Category: social media

A new adventure, or just another way to walk down the same old road?

Artist BZTAT's Tsu Social network page


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So there is a new social network in town. It is called Tsu. I know, I am skeptical too.

When social networks were a new frontier, many were skeptical then, as well. Eventually, we all jumped on board, though, and now we don’t know how we ever lived without it. We have become entrenched in certain networks and are skeptical about changing to new ones. When new social networks hit the scene, they are met with a lot of yawns.

First there was Myspace. I jumped on board with that, connecting with others in my local art community as we worked to build an Arts District in Canton, OH. I also connected with artists and galleries and museums around the world, but I won’t say that I had much reach back then. Myspace soon became the gutter of social media, however, and I moved on.

Next, I joined Twitter, following the guidance of a blogpost on Empty Easel that shared how some artists were connecting with patrons there. My cat joined Twitter as well, and truth be told, he built my business as a Pet Portrait Artist through his shenanigans there.

My nephew, who was attending Syracuse University at the time, sent me an invitation to Facebook, which at the time was primarily for college students, but it was starting to branch out. It took awhile, but my Twitter following eventually drifted to Facebook, and that has become my biggest area of connection with fans and customers.

I continue to tweet, although my cat has all but hung up his tweeting paws (We are talking about that. Need to get my Brand Manager a bit more active). I have joined Google+, Pinterest and Instagram, and I maintain a presence on LinkedIn. (If you are on any of these platforms, you can find active content from me there.)

I joined Ello when it was the latest greatest, but it became an echo chamber, so I have all but abandoned it.

And now, a friend sends me an invite to join Tsu, the newest social network to hit the scene. Why should I try this one? Is it a new adventure, or is it just another way to walk down what has become the same old road?

Tsu is very similar to Facebook. Except for having the color green, it looks the same and has most of the same features. What is different about it? The difference is in the business model.

Facebook treats its users as a product for driving revenue for the company. They use your data and your content as a means for gaining revenue from advertising and selling data. They purposefully manipulate the visibility of your content according to their own financial gains, not for the purpose of user satisfaction. We all know we are being used for somewhat disingenuous purposes, but we accept that because we enjoy what the service provides.

Tsu claims that we do not have to accept that trade-off in order to enjoy the benefit of the service. In fact, they seek to reward users that draw in revenue instead of using them. Users that draw in other users that draw in revenue can benefit financially from the use of the service.

It sounds like a laudable goal. And reports suggest that Tsu has been very responsive to confronting users that try to game the system. Bots and spammers are dealt with immediately and inappropriate content is eliminated.

I am not sure how deep I am going to get into Tsu, but I do see an opportunity for attracting new interest in my artwork, so i am giving it a go. If you would like to try, simply click on the button below for an invite (It is invitation only). In the effort for full disclosure, I may benefit from any revenue that you bring in, as you will benefit from bringing in other users yourself.

If it all sounds “Ho, hum” to you, that is fine. If it does take off, and you want to reconsider, feel free to come back to this post to get the invite. Hope to see you wherever you like to connect with others.


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Follow me wherever you connect!

BZTAT on Facebook     BZTAT on Twitter     BZTAT on Instagram     BZTAT on Pinterest

BZTAT on Google+     BZTAT on LinkedIn


Life is an Adventure!



Why are artists afraid of marketing themselves?

art marketing for artists

I talk to a lot of artists on a regular basis. Some online and some in person. With only a few exceptions, they almost always put up their guard when I start talking to them about marketing their art and themselves.

I simply don’t get it.

I realize that it doesn’t come naturally to some. I also understand that learning the technologies for art marketing can be intimidating. But artists are supposed to be intrepid souls who will go where others will not dare, right?


My experience has shown that artists tend to shed their intrepid adventurer skins when you start talking social media, blogging, websites, etc. to them. Why is that?

I suspect that there are a lot of reasons. Whatever the reason, it is to the artist’s detriment. Artists who succeed in their own lifetimes tend to be the ones who develop a knack for marketing. They sync their creative souls with their desire to share their work with others, and they find ways to get there work “out there”. When their work is “out there” and seen by a wider audience, it sells.

