When people think “business networking online” they probably think of LinkedIn. (LinkedIn has pretty much been regarded as the premier social network for professionals ever since it launched in May of 2002.)
But for artists, I don’t think LinkedIn is the right network for making business contacts—I think Twitter is.
Of course, it’s just my opinion, but from my experience on both networks (and Facebook, too) Twitter has proven to be a much easier place to connect with other artists, especially when you have a specific business need in mind.
For example, I recently “tweeted” that I was looking for someone to fill a writing spot on EE. Specifically, I wrote that I was looking for an art teacher, past or present.
That message first went out to my 350+ followers, which isn’t a lot in Twitter terms. . . but that’s OK, because four other people, tkrysak, lameymacdonald, wcl_library, and amiemccarron (some of whom have a lot more followers than I do) retweeted my original tweet—which simply means that they RE-sent it out to all of their followers as well. All told, my request for a new writer reached around 2200 people.
Now, if you’re a regular Twitter user already, that probably doesn’t seem like big news. You might be thinking, “Well, duh, that’s what Twitter does best—it’s quick, and it makes it easy to repeat what other people say.”
But hold on a second—it’s actually a really important concept! Why? Because Twitter imitates real life better than any other social network does.
Take a look at the traditional workplace (or at your health club, or church, etc). People always gather to talk, usually in small groups of two or three, sometimes larger. And if you’ll notice, in every instance there are a few people who are the life of the conversation, no matter what group they’re in.
These are the topic starters, the final-worders, the ones who control the flow of information from group to group. People gather around to absorb the news/gossip/jokes because those people are always on, entertaining, educating and connecting.
You might express a problem to one of those people, and they’ll mention it to someone else—or have someone in mind who can fix it for you—and BAM, before you know it, the problem’s on its way to being solved.
That’s what Twitter does too. It connects you and me with “people that know people.” These folks may be halfway around the world from you, but it doesn’t make a lick of difference. They can still help you meet the people you should be in contact with.
So for me, Twitter is now becoming a very cool business and networking opportunity. Much more than LinkedIn or any other social network. Maybe more than in real life.
Sound crazy? I don’t think so.
As artists, our networking options are limited. Generally speaking, we don’t see other people from the “art biz” when we go to our day job, or as we’re painting in our own studios. The art network is scattered.
But Twitter can make that network appear—and it also makes it very easy to connect with others in it.
I’ll confess, I didn’t catch on to Twitter right away. I still feel like I’m just starting out and I don’t “tweet” as much as other people do. But this is one of the ways I’m going to be using my Twitter account from here on out.
I’m going to try to work harder at connecting people, and finding connections for myself and EmptyEasel. It’d almost be wasteful not to.
And I really encourage you to do the same.
By the way, my search for a new writer turned up 4 interested individuals before 24 hours had passed. It happened so fast I haven’t picked one yet, so if you’re an art teacher and you’re interested, feel free to throw your own hat in the ring as well. :)