photo by Alison Quine  on flickr.com

photo by Alison Quine
on flickr.com

Finding a right-on social media tool that works for an artist is no easy deal. As one artist friend of mine puts it, she finds “…Facebook, so far, to be cluttered, distracting, and a time-suck,” and prefers blogging. There are artists who have downright amazing Facebook fan pages (however, now you don’t get to choose to be a “fan” but instead choose to “like” the page). For example check out Wynton Marsalis’s Facebook page (112,639 “likers” as of this moment and counting). Wynton does a pretty stellar job. He involves his Facebook followers in his creative process, including rehearsals, shares releases of music (including mp3 files you can download), brings you along on his travels, and chats about this and that. He’s a master of short posts, uses all digital media, and seems to really love to connect to his loyal readers (sometimes he posts 2-3 times in one day and gets hundreds of comments!).

The man has got it down, obviously. What ArtSpark and its participating artists are trying to discover, though, is how to build social media momentum using Facebook or Twitter or MySpace without it being a distraction from the artistic work itself, when time for making art is often too sparse to begin with. Questions like: “is social media good for building a fan base that ultimately (when?) translates into more people coming to your show or your reading or your performance and, ultimately, more financial support?” remain. Plus, with many people, there’s a lurking concern about privacy and intellectual/creative property rights as Facebook morphs and grows to occupy more web real estate fairly rapidly. Hmmm. Lots to explore and more to come…