As always, we would love to hear what YOU are thinking. Go to https://expertclay.com/mtp/ to get in touch and share some of your own ideas.
Also, this past Monday I posted a new MudTalk Monday question on the Expert Clay and Pottery Making Info social accounts. The question was “What clay related content, opportunities or ideas would you like to see more of online?”
As you probably know, during the recording of this episode the world is a little uncertain right now. Many places are closing down and most of us have been encouraged to avoid crowds and stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Even NCECA was cancelled which was disappointing to a large number of people in the ceramics community even though it was the right thing to do. So what can we do to help each other, learn from each other, and grow our community when we can’t meet face to face?
So there is something for you to think about. But let’s get back to our topic for today: how does sharing on social media impact your work? During our current time this may take on a new meaning. When we can’t go out it may be even more important to share with others online. Has your own view changed on this at all over the past few months? Are you doing anything different? Will you do anything different in the future?
Let’s see some of the original answers to the question “How does posting on social media affect your work?”
Sheric2015 I’ve learned so much from you tube videos. I love seeing other people’s work in videos.
Hollycoley Studio life can feel isolating. I think social media takes the edge off, encourages people supporting each other, and gets my work seen by hundreds of people.
Celestial.surf.studio Social media is a wonderful tool in my opinion. It’s helped me grow outside of reaching only friends and family. It’s provided countless business opportunities, ideas, and provides feedback on how well a design is doing. I love uploading progress videos and photos to keep my audience engaged and interested in my work. It also helps the impact of shop updates, making them more exciting and easier to anticipate. I try to post at least once a day and keep something on “my story” but sometimes it’s hard keeping up being a maker and normal human. Over all I feel like it’s mostly positive.
Swoshpots Positive – found teachers, friends, inspiration, knowledge. Negative – addiction of likes and followers, constantly checking, takes time from real life.
Taniarustageceramics It makes me take more photos of the process and not just the end product.
Casapangea it is incredibly helpful. and i can try so many techniques and get so much inspired by them. i love ❤️
Conniesceramic For me as a starter at the wheel it is very exciting watching the videos and of course I am also inspired of the other potters work, because in the beginning I thought it would be boring making only round things 😱but now I know that sooo much is possible 😍. I also like to show my work and I am pleased and makes me happy that my stuff [is] like[d] [by] people all over the world 🌎 ❤️
Jnpottery I find inspiration and new techniques to try, to improve my throwing and glazing.
Jodipottery_at_sandycreek My new mantra: “every minute down the rabbit hole of social media is time better spent creating in my own studio”. I’ve had to impose strict time constraints for my online ‘research’ or I get sucked in every time! 😬
Lithopsstudio I feel that social media provides great exposure when used right but there are definitely it’s down sides. It tends to cause unnecessary anxiety stemming the need for validation through likes and followers. Plus it can get very personal at times so take care my friends! Keeping a balance is key (-: Happy claying 🌿✨
Taz_london_clay Instagram is my learning tool, my contacts with other clay workers, my inspiration, my occasional weakness and most of all my “look what I did today at school mum”, moment when on days being the only ceramists in what is predominantly a music studio can get a bit lonely and I need clay approval.
Here are a few of my favorite responses:
Wildfirepotterypenn For me, sharing a pic(s) on social media can bring joy or heartache. If something is shown and it gets alot of “likes” or comments it feels great and validates the creative ego. If it does not, for whatever reason, it brings up thoughts of what is wrong (Even Though it may not have anything to do with the work itself) My work is affected more by what I see from others. It takes away the ‘creating in a vacuum’ effect because I am exposed to so many other people’s work.
I think this is a great point from Wildfirepotterypenn. The creative ego can be a fragile thing. But sometimes all those likes and follows or lack thereof have less to do with the actual work and more with the eye catchiness of the image of the work, the engagement with your post and the “algorithm” in general. It is good to feel validated though and encouraging comments or likes can really help with that.
Artbygretamichelle It’s good in that your brand is seen. If it leads to sales, great! (So far I’ve had no sales from social media which cause more questions) If one is not careful it can also be a deterrent to creativity. I have found that limiting myself from certain sites is good. Too much stimulant causes me [to] question whether the idea that I have is one inspired by my experience or whether I’m just pinching it from something I saw on Pinterest or Instagram. Also it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘how many likes and why they like me syndrome.
This is an interesting thought from Artbygretamichelle. All the social media can actually be a deterrent to creativity. With a constant stream of stimuli it may make you unsure of your own work. And I get it, you don’t want to copy someone else. You don’t want to make someone else’s work. But maybe it’s not such a bad thing according to the book Steal Like an Artist. Just make sure you steal your ideas in the correct way. Sometimes I find myself thinking, it’s all been done before after scrolling through social media. And that can be a little discouraging. But it is possible to put your own spin on things and combine things in new ways.
I think the real problem is alluded to by the “how many likes and why they like (or don’t like) me” syndrome. It is really easy to get discouraged when you don’t think you’re not getting as much engagement as you think you should. Especially when you start looking at other accounts and see how many more likes and followers they have. Sometimes it’s even just a discrepancy of support between some of your own work. If a picture of one pot doesn’t get as many likes as another pot does that mean that the pot isn’t as good? Maybe? There may be some value in seeing which images are best received on social media. But there are a lot of other variables that can cause more or less engagement. So make pots that you like. Then find the right people that like them too.
Robertdboyer Thanks for the shout out! I definitely find positive aspects of community and exposure on social media but often find that it muddies the waters for me in terms of creativity and motivation. I sometimes wonder whether the work is driven by the social media or vice versus and I feel more likely to NOT do something because of a post I see online than to be inspired toward a new idea I’m willing to act on. Overall I keep doing it so I must feel like it’s a net positive but weighing the costs and become more mature in regards to my emotional connection to the metrics is proving to be important.
Thanks RobertDBoyer for the idea for this MudTalk topic. It seems that a lot of people agree, social media can have a big impact on creativity and motivation. Hopefully more positive than negative. An interesting question for each potter and artist to examine for themselves: is the work driven by social media or is social media driven by the work? Is one better than the other? At one point I probably would have said that I hope to create my own unique work that I have come up with from real influences and inspiration. But some of my inspiration has always come from other ceramic work. And social media just gives us much more and easier access to other people’s work. And I do take note of how images of my work performs on social media. Over a large enough sample size it could give me some indication of what may sell well. So I would say for me, social media can drive my work in some way. But I’m also working on taking the qualities of my work and presenting them on social media in some kind of coherent manner. Kind of a personal brand or artistic style through the work and social media presentation and marketing and everything else.
So what about you? How much are you influenced by social media? How does your unique work influence the way you post it on social media? Perhaps there is some correlation to where you are in your clay journey? If you are closer to a beginner, maybe your work will be influenced more by what you see on social media. If you have already established an artistic style in your work maybe you influence others or your work influences the way you post on social media.
Interesting things to think about. Thanks for thinking about them with me. I hope you are doing well in these uncertain times. Keep a positive attitude. Stay safe. Keep making. We are in this together even though we aren’t physically together. If there is anything I can do, don’t hesitate to reach out.
The next episode of the MudTalk Podcast will be about business tips and advice. I can’t wait to get into that one as well. Until then, stay safe, stay strong, stay connected through social media and stay muddy.