Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Is Twitter the Best Place for Artists to do Business Networking Online?

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.

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.