It all started with my decision to sell my artwork online. I spent hours setting up my shop on Etsy, learning how to photograph my artwork, figuring out shipping and then posting listings. Now I began the hard work of self-promotion so that my little enterprise could get found among the virtual soup that contained thousands of others.
My three new “how to” books on the subject all instructed me to start setting up social media accounts, get involved in forums, start posting, liking & commenting on a regular basis. This activity would eventually lure customers to my site, hopefully to buy.
Previous to this, as a Baby boomer I was quite happy with my life in the tangible world and saw no need to be a party to the social media craze. Nevertheless, trying to be open-minded, I set up the necessary Facebook & Instagram accounts to start and took the plunge. I started posting regularly. Unfortunately the prescribed practice of liking and commenting just to build a following seemed very sleazy to me so I dragged my feet on that. Then there were the apps that will like & share for you. Really? You can buy likes? No thanks.
Then suddenly, a Pandora’s Box of distractions was open to my brain. My somewhat ADD personality quickly became hostage to this mysterious world on the other side of the screen. I found myself constantly checking my posts & listings to see how many likes or comments they got. It was hard to tell myself from the other scrollers & tappers that were everywhere I looked. Who was this Pavlovian creature I had become?
Then recently, after over a year of this grand experiment, I realized that this whole exercise was sucking away too much time energy from my creative process. I had a few online sales but not enough to warrant all the effort. More so, my heart was just not into it & I wanted relief from the distraction.
It was an easy fix. I deleted the Facebook & Instagram apps off my phone & IPad. It took a couple of days for my mind to feel free of the social media sirens calling my name. I could be fully present again. My Instagram, Facebook & Etsy accounts are still active. The difference is that I manage them rather than them managing me. I peek in twice a week now either post &
then check for responses.
There was one social media platform that was left to me to try- blogging. About a month ago I put this blog up just to give it ago. The self- promotion goal I had for blogging instantly dissipated as I rekindled my love of self-expression through writing. What a nice surprise WordPress has been! Here is this great community of interesting people I can interact with. Now I am writing, reading, & commenting on others blogs because I want to, not because I should. This online experience continues to be meaningful in contrast to hollow exercises I had been pursuing on Facebook and Instagram.
My Etsy shop languishes as my desire for screen time has waned. Currently my internet store & social media accounts mostly serve as virtual portfolios for shows I enter. It appears that I am not cut out as an online entrepreneur. I’ve realized that selling my art in person offers me more financial & emotional rewards than the world of online commerce can offer. Back to the real world of face to face relationships & writing just for the love of writing. No regrets.
P.S. For what it’s worth, since you’re here, here are links to my social media accounts…..