#THECRAFT: 6 Things Artists Need to Know About Social Media

Art, Articles, Essays, Non-Fiction

By: Steven Underwood

What’s Güd?

A lot of you guys have been asking me for advice on this pro-art thing so I decided why not turn this into a series?

Today, we will be covering social media in this steadily rising landscape. All artists know that exposure is important, but how to use it is kind of a hit-or-miss. What’s SEO? Are metrics important? Should I have a high follower count?

Read sweet babies. Let me guide you.

  1. Twitter vs. Instagram: social media platforms are as diverse as they are specific in execution. The main question artists ask is what they should be on? Maybe you know you should be on social media, but you’ve heard conflicting success stories about both. Essentially, it’s important to look at these mediums for what they prioritize. Writers have gained a lot of success on Twitter due to its idea and written based format; careers are literally defined based on how successful your thoughts are and that’s why it’s so important to apply this to your work. Instagram is far more visual. Just think about it, we’ve all heard the term IG model before, not Twitter Model. Brands and clients pay more attention to what they can see on a platform designed to make what you see better! Graphic designers should pay special heed to this, but not too much. Twitter has a need for Design as a form of meme generation and gif processing. I hear the older folk asking “What about Facebook?” Eh… Facebook as a brand is good for getting news out, or posting updates, but you can get better reach with these other two. It has a use, but as a support to these other two formats.
  2. Network Groups: Networking is 80% of the job. If you don’t know anyone, you won’t get far– no matter your talent. In writing, this means you should be hunting for the DM group chat on Twitter and doing whatever you can to stand out and participate. This includes online Forums and FB groups. Keep your name in their mouthes and betaread! Giving criticism and doing reviews for other writers will not only get your name out, but that translates into more Social Media advocacy. Followers are closely watched by publications. They matter! What matters more is if your posts are being shared by others who might have a larger network than you, or if you’re interacting with someone who has a better standing socially. This doesn’t mean be fake, or lie about what you review, but authentically these people share the same passion you do. The rest is simple to iron out. Visual Artists on IG should go to Meet-Ups, and frequent groupchats as well. Also, don’t be afraid to spam!
  3. Metrics/Avoid Purchasing Followers: This is a big one, and it isn’t top priority because now most people know its bad. Essentially, your follower count is only as good as a Thesis statement in an essay: it’s vital, but not as good as your body paragraph. Metrics are fat superior. For Example, my twitter account @Blaqueword, boasts a pretty 1k in followers, pretty average. However, my impressions range into the 40,000s. How? My followers are frequent and avid users and my tweets “go in”. Basically, more of my followers interact and share my content AND they have a larger follower count than me (boasting 100 active followers with a blue check mark works out soooo well). As long as I use this, my posts and shares will always guarantee me an upward trajectory! However, purchasing followers works out worse for you. If your followers are all not interacting, clients/brands will notice and hold it against you. It makes you a creative catfish. Sure, they should be interested in you because they like your work, but that’s not a good bottomline. They want someone who can guarantee sells or interest. You just don’t. Organically generating followers always works out.
  4. Scheduled Posts: This is probably the most difficult feat. Staying on top of your social media is important and draining. Sometimes, there just isn’t enough hours in a day. Well, not postinf frequently enough in one day can drastically harm your impressions and therefore your metrics. If every 10,000 impressions gets you 2 followers and they afford you 300 bonus impressions with whether they like/share your posts, you miss out on a lot of potential reach. But, being online limits how much art you actually get to do. Ergo, scheduling. For @Blaqueword, I use Hootsuite. It allows me to not only schedule posts, but knowing my analytics, I can better understand what I should be posting about via knowing my audience. CMS (Content Management Systems) is an important factor in all of this. Know your tools of your craft (or pay someone else to).
  5. Analytics: SMM or Social Media Marketing is all about knowing what your numbers are. This is categorized in so much. For instance, my IG: @Blaqueword holds a humble amount of followers. However, I can increase my range of likes and follows by applying posts at the time specific audience members interact. Most of my followers are from Columbus, OH and like Culturally mindful content on Fridays at 9 PM. So, I post those things at the exact time AND include hashtags to appeal to those groups! Starting off, this is difficult and requires a lot of base-setting. You’ll end up using random hashtags just to see which stick and which do not, but it is a necessary step, so if you’re self-concious about a step, feel free to delete and try again. After all, if you failed that means no one saw, right? (Wrong, god and Beyoncé saw, but they forgive you)
  6. Hire a Writer: Not a self-plug, though I do run several Social Media accounts for brands at a retainer fee. You need to know your medium well enough to pull this off and most of it involves proper writing technique. Writers thrive on social media because we can coordinate our thoughts for the platforms. If you can’t, it’s going to take a lot of footwork to get Followers to fall in. And, honestly, that means you’re depending solely on luck. Don’t do that. If you are incapable of reading trends and knowing what to say at the moment, you probably won’t get a tweet that sticks like grits. Take it from me, a man with 7 viral tweets under his belt, knowing when to say the right combination of words is key!

