A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece encouraging you, as artists, to create your own community
. I discussed building your own community of fans and followers without getting sucked into over-hyped social sites such as MySpace or FaceBook. Reflecting on it a bit more, I realize there is another ingredient to success in online social networking....not only must you build a community...but you must become the leader
of that community.
Over this past weekend I read an article in Wired
magazine (issue 15.12), Almost Famous
by Clive Thompson. The article discusses the relatively recent phenomenon of microcelebrities
Clive puts it this way:
Microcelebrity is the phenomenon of being extremely well known not to miillions but to a small group - a thousand people, or maybe only a few dozen. As DIY media reach ever deeper into our lives, it's happening to more and more of us....[If you engage in online information publishing via web sites, blogs, and newsletters] odds are there are complete strangers who know about you -- and maybe even talk about you.
You, dear artist, need to become a microcelebrity
(no doubt many of you already are).
So, what does it take to become a microcelebrity?
Again, from wired magazine, "adapting to microcelebrity means learning to manage our own identity and "message" almost like a self-contained public relations department."
You must take control of your message. What this means you must do are exactly the things we've been telling you to do over the past few months:
1. Build and use your own in-house email list
But Does it really work?
2. Build and use your own in-house snail mail list
3. Keep your fans updated via a blog
4. Maintain your own stand alone web site as your online "home base"
5. Don't be overly reliant on traffic generated by other communities where you are a small fish in a big pond - create your own pond where you are the most famous fish in the water.
Let me illustrate with a personal example. Although I conduct the vast majority of FineArtStudioOnline and FineArtViews business online, a couple of months ago we attended the Oil Painters of America
exhibition as a sponsoring vendor. I set up a booth to demonstrate our software and was present at the show for two days. I enlisted the help of a photographer friend to assist me with manning the booth (most of the FineArtStudioOnline staff members are out of state and thus it was easier to get a local friend to help).
As the show progressed, a constant stream of artists, art industry experts, art collectors and acquaintances approached the booth to greet me. Everyone seemed already to know who I was and wanted to say hello. It was a bit of a strange feeling.
My photographer friend turned to me and said, "Dude - you're a rock star!"
Actually, I'm fairly uncomfortable being described as a "rock star", those who read this space regularly have probably picked up on the fact that I like to remain kind of "low key." In fact, I usually write these articles using the the royal "we" tense rather than saying "I did this" or "I did that" because it seems a bit more humble to say "we did this." I'm certainly not
a rock star but, the point is, that to my friend, it seemed
like I was famous. And indeed to a very small group of people....I am
If I can accomplish this with a blog, a software service and a newsletter, I've shown that it's not that hard to become a microcelebrity, so I encourage you to get started today.
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic
PS - Any artist who has ever had a one-person show, or perhaps even a group show has probably experienced the feeling of being a microcelebrity. People you don't know walking up..."oh I love you work...." Your job is to cultivate these people into ongoing supporters and fans.
PPS - Today's featured image is by Ernie Marjoram