Categories
art news opinion People women

Peace x Ash Wednesday

Peace (dry)

March 2, Ash Wednesday

Pause for a moment and reflect on human lives and dignity lost to conflict, strife, and intolerance. Honour the strength of will that brings us closer together.

Peace (washed)

Peace: Kimono fabric swatches, emulsion paint, and watercolor on ripped canvas.

Categories
art men opinion

Jelly Doods by Ron Schippert: Journey to Recovery

Piano Dood by Ron Schippert

Intro
Greetings everyone, and happy Thursday because I have another guest post for you. Yesterday, February 23, was the Emperor Reiwa’s birthday and a national holiday. And I thought, what would it be like to spend 12 hours cohosting a Twitter Space for artists? Starting at 11:00 JST, I did just that. The energy in the space was warm, vibrant, and supportive. Because of that, I felt revived after three long weeks of burnout and autoimmune flareups.

One of our guests in the fourth hour was artist and community activist named Ron Schippert. As I listened to his story, I knew you would warmly welcome him here. Please read his story, and enjoy the cute Jelly Dood characters he created for a worthy cause. Thank you.

Skater Chef Dood

Hello everyone, my name is Ron Schippert and I am a 45-year-old artist from Pennsylvania, USA. I am an addict in recovery and I celebrated 10 years clean on February 10. At an early age, I never felt like I fit in anywhere, whether at school, sports or just outside playing. As years went by and I got older, I turned to other substances to feel like I belonged. In reality, I was walking down a path of self-destruction. After spending years in and out of hospitals, detox clinics, psych wards, and rehabilitation centers, I decided to go into treatment one last time. I had no idea what the future would hold. That day, February 10, 2012, marked the day of my rebirth.

Piano Wizard Dood

After completing full treatment, I moved to South Florida. There, in the early days of my recovery, I felt a strong desire to help others who were struggling with addiction. That meant spending sleepless nights sitting in waiting rooms, and driving people to detox clinics or hospitals. Doing something to help others made me feel whole again. Because of that, I continued my work with recovering addicts. I have supported hundreds of addicts as they got clean but unfortunately, some of my friends did not make it. In spite of that, I am committed to doing whatever I can to help.

Football Dood

Even today, ten clean years later, I still see the many obstacles that recovering addicts face with health insurance or finances. There should never be a reason for someone to be refused the help that they need. This is why I have created a fundraising project using non-fungible tokens. The artwork is called Jelly Doods NFT. Proceeds from sales of these tokens are used to pay for addiction treatment for people who cannot afford it.

And why did I choose art? Ever since I was young, art has helped me settle my mind and feel all right with myself. Making art takes me to a place of peace and serenity. This is the purpose of the Jelly Doods characters. They are simple, fun characters created to bring a smile to your face. If this project can help one more person receive treatment for substance abuse, then it will have served its purpose.

Blue Dood

In life, I have only a few passions. Art has remained number one because it is something that I do for others. And my dearest wish is to use my art to give someone their life back. I live by the motto, “I can only keep what I have by giving it away.” And I give you Jelly Doods.

Follow the Jelly Doods on Twitter

Outro
Thank you everyone for reading this presentation and for viewing this gallery of art. Ron may be reached on socials at the links below. Please be sure to follow him. I imagine that you were sending him your positive thoughts of appreciation while you were reading. I know that Ron appreciates the support you have given him with your attention today. Thank you.

Jelly Doods website

@JellyDoods on Twitter

Join Jelly Doods on Discord

Full Jelly Doods NFT Collection

Categories
art creative writing opinion technology women writing

A loving me thing: 8 steps to an Instagram turnaround

Hello everyone. This is a followup to my post last year when I realised why IG was sending me followers though I did barely anything. As opposed to the year before. At that time, I reached 300 followers even as I posted infrequently, and used zero hashtags. Shortly after publishing that post, I reached 500 followers.

I have since that point started using hashtags. I also hid reels and archived posts to create a tight, focused grid. At some point, I will take down most of my current grid so I can keep the focus on installations of my artwork.

My Instagram account is attached to Clubhouse (and Spotify Greenroom). Quite a few of my early follows were coming from there because I participated in room discussions. I was also asking people in Twitter Spaces to join me on Clubhouse, and they found me on Instagram as well.

A few weeks ago, I was discussing the above results with a friend, and I came to understand that by posting to my Story daily, I was creating space for Instagram to place ads between accounts. People are used to tapping on the right side of their screens to see new stories, and that gives 5-second ads a place to breathe. I believe that my steady gain of followers daily had something to do with that. In other words, Story is where active accounts thrive, and you raise the likelihood of IG recommending your accounts to people interested in your niche.

By the end of 2021, (CH/Twitter) collaborations with some larger accounts were also boosting my account. Accounts with massive followings were talking about our collabs on Clubhouse and they reposted my stories (about them) to their stories. I have also been mentioned in their IG Live broadcasts. Remember that I am using IG for business and these were my goals all along.

Step by step, let’s review the method I used, with an updated set of 8 enhancements. These are also low effort and consistently applied, with focus on the Story feature.