If this all sounds very business-like, welcome to Art: it’s 60% business. You just got to know how to play it to your advantage. If

Any more questions? Comment! I’m happy to answer.

Steven Underwood (@Blaqueword) is a writer from Columbus, Ohio, where he reigns supreme as the original Urban Bohemian. He received his Bachelor’s in English: Creative Writing and now wanders fiction shelves employing his academic powers to investigate where it says exactly that Black kids can’t be wizards.

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#UPDATES: September 18th

Culture

By: Steven Underwood

 

What’s Good,

For those of you who’re in the unknown, this is the owner of this wonderful website, Steve. After some months, I thought it prudent to keep everyone up to date on what I’ll be doing with the site, kind of a short term goals. While this blog is primarily a host for my portfolio and professional writing career, it is also a place I want to push as a platform for Black Art, and Black Artists (because those things are the topics I tend to talk about in MY art).

With that being said, I think it prudent that I list some things that will be rolling on soon onto the platform:

1.) I am going to pull back from the “take-downs”. A lot of people traffic my read of Luka Sabbat, and while I stand by a lot of what I say, I don’t agree with participating in negativity as a means to promote my career. It was an honest moment and necessary, but I don’t believe in holding grudges, or chaining someone to my opinion of them. If something happens that warrants it, I’ll do it again, but Luka Sabbat is a Black artist doing his thing, and this is a place for uplifting that. So… do with that as you will.

2.) Patreon! I have one. It’s pretty damn great, and I cherish it. On there, I will be releasing some of my cutting edge fiction work, like my screenplays, my short stories, etc. Now that I’ve finished something exciting, I can’t wait to roll out more things for you guys. Following this post, I will put a link to my work you guys might love.

3.) Artist Directory. This is something I think will help a lot with my work. Keeping a tab on specific Black Artists, it will allow me to provide the content here that I think will most help. So, PLEASE submit to me artists you’ve come across in any area and I will look into their work. Hell, send me work they’ve posted online: I’ll review it! This includes:

  • Music (Hip Hop, R&B, Pop, Blues, Pop Rock, etc.)
  • Literature
  • Painting
  • Graphic Design
  • Film
  • Videos (YouTube, instagram, etc.)
  • Fashion
  • Modelling
  • Dance

4.) My Novel is Done. Yeah, I finished a Novel. Soon, you will see a few pitches and a summary of it, but until then  just know a Black Guy wrote a whole 150k+ Fantasy Novel starring ghetto black kids.

5. Blow-by-Blow on Internships, Travel and Art Lifestyle: I’ll start blogging about a lot of things. I work for OUT MAGAZINE to expand my background in Fashion Editorial, I travel to different places for great shows and experiences and participate in a bit of Travel Journalism and, most importantly, I have involved myself in exposing the REAL LIFE of the Black Millennial Artist, so I’ll be doing my part in showcasing what that looks like.

 

So, there’s everything.

If you see something that interests you, or you have any questions, feel free to comment. I don’t bite; I just quip.