I am not anywhere close to where I want to be in selling my work, but I am SELLING. I sell more work than most artists that I know. I am not living in luxury, but I am living from the proceeds of my art. I am building a foundation upon which greater things can develop.

I want to help others learn what I have learned, and what I continue to learn about marketing. It is a creative and energizing endeavor, and it does not have to take away from one’s artwork production.

So I ask you, if you are an artist, are you afraid of marketing? What scares you the most? What hold you back?

Random Acts of Awesomeness Day

Digital Art by BZTAT

I think that it is important for artists to surround themselves with a variety of influences — some being artists and arts related influences; some being people who inspire us in ways beyond the world of art. I have been lucky to have both in my “real” world as well as my “virtual’ world via social media.

I am not exactly sure how or why, but somewhere along the line I found myself connected to two Human Resources bloggers though social media. I have become a big fans of both, and have also found reciprocal support from them. One of these bloggers is Laurie Ruettimann of Punk Rock HR, through whom I got connected to Amanda Hite, CEO of Talent Revolution. Both of these women have inspired me artistically, but also influenced me in terms of developing a business around my artwork.

I don’t think I am typical of either woman’s following, but both are women who break standards on a daily basis, so I fit right in.

Anyway, I got an email this morning from Amanda and the rest of the Talent Revolution Team that today was “Random Acts of Awesomeness Day“, meaning that today is a day to randomly send shout-outs to people for their awesomeness. I thought that was a pretty cool idea, so I am dedicating my blog today to five people whose awesomeness has made an incredible difference in my life.

  • The first shout-out goes to Laurie Ruettimann, whose cat Scrubby is my Brewskie Butt‘s long lost twin, and serves as her partner in the blogosphere as the Brew does with me. Laurie constantly challenges me to think about new things and ideas through her funky but intelligent blog. She also inspires me to be real and fun via social media, which has helped me significantly in find a following for my artwork online. I have never met Laurie in person, yet she has given me personal support and encouragement many, many times. I am really hoping that she is able to make it to BlogPaws West in September so that I can meet her in real life.
  • The next goes to Amanda Hite. Amanda, like Laurie, is often the keynote speaker at major conferences and conventions, and she consults with important people from large corporations. Even so, she once took time out of her busy schedule to talk with little ol’ me for an hour (for free) on a Sunday evening. She sends me tweets and Facebook comments now and then to encourage and support me, and she posts really encouraging stuff on Talent Revolution that inspires me. I hope to meet Amanda in real life someday too.
  • The next goes to Caroline Golon, co-founder of BlogPaws, public relations pro extraordinaire, and staff to the incomparable Romeo the Cat. I met Caroline online through social media as well, however, I have had the opportunity to meet her in real life, and we are great friends. Everyone should have a cheerleader like Caroline in their corner. She has been a steadfast supporter of my artwork and has helped me access great opportunities.  Plus, she is a tireless fundraiser for animal charities, a cause which is near and dear to my heart.
  • My next shout-out goes to another animal charity fundraiser phenom — Lynn Haigh. Lynn is the founder and coordinator of the incredible monthly PawPawty — a 24-hour Twitter event that raises money for animal charities. Lynn and I met online through the early pawpawties, of which Brewskie Butt‘s birthday was the 2nd official “pawty”. We have since met in New York City when we were both nominated for Shorty Awards, and again at the first BlogPaws conference. The pawpawties have raised OVER $33,000 for animal charities in little over a year! That is just awesomeness to the nth degree, if you ask me! For her efforts, I have nominated Lynn as one of CNN’s Heroes.
  • My last shout out goes to a local Canton, OH hero of mine — Robb Hankins, CEO of Arts in Stark, the County Arts Council. Robb has given me amazing support personally and helped me develop several artistic projects. But beyond that, he has inspired a movement in Stark County, OH that has helped artists and the entire community develop an identity around the arts. Few people know this, but Robb was also the first person to encourage me to develop my niche as a pet artist, for which I am eternally grateful.

Laurie, Amanda, Caroline, Lynn, and Robb — You are all the most awesome of awesomeness to me, and I thank you for all the inspiration you have given me.

Who has inspired you with awesomeness? Why not send them a random act of awesomeness today? Send them a tweet or Facebook shout-out, or give them a shout-out here and send them the link.