  1. Share the work of other artists
    First, do for others. Instead of scrolling, think about whether you would like to share a post in your Story. I recommend that you share posts to Story if (a) the account supports you or (b) if the account is somewhat popular. In the latter case, a story mention (using the mention tag) ensures that you stand out in their notifications.
  2. Keep it up in messages
    Socialise via text and voice messages. The more time you spend sharing accounts in a meaningful way, the more you find yourself receiving kind notes from creators in your messages. And sooner or later, you will feel like you’re talking to your friends. Follow up by explaining why you like their work. Be interested in their methods or techniques, and ask them what other projects they are working on.
  3. Follow and share accounts that look like yours
    If an account is doing work that you want to do and it is not too big (over 100K followers), you should try to show that you have something in common. Show your followers that your ideas have been brought to light by another creator. Use the text or drawing feature in notes to make it obvious why you like the post you’re sharing. Be adventurous and you will find support.
  4. Pay attention to accounts with great content and few comments
    When a new post bubbles into view, look for comments first. Then, if this account is familiar to you and you know they will respond, leave a comment. Comments are precious, so offer them generously and try to keep them light and positive.
  5. Check stories and comments
    Quite a few popular creators schedule their posts and no matter how amazing your comment is, they (or their team) might never see it. One way to make sure that an account is active is to look at their Story. Active accounts may be more willing to engage with yours, and this is what you want.
  6. FL!RT
    This is the one time when I will advocate making the first approach. On the account of a popular creative (artist/writer) in your niche, look at comments on their most recent post. Did the post author reply to comments? If not, among the replies, look for accounts that engage with their followers. Come back to the post and reply to their comment. Then, heart some posts on their account, and wait.
  7. Mute
    There are accounts that produce amazing work, but a swath of posts down your timeline two days in a row is no bueno. Mute the account so you can see other posts. Or, if you feel so-so about a single post, hide the post so Instagram doesn’t keep showing more of what you don’t want. You can always see other posts from the account later.
  8. Unfollow
    What’s it like when you notice a live broadcast or a post that seems out of left field? It pays to do regular checks of accounts that you are following. Use the “most/least interacted with” feature in Instagram to check for accounts that are far outside your interests. First and foremost, focus your attention on accounts actively supporting you. From there, branch out with confidence, and bring new friends with similar interests into your fold.

Thank you for reading this post. I imagine you might realise that a low effort method of using social media takes … effort. Overnight, you could have great results, but that’s because you were consistent in the past. None of these methods require you to spend a whole day scrolling. Based on what I have shared so far, create a plan that fits comfortably with your needs and objectives. Never give up on your dreams, the saying goes, but you should be prepared to work for them. Best of luck.

Categories
art opinion poetry technology women writing

Octophina: Life and the art of healing

Fine artist Octophina

Not every artist’s origin story begins with the artist falling unconscious to the floor. But mine does. My name is Sophie. I am a Bulgarian mixed media abstract artist, TEDx speaker, and mental health advocate. Until I turned 32, I was an artist in denial. And I say that because I never had the courage to admit that I wanted to make art.

Octophina is on Twitter

After a very challenging period in my life, creating art helped me sculpt a new self-identity. I was also able to redesign my reality. The process saved me, and every day, I share my story with others to help them find their true calling.

I call myself Octophina because I’ve always felt like a human octopus, who like a real octopus, has at least three hearts and nine brains. Art helps me to use my “bugs” as features. This way of thinking enables me to see every challenge as an opportunity to grow. My path to becoming an artist was an unexpected journey of healing through inner exploration.

If my life had a prequel, it would be my corporate background as a trained journalist specialising in graphic design, PR, and IT. I was also a prominent international food blogger, a certified Mind Body Eating coach and founder of a social enterprise. And yet, despite everything I achieved, I struggled with depression for over a decade. Navigating the world through this brain has been a weird experience. Today, I capture all of that in my art.

In recent years, after numerous traumatic events, including the pandemic destroying my business and leaving me broke, moving alone to a new country to restart my life at 31, and my mom getting diagnosed with breast cancer, I was emotionally, physically, and psychologically drained.

On May 8, 2021, I fainted in my kitchen and when I woke up, I felt completely apathetic about the projects and initiatives I had been passionate about for years. It was as though my entire identity had been wiped out. Over the next four months, I was trapped in major depression. And it was difficult for me to articulate what I was experiencing internally. I felt terrified.

My therapist encouraged me to start making art to clear my mental cache, improve my emotional metabolism, and practice self-care. Today, almost six months later, we are working on a start-up which will merge psychotherapy, art, and blockchain technology. We started this business to help people improve their mental health and financial well-being.

Follow Octophina’s journey on Instagram

In celebration of this resurrection of life, presence and hope for the future, I launched a collection of NFTs on Open Sea called Pain to Power. This is a constellation of reflective artwork I created between November and December 2021. The date of the release is January 19, 2022, is the date my mom got her breast cancer diagnosis last year. After almost a year in hell, my mom recovered completely and is doing well. Sharing my transformational healing art with the world on the anniversary of her diagnosis is for me a celebration of resilience, which is what makes the human experience special.

Art has helped me discover my identity outside of social conditioning, peer pressure, and others’ expectations. As I create art, I am healing emotional wounds and building a healthy sense of self-worth. I invite you to stay with me on this journey.

Outro
Happy Friday, everyone. Thank you for reading Sophie’s story. We are five days away from her genesis drop (first collection of NFT art) on Open Sea. Let us send her our best wishes for the sale of her collection. In the meantime, why don’t you go ahead and visit her website, then follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Medium. She is looking forward to sharing her adventures in art and life with you.

Categories
entrepreneurs news opinion technology

NFT Marketplaces: A Competitive Megathread

Creative photography entitled Burning Issues. And NFT collection by Raecreateart.
From the collection Burning Issues by Raecreateart


Hello everyone. I hope you’ve had a great start to 2022. To start my year on a productive note, I have done lots of reading and talked with prominent players in blockchain technology investments. No two investors agree on the best investment approach, so my solution has been to try and understand their mindset. In my opinion, it is really important to grow a strategy play based on your own knowledge, connections, and risk tolerance.

Why is this important for creators? We should be thinking about investing some of our income to fund creative projects or startups and to build a nest egg for retirement. Eventually, I will be publishing informative posts on NFTs (digital assets stored in smart contracts on a blockchain), blockchain infrastructure, smart contracts, and cryptocurrencies. Each of these topics exists in its own ecosystem. The main ideas here are registration of ownership, a decentralised protocol for validating transactions, and platforms for creating and trading tokens. At the end of this megathread, you will see links for further reading.