 

–Steven

#TRENDSETTER: NICKI MINAJ’S QUEEN ALBUM COVER IS A CELEBRATION OF BLACK ROYALTY

#TRENDSETTER, Art, Music, Non-Fiction

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By: Steven Underwood

According to the Fader, Nicki Minaj released a look at her album cover for her widely anticipated fourth album, QUEEN, this afternoon. While many fans expected a look more standard to a eurocentric ideal of royalty, Nicki Minaj went into a direction that would make Cleopatra in awe. This Egyptian aesthetic mashes up both a visage of sexuality and power while still inspiring an sub-Saharan idealism with the color choice.

This is bound to be a new defining era for the “Chun-Li” rapper and we are ecstatic.

Do you like the cover? Comment below!

Nicki Minaj’s fourth album QUEEN debuts on August 10th. Pre-orders are available next week. 

Luka Sabbat, We Need to Talk…

#TRENDSETTER, Art, Articles, Culture, Essays, Non-Fiction

Dear Luka Sabbat,

I am speaking directly to you.

No word limit.

No hashtags.

Luka Sabbat, you have had quite a career despite your age. You are the child of greatness and you walk circles of fashion and prestige that I have never dreamed of being able to even touch growing up in hovels where trauma and poverty was the only thing guaranteed to me. Yet, I still rooted for you, because you’re black, and because I know no matter the walk of life, we all have troubles.

Until, you opened the ashtray you call a mouth to talk down to the hatefully proclaimed “SJWs” and activists. Because, you’re so beyond all of these things that you can criticize them – that you can poke holes in their logic because you float on a plane of ascended philosophy where scrutiny is hobby of the low and uncultured.

You, my brother, with blood not too many generations free of the shackles of the same victimization these people you criticize face everyday they stand up for something, have the audacity to sit there with your pencil thin mustache and SCRUTINIZE the people you mock for scrutiny?

I’m not going to call you stupid.

Stupid people don’t get as far as you do – not without wealthy connections and family’s legacy to stand on top of; Stupid people don’t contribute immensely to philanthropic pursuits – unless they’re going to brag about it later for clout. Stupid people leap to defend abusers and present problematic antics as a hallmark of true vision; Stupid people speak without knowing what they want to say; stupid people are meek; stupid people are hypocrites; stupid people, foolish people, who seem to make it the furthest and get the highest platforms in their pointy leather boots (likely sewn by people who can’t even afford to feel how uncomfortable they are) don’t listen when people let them know WHY they do something: they just brag about how they’re going to make a video, eventually, explaining how THEY think, and how THEY feel, and how IMPORTANT they think they are.

Of course, because NOT EVERYONE IS A VICTIM.

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Luka Sabbat, you are not stupid. You are an idiot. A dilettante. An amateur in thought, theory and execution who got ahold of his parent’s soapbox and thought himself a Cicero! But, honey, Cicero was executed and he changed nothing, because he lacked Understanding. Luka, like him, you will fix nothing the way you are, and the way you think, and the way you carry yourself with utter repugnance. (By the time Cicero was discovered as “influential” his civilization was already dead).

Not Everyone is a Victim, Luka? And that’s why SJWs are wrong? And that’s what’s so heinous about our generation?

Erase your self-righteousness like you erase the allegations against your bros.

No, Luka. Not everyone is a victim, but most people have been victimized, and that’s why insensitive assholes who hype the foolish things you say, and Kanye said, and Trump perpetuates painted SJWs in such a brand.

No activist whom I have ever met has ever stopped at the internet. That’s because the internet is a tool to SHARE information, to experience new thoughts and then to test them in real life – dummy. But hey, you did only one semester of College before you realized anything you could get there your family already had, ain’t that right Mr. Fallback? Your co-star, Yara Shahidi, knows how formidable the internet is in inspiring people to make lasting decisions and choose to dedicate themselves to these issues and — so many rail against, abuse her, trash her as a SJW. I’m sure she feels your sympathies. A great woman, that Yara, and she will inspire many, through the internet, most likely.

Being an activist isn’t counter-culture anymore because you say so? Because you’re SOOOO counter culture? You peel my tuition off flings and hook-ups. What’s really good, my nigga?

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I see right through what you were doing here. Implying our struggles are done with because it’s not like how it “used to be”. And the “old days were better”. Bro, allusions are the tools of real artists, not the playthings of socialites. Keep it real, or keep it in your Balenciagas.

