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A Healthy Balance

by Keith Bond on 9/8/2009 11:49:25 AM

This Post is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

The past few days have been both frustrating and freeing.  I have had computer problems and it is currently Ďin the shopí.  I have not been able to access email, update my website, or write/read blogs for about 5 days now.  I have loved it!  Yet, in the back of my mind I have worried about some of the communication that I really should be actively pursuing.  They were simply put on hold for a few days.  As we speak, I am using the computer at the local library to type this newsletter.  

Since being without my computer, I have been thinking about how different communication is now compared to only a few years ago.  I am usually slow to adopt the newest high-tech gadget or application.  I use email and blogging sparingly, and my cell phone is the no-bells-and-whistles type.  I cannot email from it, etc.  Yet, even for me, whenever I donít have access to what I need when I need it, it is noticeable and frustrating.  Perhaps the most frustrating thing for me is that I actually miss it.   

This led to my considering how prudently we use the wide variety of media available today.  We text, tweet, blog, etc.  Many use Facebook or any of the other plethora of social media.  All have great potential benefits, but all can be potentially harmful.  Many today live virtual lives with virtual relationships.  We sit in front of the computer screen for hours on end chatting with strangers, and get impatient when we run into an acquaintance at the store who wants to chat for a few minutes.   

I was a chaperone recently for our church sponsored youth dance.  I noticed that about half of the teenagers were texting rather than dancing.  I even noticed a couple who spent the entire evening sitting next to each other passing the cell phone back and forth; texting.  They did not say a word to each other that I noticed. 

Have we forgotten how to have meaningful interactions with real people?  We must not let our virtual lives be so consuming that we neglect the greater form of communication and relationship building Ė face to face.  Our lives will be richer for it.  And our art business will be better for it. 

Networking and building real relationships with collectors, artists, dealers, curators, etc. is most effective when done face to face.  Many (not all) artists tend to be somewhat reclusive and avoid art shows or other public gathering.  Whenever possible, it is in the artistís best interest to go to the shows.  Visit with real people.  Interact.  Be engaging.  Take a client to lunch.  Attend or teach a workshop.  Join a local artistís group.  Participate in an art related discussion at the local museum or art center.   

Yes, some of your collectors are long distances away.  Is it too difficult to telephone rather than email or text?  Email conversations often have very different outcomes than telephone conversations.  Even if the end result is the same, there will be much more gained by actually talking.   

Consider how much time you spend living in the virtual world and balance it with real time spent talking with real people.  This will propel your art career forward much quicker and much further.  Both have their place and both are important.  A healthy balance is critical. 


Keith Bond 

PS  Set time limits for your internet forays.  It is amazing how much you can accomplish if you set the timer and are disciplined enough to stop when it rings.  Donít let yourself waste endless hours being sucked into the virtual vortex.  Not only will it harm real relationships, it will eat away at your productivity.


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Loading comments...

Conni Reinecke
I totally agree with you!!!

Especially, as an introverted person to begin with, the lack of personal connection to communicate online is so easy. It is very hard to remember that you need personal contact as well!
I also agree that time on line can be so wasteful if you do not set yourself limits. So many days I aim to spend painting and instead get "side-tracked" online. I am trying to limit my time on line now so I can get mush needed other stuff done!

I think this article is a great reminder to all of us!

Patricia Rios
If we were to take a survey of people who read Keith's article regarding balance in our technological age of communication, I would venture to say that we probably would all agree. Then, we would continue texting, emailing, etc., instead of calling or meeting someone face to face.
My husband and I just had an unforgettable experience two days ago. Some friends called to invite us to lunch after church. The date was set, we all showed up and spent an incredible four hours talking (I think Keith would call this "face to face.") In our conversation, we covered the state of the world, the state of our state (Arizona), the state of the arts in general, politics and religion (all came away from this meeting without bruises). No one has ever been so interested in what we had to say and, to tell the truth, my husband and I were all ears every time this couple poured their hearts, thoughts, knowledge and wisdom into us. What an awakening. Our cell phones were not missed, my emails were far from my mind and a new awareness of the riches of a true face-to-face relationship became so very clear. Also, my desire to paint with even more purpose was encouraged and nurtured during these short four hours. The repartee was healing to all of our thirsty psyches. In addition, we discovered a great new restaurant and a yummy frozen yogurt place!
Of course I love my cell phone and reading all those emails and blogs. I will not stop. Technology can be awesome and save a lot of time - time that we can put to good use by painting, relating personally or just being. We must develop discernment as to when we go high tech and when we go high touch with our relationships. We need both.

Joanne Benson
Lots of truth here! I tend to fritter away too much time on the internet. It is a great place to learn and network but can also be a great distraction! There definitely needs to be a balance and limits! I haven't set any and my time spent at the easel is suffering! If I can't check my email I feel like I'm going through "withdrawal"......You often don't realize how dependant you become on the internet until it isn't available!

Sharon Weaver
Keith's advise to place a limit on your time online is a good one. Balance is the key. Online communication with clients and friends is only one of many tool that can enhance our relationships. I was recently at an art show where I sold a second painting to one of my collectors. I doubt that sale could have been made online. But, how would I ever have met that lady in South America who wanted advise on a gift for her mother. Keep doing the things that work and cut back on the things that don't.

Clint Watson
When I was a gallery salesperson, nearly all my sales came from picking up the telephone and making personal contact - it's very important to remember that there is no substitute for that.


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