None of the views expressed here are financial advice. Please do your own research, as always.

January 7, 2022 recorded conversation on passive income via Twitter Spaces

Intro
One of the first questions I am asked after “What are NFTs?” is “Where should I sell them?” Today’s post will give you some guidance through a discussion of NFT marketplaces. This presentation was first published on October 13, 2021 by Mide, an angel investor and crypto trading expert I met on Twitter Spaces. He published a megathread on his Twitter timeline to discuss his outlook on marketplaces for non-fungible tokens. So far, players with real world skills are entering the community. And they are bringing marketing expertise, professional teams, and networking skills to a market that is saturated with art. These newcomers will be competitive if they can offer tangible value to collectors. Marketplaces will then compete to provide a platform for the most popular project owners, and depending on the outcome of the negotiations, primary market collectors will benefit.

The original thread by Mide published on Twitter

Megathread
NFTs. They are everywhere these days. And if you’ve ever bought or sold one, you probably did it on Open Sea. The world’s largest NFT marketplace has handled a whopping $8 billion worth of transactions since the start of 2021.

The success of NFTs is no longer a point of discussion. Rather, it makes sense to think about the continued success of Open Sea as a marketplace. In the latter months of 2021, there was a surge in rival NFT marketplaces, many aiming for the top spot. So, is Open Sea under threat? That is what I want to explore today.

In the summer of 2021, the earliest sign of an Open Sea competitor came from one of the largest decentralized exchanges, SushiSwap. Sushi has announced its own NFT platform called Shoyu (meaning soy sauce in Japanese). The platform is currently in the final stages of development. Shoyu’s main advantages are integration with existing Sushi Swap protocols and the distribution of transaction fees to SUSHI token holders.

However, from the SHOYU NFT teasers released so far, the marketplace looks more like a competitor to Super Rare than OpenSea. This is because it targets individual artists and art collectors rather than NFT flippers (people who buy NFTs and resell them for a bigger profit).

The next marketplace that caught my eye is the newly launched Infinity. Entering the scene in October, 2021, Infinity has been trying to lure Open Sea users to its platform with the promise of a token airdrop (free tokens sent directly to wallets visible on the Open Sea platform).

Anyone who has spent more than 0.02 ETH ($US 62) on OpenSea can claim a bag of Infinity tokens if they spend an equal amount of ETH on the Infinity marketplace. Additionally, Infinity aims to be community-driven and completely decentralized, with user governance coming from holders of the airdropped tokens. Infinity even admits that it uses the same smart contracts as Open Sea. The Infinity developers are transparent about trying to lure users away from Open Sea in a so-called “vampire attack.”

On the centralised exchange side, there is a new offering from FTX US. The exchange’s latest marketplace launched in October. It offers a much-needed improvement to NFT trading on Solana. It also provides a safer and more intuitive way to discover NFTs. At present, FTX only supports Solana NFTs but has said it intends to add support for Ethereum-based NFTs soon. FTX already runs an NFT marketplace and users can bid on experiences like a match in the popular League of Legends game.

Finally, we have Coinbase NFTs. Nasdaq’s first cryptocurrency exchange says that it will help creators to flourish on the exchange. In the announcement of its waitlist, it said that “by fostering connections, Coinbase NFT will help creators, collectors, and fans build community.” However, despite the optimism of this presentation, it is newcomer FTX that has the biggest chance of dethroning Open Sea, in my opinion. The platform has proven that it will get what it wants. It has also spent millions on marketing and promotional partnerships. It has already made a name for itself as a provider of cryptocurrency derivates, and I believe that it will be able to achieve the same level of success with NFTs.

Fin

Further reading

Ethereum Whitepaper
Ethereum Foundation

The Year in Ethereum 2020
Josh Stark and Evan Van Ness via Medium

Why I’m bearish on Ethereum
Tascha Labs

Solana: A new architecture for a high performance blockchain v 0.8.13
Solana Project

$LUNA Investment strategy discussion on Twitter Spaces (recorded)

Categories
art opinion technology women

Ishika Guha: Lady Boss Creative

Abstract painting by Ishika Guha
Fire and the Flood. Abstract painting by Ishika Guha.

Tell us about yourself, Ishika
I am a self-taught abstract artist living in London. I work spontaneously and mainly for myself. It is something that heals me, gives me hope and makes me feel free! I am never myself without my colours. The best of me, the happiest of me, is when I am painting. Sometimes I paint only for the very reason people want to talk to communicate. Vibrant colours become my voice when nothing else works.

Ishika’s NFT artwork on Foundation

Is it difficult to create abstract works of art?
My abstract paintings came naturally to me. Expressive abstractionism has been my comfort zone from the very beginning of my journey as an artist. It gives me much-needed freedom and I feel at home painting in this style. I feel that it unlocks the aspects of my personality that otherwise would lie dormant, remaining silent and nebulous.

Describe your art, style or process
My art is mainly concentrated on abstract expressive mixed media (oil and acrylic). Each one is deeply reflective, and I try to make them fly beyond the borders of the canvases I paint on. Mixed media allows me to be spontaneous, and the whole process seems playful and adventurous to me. Often my subconscious mind takes over, and the process feels quite liberating. I do what I feel like, no plans, no rules whatsoever. This world is so full of rules, so I reach for that sense of freedom while painting.

Autumnal Delirium

Tell us more about your inspiration
My paintings are inspired by music and poetry. Each painting tells a story from my life, including my own traumas or happy memories. Many of my paintings are inspired by Charles Bukowski, Ogden Nash, Robert Frost, Rudyard Kipling, Jibanananda Das or Sylvia Plath’s poems. The emotions and the messages I find from their powerful poems are what I translate into paintings.

Do you have a team or do you work alone?
As a full-time artist, I have worked on collaborative projects, such as book and CD cover design, collaborations with a carpet company and also with an industrial designer who has designed chairs based on my artwork. 