By the way, you’re out here criticizing the “fake” activists, as if they’re the ones who criticized you and your idols. It’s the real activists who be pounding the pavements who are on your ass, and the ass of your friends who do these terrible shit.

Yet, you persist on making it about how people are mean to you for speaking your mind. That it’s this PC culture and other Alt-Right buzzwords. That everyone is just so sensitive: WAH, WHY CANT I BE FRIENDS WITH A RAPIST?

WAH, WHY CAN’T KANYE WEST DISRESPECT AN ENTIRE GROUP OF MARGINALIZED PEOPLE?

WAH, WHY IS IT WHEN I SAY THINGS PEOPLE DISAGREE WITH THEY DON’T LIKE ME ANYMORE? IT’S LIKE PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO AGREE WITH ME BECAUSE THEY DISAGREE WITH ME!

(Bitch, you’re a little baby).

You complain about people being politically correct, and that it’s toxic and harmful to your humanity, when in reality, you’re just angry that no one wants to play in your playpen because you’re mean, and a bully, and no one wants to listen about how you saved those poor unfortunate black(er) people because you’re okay with sexual abuse and racial misconduct — NIGGA!

Grow up, Luka.

Be about more than your image you want people to care about.

Be about more than the echo chamber you squat and shit in and actually realize people are saying these things for other reasons than clout — unlike you.

Be about actually realizing where you stand in this culture and how your actions contradict your intentions.

Then, maybe the criticism you will mean nothing to you, because you know where you stand in the moral swing of things.

 

Steven Underwood

Bachelor’s of Arts in English

 

 

More of Luka’s poignant observations:

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#TRENDSETTER: Kanye West’s YE Album and Kim Kardashian

#TRENDSETTER, Art, Articles, Culture, Music, Non-Fiction

By: Steven Underwood

You have an opinion on Kanye’s new album?

Dope. I don’t.

Over the past year, Kanye West has found some justified criticisms, and the fact that he leveraged that criticism into publicity is no one’s fault but the consumers who fell for it. Me? I wasn’t into it, I didn’t buy any of the outrage and any issue I took to his comments were mine own. I very pointedly stated this to a specific twitter account for fine art and art cultivation:

“When I cancel someone for being hazardous to our culture, I don’t mean it ironically. A man stands by his word, and an artist stands by their heart.”

It could be because I wasn’t that much of a fan of Kanye’s to begin with. I know of some who would skin their baby sister alive to breathe Ye’s backwash, and that inflates the legend that was Kanye West for me, but there was really not that much satisfaction I reaped from him.  I bopped to “Jesus Walks,” and “All Falls Down”; I know that College Drop-out was a defining moment for Hip-Hop. I know Donda raised better, and deserves better than what this minstrel show is presenting to us, but I don’t care about Kanye West. Never did. And probably never will.

Speaking of Donda – Kim Kardashian sustains herself on being a trash person and making “ignorant” comments just to increase her revenue that consists itself on drama, negativity and the outrage generated by the stupidity her family perpetuates, so I will NOT be focusing on the Donda’s House scenario much. What I will do, is say I am excited to donate to the advancement and mission of the new community support and outreach program that fills the voice of Donda’s House with the staff that has done such a terrific job at empowering the Community Kanye West once hailed from and Kim Kardashian flies over on her way to some sadidy penthouse.

There are too many underground rappers out here to cape for Kanye West.

Check out the single, “Jungle”, by Villenz from Columbus, OH.

https://open.spotify.com/album/0xabwsZqgrSuaTq419Wqom

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/illy/1017166404

For more music by Villenz, follow their SoundCloud.

https://soundcloud.com/anunnaki-villenz

 

Disagree? Change my mind below in the comments.

#TRENDSETTER: ‘EBONY ANTEBELLUM’ PLAYLIST OF BLACK EMOTION

#TRENDSETTER, Art, Music

By: Steven Underwood

Inspirational Black Voices that characterize Black emotion, from an American point-of-view, from an African origin story, featuring music that reflect realities of black life.

 

Comment below with suggestions you feel should be added!