#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.

#TRENDSETTER: CONGRATULATIONS TO ‘STREET SERENADE APPAREL’’s GIANNA ROSS @ the #WCWFashionShow

#TRENDSETTER, Fashion

By: Steven Underwood

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#Wcwfashionshow set it off with Gianna (or Gia, as she is affectionately called)’s ode to the Streets.

Yesterday, New Jersey native, Gianna Ross, released her street inspired collection for Street Serenade Apparel. Her line focused on the dynamic looks of rap, hip-hop and black culture, celebrating the fierce nobility in our nouveau noir generation. The bold Centenary University Alum’s showcase stunted, featuring several of her sorors as models for her collection.

“Heart Beat Of The Streets”

An ode to the Streets, Culture, & the People that arose from it. Using the streets as our muse & embracing our journey, from the ground up🥀✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

Do what Janelle Monae said: Femme the future and follow her Movement!

IG: streetserenadeapparel

IG (Owner): Gia_lizz

Like, Comment and Follow for a close look at this artist’s journey!

#INSPIRE: LOVE FOR GQ

#TRENDSETTER, Articles, Non-Fiction

“I want to be an authentic, unapologetic warrior for black culture and the culture of the street and how it moves. My thing is most importantly to change the narrative of the black race. I can’t relate to anything that isn’t about that.” — Love, formerly Sean Diddy Combs, for GQ April 2018.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from his shoot. Got any favorites? Comment below!

#DEADPOOL: DONALD GLOVER LEAKS FANTASTIC ‘DEADPOOL’ SCRIPT VIA TWITTER

#TRENDSETTER, Articles, Culture

By: Steven Underwood

“For the record: I wasn’t too busy to work on Deadpool.” Tweeted Donald Glover, moments before dropping a 14 thread false pilot episode, featuring topical jokes such as Sanaa Lathan biting Beyoncé’s and Tekashi69’s (lack of) rap skills. This BOMB dropped just after Glover and his brother parted ways with the Deadpool animated series, where “differences” in creativity were cited. (Pictures below).

After reviewing the script, Glover stated that it was likely his “different” approach that scared away the prospectively lucrative deal.

By different, I of course mean Black.

What do you think? Do you agree Sanaa Lathan bit Beyoncé’s face? Where do you imagine Gambino’s series fitting in? Comment below

#LISTEN: BLAQUEWORD’s SUNDAY SIT BACK PLAYLIST

Articles, Music

Sit back and enjoy a little vibe while you scroll through some more social media savagery.

//tools.applemusic.com/embed/v1/playlist/pl.u-11zBX83HKW2428?country=us

Like, Comment and Subscribe! Don’t forget to subscribe to our Patreon here for exclusive content every week!

#STYLEHITTER: Balenciaga’s ‘TRIPLE S’ Sneakers Are Just Expensive Sketchers

Fashion

So, how isn’t this whole “Sketchers are ugly and no one with self-respect over the age of 10 should be wearing them, except white suburban fathers and sex offenders” about class and elitism?

Balenciaga released what even GQ, the premiere magazine for men’s luxury fashion, called “ugly” and suddenly it is lit to rock something audaciously like this:

 

#NYFW: 5 Stages of Grief

Fashion

NYFW come and you ain’t go? Well, that’s on you love. I ain’t got tickets, but I do know the pain you going through.

First, it starts with the phase I like to call: REALITY. You look at that calendar and realize despite the promises you made last year, you did not in fact save or request tickets for Fashion week.


Second, you BARTER. You look through your contact list at every friend, family member, or Fashion blogger you met at an odd party you weren’t invited to but crashe dro network. No ones came through.


Third, You hunt. So now that you can’t finagle in by favors, you’re going to want to look for any and all ways to push through that Versace designed ceiling into the promised land. You get to searching for all off-brand Fashion week events. The ticket prices beat you back down to reality. You’re poor. You’re sad. You’re pathetic. 


Fourth, you break down in agony. How could you have forgotten? This is your fault and you know it. You don’t deserve Fashion Week. You are a churl, a peasant and this event is for the Fashion Gods. 

Your friends eye you like you’re trippin’. They’re concerned not for you but for their clout hitting numbers as low as Trump approval rating following four natural disasters in a row.


Finally, you ease on down. You sit and open your IPhone and settle down on some good ol’social media: where you can watch the highlights in peace. You promise yourself you will go next year.

#PROJECTSEPTEMBER: Look of the Week 2/14/17

Fashion, Non-Fiction

Project September‘s Look of the Day goes to GETTYIMAGES. Model Christian Vierig’s look channels a classic 70’s aesthetic with a clash of patterns that blows a calm, collect-yet-posh ambience. In an ASOS Faux Fur Collar in White ($12.50); TOPMAN’s Mens Black and White Check Skinny Chinos ($65.00); TOPMAN’s Mens Blue Selected Homme Ribbed Shirt ($85.00); GUCCI 40MM BUCKLE LEATHER BELT ($420.00); RAY-BAN Aviator Sunglasses ($139.00); and DERMSTORE’s Tangle Teezer Thick Curly — Dark Red ($16.00), Vierig’s look combines prestige and lavishness.