Archived work from Ishika Guha

Tell us about your new home world, Twitter
I joined the NFT community on Twitter a few months ago and have already sold a number of non-fungible tokens on the Foundation platform. Right now, I am collecting digital art as I enjoy being part of an amazing group of talented artists and creatives. For me, this is about having a family outside your family. I enjoy being in a community that supports me without judgment. This is a great place for artists who are not here for financial gain but who want to feel accepted. No other platform, no other community, can provide me with that support and love I receive here.

Pratik Chitte, founder of Involute Magazine

How do you establish your brand presence?
Apart from Twitter, NFT, Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, I am also curating an art promotion page on Instagram for Involute Magazine, which I co-founded with my talented artist friend Pratik Chitte. Pratik is a brilliant charcoal artist from India. Together, we feature artists from around the globe. Pratik also interviews artists for the magazine’s blog, which is hosted on WordPress. We do this to support the creative community internationally.

Fine artist Dylan Gill is featured on Involute Magazine’s Instagram page

Any final thoughts?
As editors and curators, Pratik and I believe that each work of art tells a beautiful story to our viewers. Art is like a powerful vessel that connects all of the scattered fragments of our innermost feelings. They make us look deeper inside ourselves. Now, if you happen to be on Instagram, please visit our profile page and let us have your feedback. We would love to hear from you.

Outro
Ishika Guha has 13K followers on Twitter, and 17K on Instagram. She receives lots of support on both platforms. She is a master at using Twitter Spaces for building brand presence, and is everyone’s favourite host. That is why I call her Lady Boss. She will soon take Clubhouse by storm. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s showcase. Follow Ishika Guha on Instagram and Twitter. Follow Involute Magazine on Instagram and keep up with its founder Pratik Chitte on Twitter. Purchase Ishika’s artwork through her website. And read more about her in this “Heroine’s Journey” interview with Peter De Kuster. Thank you for reading.

Categories
art fashion opinion TV women

Light giver: A passion for diversity

Brissa “Breezy” Marina Page, co-founder of Cricket Ranch, is today’s featured filmmaker. She is an independent creative director, producer, stylist and content creator based in Los Angeles, California. She shares her outspoken love for civil liberties and social justice with friends, family and collectors alike.

From the filmmaker herself:
Light Giver was a passion project for the Cricket Ranch, a production boutique and studio rental location. The Cricket Ranch is a five star location space I created with my partner, Coop Grafik. We are happy to work with artists in Los Angeles looking for a versatile location to shoot and create.

Follow our enchantress as she dances with the light as she reunites with her King at the end. Starring Aisha Anderson and featuring music remix by Therdchild. Shot in one night, we had a great time every second of the shoot and during post-production. I wanted to highlight my beautiful friend Aisha, and her belly dancing, costume and skills. She was brilliant.

My partner and I decided to create the Cricket Ranch as a location after noticing a need for more diversity on our social media timelines. The boring, thin cis-white model format was repetitive and we knew that we needed to be the change and inspire more photographers to do the same when they shoot here. We needed to see more black and indigenous people of colour, as well as strong, healthy body types from all walks of life.

Outro
You can learn more about Brissa on her website. Or, collect an edition of her Bottoms Up NFT creative photography (caution: nude woman) on Hic et Nunc for about $22 or 3 tez. You can also follow her around on the web via her Link Tree profile. See more of her beautiful body as well as the causes she supports when you follow her on Twitter. The featured film, Light Giver, was directed by her and her partners at Cricket Ranch.

Categories
men news opinion People TV writing

On Leaving (Short film)

On Leaving is a short film by Sagar Kapoor (India)

On Leaving (07:45) is a documentary short by Indian filmmaker, Sagar Kapoor.

Synopsis
Lockdown in India had just started to be lifted, however, due to job loss, increasing COVID19 cases, and other circumstances, the narrator is forced to vacate his rented room. This short film tries to express the feeling of the narrator visiting his room for one last time and how spaces can be personal and important parts of our lives.

Bio
Sagar Kapoor is a filmmaker from India and he grew up in Lucknow, a city known for its delicious cuisine, history, art, and culture. At La Martniere College, he was first introduced to the world of art and photography. Today, he works as a independent filmmaker and illustrator. His documentary films are introspective and empathetic, as they focus on our relationship with the environment. In his free time, he loves to read, write, travel, and cook. 

His upcoming projects are: 
1. Eating clouds, a documentary on a local delicacy from Lucknow.
2. On Death a City; how the uniqueness of a city dies with time and our need for modern infrastructure.

Follow Sagar Kapoor on social media:

Instagram
YouTube
Twitter

How many of you have friends who make films? Well, you have one now. And you will make another filmmaker friend next week. On October 22, 2021, drop by and greet South African poet, voice actor, and performance artist, Marinda Botha. Stay tuned as I feature more filmmakers and creatives over the next few weeks.

Categories
about me creative writing entrepreneurs opinion poem poetry women writing

Greetings from the Metaverse + Twitter (Spaces) update

Happy Monday, creators.

Photo by Anna Shvets

Does anyone remember that time last year, when I was crying into my phone about Twitter? Well, I took my own advice and it seems to have worked. I was miserable because I felt I had to change myself to fit into what I thought would gain traction. However, with this new account, I started out with the intention of doing what I wanted to do.

A musician I met on Saturday had this to say this morning.

Being a person with broad interests and unquenchable curiosity might have helped. After deciding to focus on non fungible tokens as a subject, I had no idea that all of my favourite topics would collide under that niche.

Unlike my previous post, in which I showed how you can get Instagram’s smart tech to work for you, Twitter is tricky. I can only give you generic advice with the caveat that everything depends on your specific subject matter. As you read, remember that I am using Twitter to promote sales of my creative projects, including fiction writing and fine art.

