Tag: 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!



I have the most compassionate and courageous social media friends in the world.

Sad Cat Drawing by BZTAT
Drawing by BZTAT

I am lucky. I rarely have to contend with haters, internet trolls and people with ugliness in their hearts. That is because I have the most compassionate and courageous social media friends in the world.

Since the death of Robin Williams was announced, and since it was reported that his death was a suicide, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been full of compassionate and heartfelt postings for the comedian. There have been posts with understanding for the sufferers of depression and other mental illnesses, and there have been informational posts to offer help to those in need.

I wish that Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda, who obviously is in great pain right now, was as lucky as I am. The haters of the world viciously descended upon her at her worst moment, sending hateful messages about her father to her Twitter account. My heart cries out to her in so many ways.

I am sheltered from such hate, thankfully, most of the time. I know it is out there, though.

Despite the risks of being on the receiving end of the vitriol, many of my social media friends have taken the unusual step of discussing their own battles with depression and other emotional struggles very openly in response to Williams’ death. I admire them so much for having the courage to do that!

Coping with emotional pain takes immeasurable courage on its own. To talk about it openly, knowing that it could have repercussions – well, that is the most courageous thing a person can do. My friends’ purpose in taking the risk was to let others know that they are not alone, and that they can get to the other side of it.

We all hurt, and we are all susceptible to experiencing mental and emotional disturbances. There is no shame in it. There is only sadness when someone loses his or her life because they did not believe that they could get to the other side of it.

I spent 20 years as a mental health counselor, helping people heal from a variety of emotional concerns. If anyone thinks that these people were weak or somehow defective, they would would be wrong. These were the strongest and most courageous people that I have ever met.

I want to thank you, if you were one of those who shared a story about your own struggles in the last couple of days. I also want to thank you if you were one of those who responded to another’s sharing with compassion and support. You have all reminded me of the most wonderful aspects of human nature.

I also want to thank Robin Williams. He made me laugh with his silliness. He made me cry with his seriousness. He helped me understand with his gripping portrayals of The Fisher King and the neurologist Oliver Sacks who discovered groundbreaking treatments for mental illness in the film Awakenings.

I only wish that he could have believed that he could make it to the other side.

Godspeed dear funny man. We will always love you.

If you need help, please check out the resources in your area. There is hope! If you do not know how to access help in your area, these national mental health resources can help get you the services you need.

Life is an Adventure!


Why BlogPaws is so Important to Me

This post originally appeared here on April 1, 2010. Since I am going to the second BlogPaws conference in Denver, CO next week, I wanted to share it again (with updated links). It is especially poignant for me since I will be speaking at and creating a mural at BlogPaws West.


When I was child, I was painfully shy. I am talking pathological anxiety, excruciating and terrified of people kind of shyness.

Even though I have been a mental health therapist for 19 years, I still do not know where the shyness came from. I do, however, know what saved me from it.


Having family pets gave me friends of whom I was unafraid, and who showed me unconditional love. My pets also gave me something that I could talk about with people, alleviating some of my social anxieties.

I am 48 years old now, and I now feel fairly comfortable in most social situations. I even have found comfort in speaking in front of large groups. Even so, I still rely on my love of animals as one of my mainstay conversation topics.

So it is no wonder that I gravitated towards pet lovers when I stepped into the vast sea of social media.

Through my blogging cat Brewskie Butt, I have met hundreds of pet lovers from all over the world, and I have developed friendships that are very deep and meaningful through online interaction. I have even had the opportunity to meet some of these people face to face, enjoying a more full experience of our shared love of animals.

Next week, I will get the chance to meet many more of these people and other new friends at [BlogPaws West], the [second] ever pet blogging conference, being held in [Denver, CO]. I can’t wait!

I am looking forward to the event as an opportunity to expand my professional network as a pet portrait artist and blogger, and I am hoping to learn some new skills to enhance my online presence.

More than anything, though, I am looking forward to meeting people who share the love that I have of animals on a personal as well as professional level. And, I am looking forward to meeting some of their pets also, because many people will be bringing their animals with them to the conference!

Robert Brault said, “The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude.”

I believe this to be true. We allow pets into a very special place in our hearts that is unguarded and unfettered. Friends who understand this best are the ones I most want to allow in my company.

So you see, painting pets is more than just a niche art style for me. It is something that connects me to the world from a place deep within my soul.

And that is why meeting up with fellow pet lovers at BlogPaws is so important to me.

I’ve never used before, so at the right moment I was afraid that I wouldn’t achieve erection because of my concern (especially when I had a new girl).

I hope to see YOU at BlogPaws!