Technology advice for artists: use it first!

Patricia J. Velte, my Web guru, offers this advice for artists.

In a nutshell, artist should actually use the technology that they hear about and think they must have.
For example:
If they want a shopping cart … they should try purchasing things online so they know what online shopping is like and try PayPal so that they can explain the purchasing process to new clients.
If they want a blog … they should visit other blogs and even post comments.
If they want people to subscribe to their blog … they should actually subscribe to other blogs and see what they like and don't like about how the subscription services work, etc.
If they want to podcast … they should actually own an mp3 player, know how to use it, and subscribe to a few podcasts–even downloading the files and listening to them to see what the experience is like.
If they want the ability to track who opens their e-mail messages and know what links they use within the message … they should sign up for mailing lists and use the links in the messages so they can find out if they find it convenient or inconvenient to receive follow-up messages.
If they want to have audio or video on their site … they should visit other artists' or competitors' sites to find out what they like to experience as the visitor and what they don't.

Pat, I couldn’t agree more. I have seen so many people bumble their technology because they were told (by me?–oops) that they needed a blog or needed something else. But they haven’t the curiosity to find out what that will mean and how to do it right.

Back to the in a nutshell thing: USE technology before you commit to it. Otherwise, it becomes a frustrating diversion on your artist’s path. You’re stuck with something that doesn’t behave as you would like and wasted a lot of time.

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5 thoughts on “Technology advice for artists: use it first!”

  1. Michael Lynn Adams

    Along with art, I am a tech head by nature and vocation. I have taught Web design and development and its use in marketing for years. I couldn’t agree with you more. Artists need to know what they are getting into and what your visitors will experience by testing it themselves. TECHNOLOGY IS SEDUCTIVE SO PACE YOURSELF Try to master one new technology at a time. This is harder than you might think. Not because the technology itself is difficult. Often time it is very easy to use which can be part of the problem. It is seductive. For example, blogging can be addictive as can social networking on MySpace and/or FaceBook. And one technology often leads to another – building a Web site leads to shopping carts, leads to e-mail campaigns, to blogging, to Facebook and MySpace to podcast to YouTube, etc. It can really suck you in and suck your time. DEFINE YOU GOALS Know exactly how the technology is going to work for you to achieve your goals. Make it part of you marketing plan (you have a marketing plan, right?) If you just dive in without this clarity you can easily find yourself wondering around a virtual maze of options. BE AN ARTIST FIRST Technology is great and its proper use is critical to your success. But it can be a huge time drain especially when you are a novice. As artists we need to have our art be our primary focus. Don’t let the use of technology replace your productive art time.

  2. I am most assuredly NOT a tech head. There are technologies I can’t figure out how to use on the web, and some that I sorta know how to use, work for me half way and I have no idea how to go forward (short of hiring yet another web person who will leave me high and dry – not that all do this, but I’ve had a bad run and am therefore web person shy). The only reason I have a blog is because I spent money with the Blog Squad way back and they had a book that lead me through the set up step by step. After 2 years I still get lost in the mechanics of my blog. I tell myself it’s because I am not a step by step thinker. I’m a take 2 steps and one giant step thinker which doesn’t work with technology. All of this by way of saying: great suggestions but they won’t work for everyone.

  3. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Michael: Great advice. I agree that technology is seductive and I love that word. It’s most appropriate here. Follow with your head, not your heart. Tammy: Sometimes we just have to leap and figure it out as we go along. But it’s still important not to bite off more than you can chew. You have done a fantastic job with your blog. There will always be more to learn, but you at least started with a plan. Then you forged your own path.

  4. All really good advice….and such common sense. Would someone really use technology they hadn’t explored fully first? It’s always good to know what your customer, client, reader, etc. is going to be dealing with so you can be ahead of your own curve….

  5. I discovered accidentally that when you buy something on Ebay, they give you a feedback point…If you have PayPal it counts for 5 points, & if you buy five things from different people & pay promptly, you get another five points…With a total of ten points you are allowed to sell at a fixed price, instead of the auction, which can be confusing…I know now that through the action of buying small items, how Ebay works, & doesn’t work…a store costs 15 dollars a month, & is really like a complete website unto itself…plus the search engines pickup your listings in minutes, faster than my regular websites…

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