Social audio, specifically Twitter Spaces, allows me to hear from machine learning specialists, Buddhist and Hindu philosophers, philanthropists, musicians, authors, poets, programmers, game developers, actors, singers, tech venture capitalists, marketers, attorneys, architects, publicists, and blockchain specialists.

My work has been to use Twitter Spaces to create one large thought bubble, wherein everyone discusses a topic from the perspective of their areas of expertise. Reaching for a cognitively rich experience has made my time on Twitter stimulating instead of exhausting.

An example of a good bio tweet

In the list below, I will share some general ideas for working within your own niche with the help of Twitter Spaces. The most important principle to remember when marketing or promoting your work on any platform is simply, “Do what works, not what you like to do.”

  1. Spend time on Twitter. Can’t tell you how many times I have had people tell me they had no time but wanted to know the one tweet they could post so they could gain 10,000 fans overnight.
  2. Curate your feed. Do not scroll. Stop and engage with tweets for about ten minutes. Like it, share it, or toss it. Use the “Not interested in this tweet” option and add specific reasons. This helps the smart tech to learn more about you.
  3. Tweet a bio tweet like the one in Sreeran’s example above. Thereafter, when you enter a space, say your account name and your personal tagline and the smart tech will index your account under the correct topics of interest.
  4. Join Twitter Spaces and listen in as a priority, even if invited to speak.
  5. Use your time on a speaker panel to give a voice to your engagement. You may want to say that you have commented, liked, or retweeted a speaker’s tweet.
  6. Support other accounts more than you tweet about yourself. We use the word “shill” to mean “self promote”. Shill for others because as a rule, do for others and they will do for you. If you receive no support from an account, focus on other accounts until you find your group.
  7. Take your time and work consistently. Results will multiply over time, because your diligent effort will earn you trust within your network.
  8. Keep the hashtags to a minimum (2 – 4 maximum) until you meet your ideal threshold of engagement in terms of tweets, retweets, comments and likes. Thereafter, use them rarely.
  9. Avoid negativity. Rephrase your words positively (for the smart tech). Do not follow accounts that are antagonistic towards your principles.
  10. If you must be outspoken, discuss and debate in spaces where your ideas will be heard, even if others disagree. Same rules go for all audio spaces. Keep rants super short.
  11. Quote tweet. Own the conversation by bringing it to your timeline. Bring it up later in spaces and ask for feedback, shares or other engagement on your tweet.
  12. Tag accounts and mention them in tweets with requests for answers. This raises your engagement by putting you on their timeline. It is also a great way to start a conversation.
  13. Consciously disengage. When you disagree in a comment, etc., the person with whom you disagree gets a boost by the algorithm because the smart tech will read your engagement as POSITIVE interest.
  14. Avoid engaging with inactive accounts. Twitter’s smart tech loves fresh content, so keep within a view/comment/share threshold of about 17 hours.
  15. Follow accounts that you genuinely like and want to support. As a rule, I avoid following popular accounts and add them to lists instead.
  16. Any support you receive must be reciprocated. And focus on supporting accounts that give you support in return.
  17. Analyse, rinse and repeat. If you start gaining support from your activities, try them again and see what happens. If a thing is working, keep doing it, regardless of whatever “advice” you receive, including mine.

Remember to try many things. Do what works and not what you like to do (for example, staying off Twitter or only tweeting about yourself). After joining Twitter with a fresh new account on June 19, 2021, my account now has 3107 followers today, September 27, 2021. The final push to 3000 happened last night (Sunday) when the count was at 2992. Thankfully, when I asked for some help getting over the line, my friends were there to offer their support. And that is how it should be. That’s all for now, and thank you for reading. See you in the metaverse.

Categories
about me art artificial intelligence creative writing fiction opinion People technology

Instagram’s smart tech is a loving me thing

It is Saturday afternoon and as I write this, I am waiting for a meeting to resume. Unfortunately, two expatriates seated at the far corner of the conference room are talking loudly about assorted bedroom activities. I gather that the man is gay and his friend is a married straight woman. I suppose they are comparing notes?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

It was impossible to hear myself think, so I am standing near an open window to let the sound of traffic drown out their voices. And while I am here, I thought it would be good idea to update you with my Instagram goings on.

At the moment, I’m hardly posting on Instagram. But for the past eight days, every 23 hours to the hour, I see that I have 25 new followers. This exact number, at exactly the same time, tells me that this is the work of a machine. 

Remember that last year, Instagram was burning my posts. And now, after two months on the platform, the smart tech is working for me. I was advised in a Clubhouse room, a couple of months ago, that Instagram was doing a big reset. I was also advised to take advantage because this was a once-in-a-lifetime event. The problem is that I am an introvert and going live on video will never happen. Because of that, I needed a modified approach.

Photo by Tim Gouw

Here is what happened after two months and 18 reels, 3 (15-second) stories daily, no lingerie selfies, and zero live posts. I am at 472 followers. My account is growing every day, so I will continue on this path. (If only Twitter were as malleable).

Metrics 

  1. This is a business account. 
  2. I do not pay for ads which means that all of my engagement is organic. 
  3. All of the new followers brought over from Instagram’s smart tech are 85% artists in the NFT community, 5% follower boosting accounts and 10% crypto investors. 
  4. Quite a number of my other followers are from Clubhouse. The apps share data with each other. Instagram will automatically suggest my account to anyone following me over there and vice versa.
Photo by Fiona Art

