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A Spectacular Way to Avoid Doing What Really Matters

by Clint Watson on 9/8/2008 5:06:51 PM

Wouldn't it be wonderful if I was so interested in your artwork that I called your studio every 30 minutes just to ask, "What are you doing now?"

How refreshing that would be!  I would know when you were working . . . and when you weren't.  When things were going well....and when they were going badly.  When you started a new painting....and when you finished each one.  When you were drinking your coffee.  When you were depressed.  When you were happy.  I would love to know when you were stuck in your studio waiting for the plumber.....boy that would really help you sell me your artwork.

What?  You think it would be annoying for me to call you every 30 minutes?

I agree, it would be annoying, ridiculous and boring for you and for me.

What I have just described above, dear artists, is the premise of Twitter.

Unfortunately, I keep seeing artists who seem to think that Twitter is some sort of revolutionary marketing tool that will help them sell art.  It won't.

Why ANY artist would think that sending a "Twit" is a better use of their time than creating art is totally beyond me.


Clint Watson
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic

PS - Here's my advice:  Whenever you have the urge to "Twit" . . . . paint, sculpt, sketch or photograph instead .... your collectors and the world will thank you for it.

PPS - Unless of course, you really WANT to avoid doing the things that really matter . . . in that case, Twitter is a perfect waste of time.


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Topics: Clint Watson | Twitter 

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Judith Reidy
via web
Sometimes what I see on many blogs and other networking sites like Facebook and MySpace is sheer twitter. Like the question what are you doing now? I am ....

However I thought I just posted an interesting and helpful blog on problematic artist agronomics, that is what kind of pain develops when artist get sore wrists, elbows, necks and backs from bad posture.
You can find my post at
I think any one that works in one position for any length of time (like a computer programer) may find the article helpful.


Emma Brooks
via web
Hi Clint - really enjoyed this post about twitter. I could never get my head round what seemed like a huge distraction. Best wishes. Emma

Lisa Call
via web
Social media is getting larger and more popular every day. Are you really sure there is no value?

Clint Watson
via web

I never said there was no value in social media in general.  I find that comment a bit strange since I run a service that provides a blogging platform and constantly extole the value of blogging.  I'm also currently working on a social media news site in the art space. I never even said that there's no value in Twitter itself for certain uses, connecting with other artists for workshops, as your site references may work. I also think its a bit unfair to lump me in with Seth's "small thinkers." I didn't say "no one will ever find a use for Twitter, now or in the future." My point is simply that it is currently a waste of time for the marketing of artwork (ie for the purpose of SELLING artwork). That is the need for the vast majority of artists struggling to make a living. . . and typically the reason artists want to "try" Twitter. Thanks for writing.

Lisa Call
via web
I know you said there was no value but this comment:

Why ANY artist would think that sending a “Twit” is a better use of their time than creating art is totally beyond me.

Sounded a lot to me like the we don’t need computers in homes comment. It just felt very short sighted to me.

Selling art is more than just the sale - in my opinion people buy the artist as much as they buy the art. Social media such as twitter and facebook and blogging are excellent ways to market oneself.

The value of twitter will become more apparent as more artists try it and see what does and doesn’t work. Sitting back and staring at it and declaring it low value will result in it remaining low value. Only through experimentation will the value become clear. We might make some silly mistakes today but only through those mistakes will we learn.

Lisa Call
via web
That should read:

I know you *didn't* say there was no value....

Emma Brooks
via web
Hi Lisa - Read your comments and had to post. I found it strange that you equated criticising one element of social media (Twitter) with being equivalent of having a "we don’t need computers in homes" mentality.

Twitter seems good if you want to connect with other artists, or if you are non-artist, to sell products / services to artists through relationship building. But I would think it is not so good at connecting with buyers of art for the reasons that Clint outlined - too much + too often. Yes there may be people who have connected and managed to get opportunities that resulted in sales, but I would think this will be the minority.

In my opinion, since there are only so many hours in the day, it is really a matter of what you want to invest your time in. By choosing one thing, you are sacrificing another. If your aim is to produce art and sell art, this is the top priority, and your social media of choice should be the ones that are going to be the most effective.

Blogging is more thoughtful, in my opinion, than twitter, and as a method to connect with buyers, it is more worthwhile. I agree that buyers like to connect with the artist and I see this as a better 'connection' as they don't have to wade through the "having a cup of tea now...and a biscuit" posts to get to the essence of the artist or info on your art.

I've seen Facebook used well by some artists to connect to buyers also. But for me, twitter seems to be good for connecting regularly with other artists for a support network. This has value but the time spent is at the sacrifice of something else i.e. creating or marketing art.

Lastly, twitter gives way too much info out into the public domain for my liking - from viewing people's Twitter profiles you can glean a lot of personal info i.e. how their day is regularly spent, when they go out, come back, who they see regularly etc. All this is for anyone to view not just friends on twitter.

So to summarise, I didn't see Clint's post as saying social media doesn't have any value. Far from it. Just choose your social media carefully - what's going to give you maximum bang for your to speak.

Best wishes

via web
I think Twitter probably works well for the community that designed it and wanted it - which I will simplistically describe as the techie 'geek' types who already liked to post to their blogs 2-3 times a day. What appeals is the opportunity to sound impressive as they go off to a meeting with somebody whose name impresses everybody.....or at least that's what it looks like to me anytime I actually stop and read a stream of twits!

I think it won't work at all well with those who like to be a tad more private - and as we all know it takes all sorts! No one invention is right for everybody.

Plus I agree with Clint, on the face of it I can't find any obvious ways it helps artists to connect with the people they need to be with. I have noticed thought that the artists I see twittering are those who have a techie type in the background somewhere

The problem I have with it is the word 'twit' but maybe that's because I'm English? Plus I've never actually read any twittering that was actually interesting - and some of it is downright boring!

Susie Monday
via web
I line up with Lisa on this one. I finally came to see Clint's sites after years of sort of hearing about them after seeing a Lisa post which led me to Clintavo. I may not buy, but I certainly am looking, and I suspect at some point, you (Clint) will come up with something I am interested in purchasing. I don't think I am on the only one. I use Twitter as shorthand blogging. I don't blog everyday and don't have the time to do so. I do post a Tweet or two, and use it for somewhat the same reason-- keeping a conversation going, keeping myself honest by making little public declarations of intent for work, creative tasks or problem solving.

Terry A. Jones
via web

I am so computer illiterate that I do not know what Twitter is. After reading your comments I don't want to know!
I was introduced to your blog by an artist friend and I realized very quickly you have some very valuable insights about art and the business of art. Those two are completely different concepts and it is really difficult to reconcile the two. But your blog is helping a lot.
Looking forwards to reading more!


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