Project September can be found on all iOS and Android devices. 

#TRENDSETTER: Top 5 Things I Wish I Could Make for Men’s Clothing

Non-Fiction

By: Steven Underwood

You know how you have a bunch of brilliant and creative ideas, but none of the skill to actually make those things? Well, Men’s NYFW just ended; NYFW Fall/Winter 2k17 is on its way; and I had a bunch of ideas that I just can’t accomplish with my own meager hands.

***

  1. Sleeveless Navy Deepwash Trench: Imagine a trench coat made of denim in that jean deep wash blue that is basically designed to stain your white clothing into disuse. Its one solid color all over with a single pocket on the inside (for the convenient cell phone use) and two exterior pockets on either side. At the sleeves, it is stealthily cut to create a form of waistcoat cut — but wait! There are a series of thin, worn, distressed strips that have been washed in such a way that you now have two faded mans hanging just off your shoulders like faux-fur manes (except for your — you know… shoulders).
  2. Free Flowing Tunics: 2k17 has to mean the return of the tunic. And not just any tunic, the gawdy and flashy sort with more bends and twists than a mandala. Lets bring back the flashy back into men’s fashion. Everyone can wear a dark shade with very little stitching, but to pull off contrasting patterns like this? Challenging!
  3. Vintage Free Flowing Long Sleeves:  I think everyone who knows me knows I enjoy a large top over some jogger or skinny jeans. And the vintage bohemian look always appealed to me. I don’t know if its the pseudo-artsy appeal of it or the free mobility it allows, but it’s a look I love to try, except most of these looks require a lot of thrift store hunts and I’m ready for the style to become more mainstream. The time of looking like a model for a cheap romance novel is here. Let the wind untuck your shirt and nearly rip out a button!
  4. Floral Tops: Thanks in part to brands like Versace and Childish Gambino’s GUCCI ensemble in the WIRED photoshoot (seriously, Donald Glover is my fashion messiah sometimes, I swear), floral prints have made a comeback; and by comeback, I mean adjacent to modern standards  of masculine images. I like roses. It’s one of the most beautiful things of the French aristocracy: the use of flowers in textiles. I think its return could be beneficial. On satin, on wool, hell on bleached denim! It’s beautiful, it’s feminine, it’s individual!
  5. Flannel Skirts: Let’s stop fronting: we don’t just want to tie our flannel shirts around our waists anymore. The frompy look of the sleeve knots just won’t do. Just give us a skirt we can button or clip with a brooch and we are good to go!

But, sadly, I am just a humble writer. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment below and maybe some kind fashion designers will see kindly to contribute from your inspirational ideas!

Review: TACKMA

Fashion, Non-Fiction

A review of the boutique

Location: 844 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215

By Steven Underwood

I didn’t even know I was walking into a clothing store, if I’m being honest.

My friend, Matty, invited me out to an opening of some sort my last day in Columbus and I decided: why not, my brain is decaying in this house and I can blow a quarter C-note on an Uber.

Walking into the place, the first thing you notice is a pool table and a DJ booth. Today’s Hip-hop only, and it didn’t feel close to ashamed about it. I didn’t come to play: I gravitated to the clothes and began to pick through it. Hoodies, hats and trench-coats. Most of the clothes never dropping beneath a hundred dollars a pop. The most affordable objects in the entire room were the hats. Lucky for them, I was fake-balling for the day, so I didn’t turn around and leave.

But, I wasn’t going to blow more than a hundred there. I decided it was best to just bide my time, go to their online store and keep it simple. So, I blew 95 dollars on two hats because the material was like rubbing my hand across a suede jacket. I was judged by Matty, and I felt like I should be judged, but I’m a victim to the aesthetic.

Supporting Columbus business is also the goal of the day, really. I could’ve went across the street to the faux-bohemian boutique and blew a hundred dollars — hell, I was probably going to spent a hundred dollars online in a week anyway. The different? There were a lot of black faces in the store; the clothes were nice; and I have a hairline that’s evaporating like American patriotism in a post-Trump presidency: hats are vital. 

My issue (besides the pricing) was the lack of diversity in the boutique. There were hoodies and jackets, jacket and hoodies. Joggers, joggers and more joggers. All of them had essentially the same style, and none of it had any style that felt like it was…me.

In all, the place was great, though. I would’ve bought a hoodie and a jacket if I could stand. But, I’m a starving college student and Trump is my president. I’m hoarding my rubees for a McChicken on a snowy day (and I don’t even like McDonalds)

I give it four out of five stars that do not exist because they’re social constructs.