Posts and engagement  

  1. After my first five posts, I started posting reels in the form of animated videos showcasing my artwork. 
  2. Avoid captions. Only a few of my reels have them. Instead, I tell a story in a slideshow or MP4 video. 
  3. Nearly zero hashtags on posts or reels. Instagram treats hashtags like spam. 
  4. Edit all videos or images (to create a slideshow) in the IG native editor using filters.
  5. Add music and carefully choose clips within the song to match the story. Music choice is the number one compliment I have received so far. People seem to have a positive emotional reaction my artwork because of the music. 
  6. Repost my own reels/posts to stories. 
  7. Hashtags only in stories – limited to one per story and this is always NFT related. 
  8. Follow back as many accounts as possible. Check occasionally to make sure that all followed accounts are active. 
  9. Restrict spammy, fake looking accounts and never follow sales people (crypto investors). 
  10. Reply to all comments and respond to private messages. Delete messages I don’t want to answer. Accounts look spammy if they don’t talk to each other. 
  11. Mute accounts that post more than 5 reels in one hour. These kinds of accounts rarely engage with my posts. Then I look spammy to the smart tech. 
  12. Visit new followers’ profiles and engage with posts. 
  13. Engage with my timeline. Hide, mute, like or share posts to friends.
  14. Join live broadcasts even for a few minutes. Send comments and reactions while there. This signals that I am a real person.
  15. Engage with my followers’ stories by sending reactions and comments. Gauge feedback to these and mute accounts that are not responsive. 
  16. Remix posts from active followers and share them to my stories. Add music, fun stickers, gifs, scribbles, text and mentions.
  17. When a follower adds the above remix in their stories, immediately share to my stories.
  18. Use voice memos or calls where possible. 
Photo by Steve Johnson

If you are interested in testing this approach, try it on your Instagram account. I must point out that I am niche specific. I am an artist in the NFT community. I focus on graphic design and I’m interested in paintings from visual artists. And though I never tell Instagram what my specific niches are by using captions or hashtags, the smart tech introduced me to blockchain specialists, abstract painters and 3D/animation artists in the NFT space. Then, bear in mind that I spend no more than 30 minutes a day creating at least three stories. I also respond to all of my messages.

No selfies, no bikinis, no bare butts. Only plenty of good music, interesting stickers, and artwork to inspire me. Best of luck.

Categories
about me art fiction opinion science fiction technology women writing

The Quarter Percent: Effortless book sales with social audio?

Quarter Percent – Trailer

Can you, as an author, achieve effortless book sales using social audio? Please read this post and learn what I have discovered. But get some popcorn first, because there is drama. 

It has been a year since I published my novel, The Quarter Percent, and if someone had told me to relax because that people would ask to buy it, I would have thrown a tantrum. And yet, since joining social audio nearly eight weeks ago, I have had lots of people tell me they bought my novel. First, in my Clubhouse profile, I mentioned writing my second novel. Then after a number of requests to share a buy link for the first one, I added it to my Twitter bio.

The Quarter Percent, novel by Lily Nicole, cover art
Cara de la Reina

I’m not using social audio to sell books, by the way: the book sales are a side effect of staying active on the platforms. By staying active, I do not mean staring at my phone all day. Instead, I make time for active participation in spaces or rooms on a range of subjects.

Last year, I collaborated with several artists and we produced artwork for The Quarter Percent. We focused on key scenes and events. One of the scenes opens in front of a graffiti mural in the foyer of a refurbished warehouse. Tensions in a friendship, the transfer of power, and a generous gift are overseen by a portrait of King Cordial’s late wife, Queen Cara. The scene, mural, and cover art are called Cara de la Reina or ‘face of the queen’. To write that scene, I did a lot of research into warehouses and architectural design because the description of the interior had an important function. It set up a contrast between the home’s cool, trendy, laid back atmosphere and the next level scheming that would take place there. 

North to South

Based on other research, I knew that a cover with a face was ideal, and I assured my publisher that using the mural art was going to work. A year later, this is my avatar everywhere, and saying so in the first paragraph of my Clubhouse profile has made promotion effortless. When people ask me why I don’t use a selfie, I tell them that I am using social audio for business, and I don’t want to attract the wrong sort of customer. Seeing that I get book sales without doing anything extra, it stays right there.

And now, I will highlight some amusing incidents from last year’s promotional campaign. A book marketer told me he had no idea why I would give away free copies of my novel. He had no idea how that would help with book sales. One colleague suggested that a political assassination to help me get mega downloads. Another said to give up drafting if people did not download the beta version. Later, a young lady clickbaited and free trafficked me to her blog after saying that people would never download the $0.00 promotional Kindle copy without reviews, while agreeing that people would need to read the novel to review it.

A tale in the crypt - storyboard of first scene of last chapter, The Quarter Percent
Ruby Castle’s crypt with a statue of Saint Joan on the left.

On top of that, someone has been earning money from views of my trailer on a dodgy platform. Every marketer I hired to promote the book has denied having merched the trailer. I only found out because the analytics on WordPress finally appeared in February and showed me a cascade of clicks out to my blog. The owners of the platform are not answering emails or taking phone calls so I cannot find out who is doing this.

Amid all of that drama, you will understand why I gave up on promoting my novel altogether. But I am happy that l have stumbled upon an effective way to sell it.

Costmary is talking with her publicist Karen Aoki

Regardless of the obstacles, I enjoyed the creative process from last year, and I will expand on that for my upcoming novel. My first idea was to create art prints and posters. Still researching styles that I want to use, and practising on Procreate. Currently, I am producing instrumental compositions for piano, violin and cello. These will match the mood and themes of the story. My YouTube channel is dry and ashy so I asked a composer friend to help me out. I am hoping to share the music with artists and creators who like listening to music as they work.

About an hour before publishing this post, I talked about the project in a business networking group and I was encouraged by the response. The music will also be my rehabilitation after sacrificing brain cells to ratchet YouTube (for research purposes). 

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Keep creating, and thank you for staying in touch. 

Categories
art artificial intelligence creative writing entrepreneurs fiction opinion People science fiction technology women writing

A reel turnaround

Hello everyone. I am sending happy weekend vibes to you. As you might guess from the title, I’m back on Instagram. Does anyone remember last year how I spent three days on Instagram and then spent another four trying to deactivate my account because they kept burning hashtags and deleting my posts?

