Aug 9, 2007

The 12-Step Program to MySpace Obscurity

I've recently created a MySpace page for my wildlife art to help promote my artwork. I've been spending a little time each day networking MySpace. I've come to realize it's a lot harder to find other artists to network with than I had originally thought. Apparently many artists who create MySpace pages don't want to be found, or at least don't want to network with anyone interested in art. So if you're like those artists here are some tips to make sure you, too, won't be found, or made Friends by, anyone interested in art:

1. Don't post any images of your art. Definitely don't put any pictures on your main page. Force visitors to click on your Pics link and when the do show them pictures of all your friends, family, and pets but not your artwork. That will bore them enough to leave your site very quickly. If you do decide to post some art images make sure they're private so no one can see them ... except, of course, your friends and family who have already seen them.

2. Avoid a consistent theme. Have pictures of a wide variety of your interests. Include pictures of Elvis, your dog's obedience class graduation, you and your friends at the last Star Trek Expo, or your favorite Playboy centerfolds (not that you'd ever see those last two together!). That will keep your page from looking at all professional.

3. Avoid anything related to your artistic interests. If you like to sculpt marine animals or paint seascapes be sure not to have any pictures that have anything whatsoever to do with the ocean or water. Show only images of your hamster's first birthday party instead.

4. Post your mug shot rather than art as your avatar. After all, someone interested in art who is browsing profile thumbnails might actually click on your thumbnail if they saw a picture of artwork. Make sure your thumbnail doesn't stand out among the millions. Additionally, make sure it's a poor quality image, the darker and blurrier the better. For extra obscurity make it a picture of you at your last bowling tournament with the whole bowling league in the background. With all that stuff in the picture no one will ever identify you or your artwork in that tiny 40x40 pixel thumbnail listing. Better yet, use the generic clip-art provided by MySpace.

5. Make your MySpace page difficult to read and navigate. Stylize your page to be so busy no one can find their way around. Make sure there are so many background colors that the text won't be visible on some part of the page no matter what color text you use. Or, you can go the other extreme and make your background all one color, then make your text match the background color. Green text on that lovely image of the rainforest works great. Or dark gray text against that stormy sky image is another wonderful way to get people to give up any hope of reading what you wrote.

6. Be sure to leave the About Me and Interests sections blank so no one will have a clue what your page is about. If you must put something there you can use obscure pictures, without descriptions, that leave it unclear as to why those images are there. Is that picture of palm tree on the beach a picture of your work? Or is it a work by an artist you admire? Perhaps it's a postcard from your last Hawaiian vacation? Or is it just a picture you found while surfing the web that you thought would add some nice decoration to your MySpace page? Keep viewers confused so they'll be sure not to relate your artwork to you.

7. Be sure to use poor grammar, punctuation, and spelling. You want to keep it unappealing and unprofessional. Be sure to include some fowl language, too. One particularly impressive site (for unappealingness) had in its About Me section, "The word 'f__k' is a regular part of my vocabulary..." (No, I didn't make that up) I'm sure that lack of professionalism will keep those big, bad, scary art galleries, dealers, and collectors far, far from her door.

8. Don't use any keywords on your page that might actually have you show up in a search. If you are a portrait artist be sure not to use either the word "portrait" or "artist" anywhere on your page. In fact, to be really safe, don't use any words at all. Search functions can't find you with just obscure images and and broken video links. And be sure not to use your name anywhere. You wouldn't want anyone to actually learn your name, or be able to search your name, or you might become a known artist.

9. Don't network. Don't add Friends, don't join Groups. Keep the existence of your MySpage page known only to you and your immediate friends and family who already know about your art. And, if someone should somehow accidentally stumble across your page they'll be sure to be turned off by the fact that you have exactly 1 Friend on your list, your mother. Additionally, require that people know your last name or email address in order to add you to their Friends list and be sure not to let either your name or address be known.

10. Music! Be sure to add loud annoying music to your page. Everyone loves your favorite song as much as you do, right? Of course not. So adding music, particularly if it's loud and irritating, is a sure way to get anyone clicking their browser's Back button in a hurry and get off them your page as quickly as possible. At the very least you'll get them reaching for the Mute button on their speakers and leave them in an unpleasant mood while they look over your page.

11. Don't blog regularly and don't write about anything interesting, especially anything related to art. You don't want people coming back for more! And you definitely don't want them thinking you have any interest in art despite your claiming to be an artist.

12. Decorate your page with ugly and obscene images. Having background images of gothic horror or artwork by Sorayama Hajime is sure keep your page from being family friendly. You'll eliminate a huge portion of the art market this way.

So there you have it. Do all, or at least most, of those things and you can be sure few people will get to know you and your art, or want to add you to their Friends list. At least you know I won't.


Plein Air Florida said...

Excellent post Crista.

CCW said...

I've often wanted to write something like this for my fellow writers. :) This is an excellent post, Crista. I just approved your request on MySpace and I look forward to getting to know you and your work a bit.


Joe Kazimierczyk said...

Good advice, and it can apply to other types of websites besides MySpace. I'd be interested if you blog about your opinions on Myspace as a vehicle for artists, after you've been there for a while.

Dawn Okoro said...

Funny! I definately feel your frustration.

Tina Mammoser said...

Both funny and spot on. :) Thanks for the smile. I don't think I'm guilty of any... I hope not!

PetArtist said...

Well said Christa (or rather written). I really thought I was just getting old and just didn't get myspace, but everything you have written is why I find it so infuriating to use.

I had decided to delete my account, but suddenly this month have had some click throughs to my website from myspace (the first time since joining).

Maybe it is more effective for artists that have work for sale on a much frequent basis (like daily). The bulletins probably are the best way to promote your art, but if you don't sell heaps on ebay or have regular work for sale, what the heck can you post a bulletin about?

I'm just glad that I'm not the only one who feels this way about myspace.


Katherine said...

I'm with the others - this is an excellent post - and has been referenced today in my weekly round-up post on my blog

vivien said...

great post :) and it's why I didn't set up a My Space account - now I'm wondering if I should!

Jai said...

Great post! I've been trying to network there over the past few days and am running into the same things you's so frustrating!

Anonymous said...

fyi, when you upload your images to myspace you are giving them unlimited perpetual license to do with those images whatever they wish. including licensing them out to third parties. read the TOS and be very cautious when uploading your artwork to myspace or facebook.

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