please leave your tips or resources in the comments section linked below!

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Online: Adobe Kuler Color Tool Rescue

lava_green

Sometimes it is hard to either think clearly about a new color scheme, how to complete or extend an existing one, or troubleshoot a problem color. A tool that I love is Adobe’s Kuler. It is a free online color-chip style generator, and there are thousands of color groupings, called themes, that have been made by others that you can search by keyword. There is a short AdobeTV overview video.

I  made too much of a semi-translucent green that reminded me of Lava Soap. Kind of a medium-minty color. Well, a little is fine, but I have way too much. So, turning to Kuler, I searched for “mint” as the tag and found many color options to work with my new treasure. Out of 650 results returned, some of my favorite combinations were: “watermelon mint,”  “coral mint,”  and “a passing feeling.” “Watermelon mint” is shown here.

kuler

You can create color groupings called themes based on analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound, shades, and custom. It is possible to make themes from pictures found online or uploaded from your computer, or variations on existing themes made by others. Save your favorites, and import colors into some current software tools.

kularscreencapture1

In a short time, I came up with three combinations that could help me work with my Lava Soap encaustic color supply: “Iris I Detail II,” “Theme 3,” and “Theme 4.” Combinations are limited only by your imagination and time. (Possibly snacks and a beverage.)

kuler_mintgreen

I have over 100 color themes,  including “Encaustic Bliss.” Look for “lisa.”

kuler_lsbcollection

(No Lava soap green here!)

[Studio YouTube music-a 70’s Flashback: Harry Chapin: Cats in the Cradle; Cat Stevens: Father and Son, Moonshadow, Peace Train, Oh Very Young, Sad Lisa Jim Croce:  I Got a Name, These Dreams; Gordon Lightfoot – If You Could Read My Mind, Dave Loggins: Please Come to Boston.]

Online: Vuvox Print Banner

New media banner made on Vuvox: Collage.  35 minutes to make using the previous banner as a template,  including gathering images from various computer folders.  See the full banner online. 2 more minutes to add it to my Vodpod account. Worth the wait to load!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Online: Vuvox MashUps

I am always curious as to what online tools artists are using to promote their work. They include sites like  Y!Groups, as well as the popular social networks like Flickr, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook.  And, there are new online tools coming out every day to leverage these sites. There are a few noted on my blog under the Art/Technology link.  I’m making a collection of these useful tools, so please send me a list of your favorites  in the comments section for this post.

My favorite for today is Vuvox: Collage, a mash-up tool for making a collage banner (sorry, no video or sound, just pictures from the studio and yard – although, if you have it, you can add multimedia).  You can click the play arrow and it will side scroll, or you can move the scrubber/slider left and right to go to any section.

Vuvox LSB Banner

The pictures may be redundant if you’ve recently visited the blog,  but here they are in a new context, re-authored/re-imagined. Take a look at the Sisley-Blinn Artist/Painter collage banner at the Vuvox site, if you cannot see the presentation below, or you want to see the full panorama look.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

[Studio music: YouTube -Josh Cobia, “How Many Times,”  MySpace for Josh Cobia.]

Online: Encaustic How-To Playlist via Embedr

YouTube Encastic Demos in Embedr WidgetNew online tool for art and technology: Embedr

For those that are just beginning to use encaustic paints, I have found the how-to videos by Enkaustikos‘  Kathryn Bevier and David Hoffend to be good viewing. The videos are informative, show good artistic technique, and are sincerely made to help you.

Instead of embedding each of the 9 YouTube videos in this entry, or just listing the URL/web addresses, I am trying out  a new online tool for embedding videos from Embedr.

You can view the playlist on the  Embedr site. Each video will play in turn. Or, you can choose a video by scrolling through the picture list at the bottom of the video.

One big advantage of using this online tool over others, is that you can add videos from multiple sites into your list. So far, the compatibility list includes: Atom Films, Blip.TV, College Humor, Dailymotion, Metacafe, TeacherTube, MySpace Video, Veoh, Vimeo, and YouTube (as of 3-1-09 as listed from their compatibility page).

As noted in this recent TechCrunch article,  Embedr Lets you Create And Share Good-Looking Video Playlists:

“Embedr is a relatively new free service that lets you build custom video playlists from a variety of online clip sources and gives you the opportunity to aggregate the entire playlist into a good-looking widget which you can easily share on your blog or website.”

*You will have to create an account before making your lists, but not to view already created playlists. Currently, this is a free service recently out of beta.