On Wednesday, I downloaded the app again and created a fresh new business account. My experience is much more pleasant because I’m not using captions or hashtags. Instead, my method for increasing my engagement has been to make demands and threats. This has worked so far.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I get asked daily why I am not on Instagram, so I created this business account to connect with professionals I meet through social audio.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to make friends with someone who works with Google to train business owners to use Instagram for marketing. Thus, I have a strong incentive to not toss my phone out the window.

Instagram’s smart tech is impressive, something Marvin Stone would have approved of. I’ve only been on there for three days, not scrolling or searching for anything, and it showed me my favourite dish: charcoal grilled eel on sticky rice. The person who posted the image also has his headquarters at Starbucks and like me, he has the same drink every time he goes there. I had better behave or that thing is going to publish all of my secrets.

So in one of the scenes for my upcoming novel, I wrote about a social media application that shows only one post at a time. One of the characters, Mimi Hollingsbrook, is preparing for her work day. Because she works in the Royal Household as Baby Pudding’s nanny, she has agreed to keep a low profile on social media. Against her better judgement, she decides to look at her feed, and notices something in a caption from a famous influencer. She has a meltdown after reading it. Within a few minutes, her response, which is full of expletives, gains 5 million likes. This prompts her to permanently archive her account. In a later scene, Mimi is given a taste of power when a quarter percenter asks her to decide about that influencer’s future.

When writing notes about the social media applications I would be using in the story, I thought about reactions from readers. I was convinced that this feature would never be adopted in the real world. However, at the moment, the trend is to be super minimalist on Instagram, with as few posts as possible. At this rate, if I don’t hurry up and finish drafting, I will be publishing historical fiction.

In further news, I have been sucked into the vortex and I am now managing my social audio apps on two phones. One for Clubhouse, Discord and Twitter, and the other one for Greenroom and Instagram. That’s because one of the apps keeps crashing if I’m in audio spaces on two others. (Don’t ask). Juggling two phones might look cool on TV but I’m an introvert, so it does not feel right.

Why, oh why couldn’t I have found a marketing firm that was good at their job? I could’ve been friendlessly redrafting my new book right now.

Please send prayers. Thank you.

Categories
about me art entrepreneurs fashion opinion People technology women

Scrum Mastered

Scrum for creative focus

Are your goals clearly defined? Your next step is to collaborate with likeminded individuals. Work with practical, updated information. Record results and refine your process as you go. To master the practice of scrum, recognise when it is necessary to regroup and realign. Then do it.

Screen caps from the desktop version

The first iteration of this installation was a mass of crawling text that broke WordPress. Yay! But after it broke my phone’s browser, I decided to update this post with a collage of screen caps from Reader and the main site.

Glitched text on main page and in Reader.

Thankfully, I had saved the screen caps for the tweet design below, so it was easy to make another pass with the two typography posters. I hope you enjoy them.

It’s art and it is business
Categories
opinion technology women

Social Audio Etiquette

Are you a writer, artist or creative professional using social audio for marketing? Do you wonder if there is a chapter in Debrett’s Handbook on social audio etiquette? If you are networking on Greenroom, Twitter Spaces, and Clubhouse, you will need good conversation skills. And until they update the Handbook, I will offer you some tips. Put them into practice and reap the rewards of branding through social audio.

I have been on Clubhouse for two weeks, and just over a week on Greenroom. Occasionally, Spaces show up on my Twitter timeline, and I drop in to listen as often as I can. And as I observed conversations in each space, I noticed that branded influencers had excellent social audio etiquette.

Before I present my list, I should point out that boundaries are important online. Your conversations are public, and rooms may be recorded without your knowledge or consent. Refrain from sharing private information to satisfy a listener’s curiosity.

On Sunday, I dropped in on a Greenroom conversation with a well-known podcaster. A voice without an avatar started asking me personal questions. Imagine hearing your name called out over the PA system at a crowded coffee shop, as someone asks you to say your street address and read out details from your driver’s license. It felt like that to me.

This kind of nosy question-asking is quite common, unfortunately, even offline. It happens because many people do not realise that you can learn good conversation skills. Which is why, when you practice these skills, you will grow your audience in a relatively short time. 

Interruption as strategy 
You may be surprised at how often people interrupt speakers on stage to ask an unrelated question. One reason for these kinds of questions is that the person wants to quickly form an opinion of you. Another reason is that they do not want to hear what you have to say. The distracting question serves to start a new topic or allow the person to become the focus of the conversation.

The polite response to this is silence. Mute your microphone, and allow some of the awkwardness to revert back to the speaker. It is polite to let the host start a new topic. Learn from my mistakes: You will never control another person’s inappropriate behaviour by raising an objection to it. They receive the attention they want by diverting you from the topic of discussion. And you may find that your response will irritate listeners.

For your part, be considerate by first observing the room dynamics (read the room), and then decide if you want to participate in the discussion. Focus on the topic of conversation and avoid questions that will start an unrelated topic thread. If you wish to do that, ask to connect with the speaker outside of the room, and continue your discussions there.

Even with the best of intentions, it is possible to say something that makes someone uncomfortable in your audio space. You can avoid this by limiting the meeting time, preparing open-ended questions, and having a list of topics ready before hosting a room.

Below, I have compiled five habits that will help you in social audio spaces. Your objective, as you practice them, is to maintain a positive atmosphere around yourself. When you send out invites to your own audio spaces in future, your guests should remember how they felt whenever they were on stage with you and be happy to support you. 


Ask after objectives
Take a cue from hosts with large followings. They ask fellow speakers why they are participating in the conversation. They do this because they want to know how best to include the person in discussions. If you must, must, must ask an off-topic question, explain why you need to know this information. Again, be mindful that you are in a recorded conversation in a public forum.

Ask about experiences 
If you want to play FBI, try asking someone to demonstrate their skills. They can do this by explaining something complex, or by rephrasing a statement. Be indirect and open-ended to elicit quality answers. Whereas, questions that require a one-word answer will leave the conversation dry. You will soon run out of things to talk about. Your audience will remember that.  

Verbalise your offer to let someone speak first 
With some platforms, if you would like to speak, you may interrupt another speaker. After a few seconds of silence, say, “I would like someone else to go first,” or something similar, and wait. That usually breaks the deadlock and gives you time to prepare. Remember that you want to be the last person to offer an opinion. 

Explain any interruptions
At times, I am listening to a conversation while getting ready for work. For that reason, I may want to say something before the moderator moves on to the next topic. In that situation, I will say, “It’s six in the morning, and because I am getting ready for work, allow me to interject here so you can get on with the discussion?” Then, I speak for a very short time. Every time I do this, I get new follows and because of that, I will keep it up. 

Follow through immediately 
Whenever you receive invitations to collaborate or converse privately,  follow through immediately. This shows that you are interested in hearing what the other person has to say. Conversations disappear into the memory’s ether, which is why collaborations are more likely to happen when you are responsive. Here are seven ways to follow up: 

1. Save, share or comment on social media posts.  
2. Post conversation notes with mentions to Instagram stories.
3. Quote tweets with a thank-you note. 
4. Retweet a post relevant to the topic. 
5. Subscribe to newsletters.
6. Send direct messages.
7. Send email. 

Then, it is up to the speaker to show that they are equally interested in collaborating with you. My preferred method of following up is to tweet out from the room immediately after the offer has been made. I am noticing engagement on these kinds of tweets, even from people not in the conversation, and I will continue doing that. 

Summary
It has only been two short weeks but so far, I can say that social audio feels like a casual chat at your local coffee shop. The connections you make tend to be fleeting. And because of that, you should work to build upon them so that your networking efforts become meaningful in retrospect.

When hosting, allow people to freely drop in and out of the room. But make them so comfortable they will apologise for leaving. Maybe you are not hoping to become a branded influencer, and that is okay. But if you cultivate good conversation skills for social audio, you will remain at the top of everyone’s VIP invitation list. And that is where you belong. Hang in there, and good luck with networking.

Categories
news opinion technology women

New to Greenroom? A guide for noobs

This post is a guide for readers who are curious about “gems” and “g-g-gem farming” on Spotify Greenroom. For the first two days, I have seen a number of people entering rooms to ask, “Hello hello. Where are you from? What is a gem? What are they for?” A very patient person was kind enough to explain, and I will summarise what that person said.

While Greenroom is in its early stages, users of the app are taking advantage of the beta stage to test out theories. Drop-in social audio is relatively new, and users of applications like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces are learning as they go. 

Gem rooms in Greenroom provide ambient music or casual conversation. These allow you to socialise in a warm and friendly atmosphere as you build up your following. In case you plan to host your own room in future, you will want to have followers you can invite to the room.

From the technical side, giving gems provides the software with information about how you are engaging with the app. Your time ‘on mic’, scrolling, search and other activities are also monitored and logged.

At this point, you should be aware that some people are saying that the Spotify Greenroom team is policing “gem rooms” in ghost mode. So far, hosts are adapting and making sure to keep everyone active and engaged. Below is a quote from one influencer who says she has received first hand accounts of conversations taking place behind the scenes.

@MissSuperNerd⁩ “Gem mining rooms are being watched and not in a good way, and one day you might wake up without an account” Hear more on Welcome Room / Future Social Audio!’ on Greenroom! #greenroom #gems #influencers

https://spotifygr.link/do4Ou4Kqhhb

Originally tweeted by Lily Nicole (@artistlilynico1) on June 21, 2021.

For some users of the app, gems serve as a form of social proof. Someone doing a cursory scan of your profile may assume that you have spent a lot of time in rooms interacting with a lot of people. Some users believe that gems should only be given to people with valuable and quality content. Others say that they are meaningless except to encourage addictive behaviour.

Update 06/23 – Gems can be given every 30 minutes

Other influencers on Greenroom have been complaining that users are collect gems as if they’re cryptocurrency. However, it’s still early days and people will need time to work out how to use the app. I was in a room on Sunday evening and the moderators spoke to each person on stage every 30 minutes. People who didn’t respond after a minute or so were sent down to the audience section.

Later, in the same room, someone did her very best at karaoke and then she was offered free singing lessons from a classically trained singer. This is a great example of networking via social audio. Given what we know so far, it is best to use the app to interact with people in real time.

If it’s not your turn to speak, use the chat section. How do you use the chat feature on Greenroom (iPhone users)?

1. Search for GIFs that resemble the mood of the music. Try to be awful.

2. Write comments during live conversations.

4. Respond to comments, provide links, or offer feedback.

5. Read social media feeds, follow accounts, and ask for follows back.

6. Thank the person who invited you, thank the hosts, and thank anyone else who supported you.

7. If you enjoyed your experience in a room, follow the host so they can invite you back.

The more active you are in each room, the more likely you are to be followed and invited to another room. The interesting thing about Greenroom is that you must follow people in order to be invited by them.

It’s also very important to mute your microphone whenever you join the stage, as ambient sounds will be heard by everyone in the room. While others were speaking, I have heard onions been chopped, a toilet being flushed and something that sounded like potato chips in a bag.

Remember that you can go ahead and host your own room and create your own custom session. 

Finally, there are many cultures and ideas thriving on the same platform. Recognise that people will congregate where they feel welcome. They will also use the application in a way that makes sense to them.

Gem rooms were created to encourage users to cooperate with each other. It is a positive sign when people work out that it makes sense to grow together. If you plan to participate as an observer, then do that. Listen, pay attention to the atmosphere in the room, and participate while keeping the vibes positive. Enjoy drop-in social audio wherever you experience it. 

Originally published on 06/20 – Edited on 06/22.