Monday, August 24, 2015

247: Instagram vs. Facebook vs. Twitter

Along the East Bench, 16" x 20", oil on canvas
DURING the opening of my abstract show the gallery director for the event suggested I post images of the show on Instagram. Since I didn't have an account she showed me how to set one up, taking a photo for my profile, and giving me a quick tutorial about hash tags. Before I knew it I had a respectable looking feed and several followers.

Since then the same gallery, Alpine Art, decided to mount a one-person show of my woodcuts in April 2016. The intermittent abstract posts evolved into daily posts about the art of woodcut. I have also posted images of my print studio and equipment and have purposely kept the captions informative but short. So far I have 43 woodcut related posts with 233 images to go (I use the app T-Zero to calculate the days until the show).

I've been pleased with the success of Instagram. In a matter of months I have 129 followers. By contrast I've been blogging via Blogger for six years and, even though I have over a half million visits, I only have 178 followers. Instagram is primarily a visual medium and is perfect for visual artists. It's easy to see who is worth following with no obstacles to hitting the follow button.

I do have some complaints–the resolution size on phones is quite small. I wished you could click on the images to get close ups (which you can do on the Saatchi app). I also wish I could track my own likes, like Pinterest, to keep a log of favorite images. They have a like button for connecting with other users but a love button for compiling an archive of your favorite images would be a plus. Although the feed with Instagram is uncluttered I wish you could post with italics, bold, and other graphic flourishes to make the text even more visually engaging. But even as it is Instagram makes Twitter and Facebook look as inviting as a tax form.

Contacting people is not as easy as it should be, either. I listed this blog in my profile and got a message saying it was an illegal URL meaning you can't have the word blogspot in the address–a futile attempt to make Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) a proverbial walled garden. I got around the lame prohibition by using a Tiny URL address.

One thing I like is posting simultaneously to Facebook with a large image. But simultaneous posts to Twitter are text only which is pretty pointless with a visual medium like Instagram. People can still follow me via Facebook or Twitter, I just post automatically to them via my Instagram account which keeps my life simpler.

I use the app InsTrack to get analytics although it's pretty clunky and is always needing a buck or two to expand its usability which is hugely irritating. If you know of a better Instagram analytics app please comment below.

In short, Instagram is currently my social media of choice. If you want to follow along click the link to the right of this post. I hope you'll give it a try. I look forward to your comments either on this blog or via Instagram.

UPDATE: As of August 2015 you can simultaneously post to Twitter with a high resolution image.

Brad Teare– August 2015

9 comments:

  1. As far as sharing images it's my favorite social media. It has less ads although that seems to be changing. I love the easy post to multiple places option. I find I connect to people around the world more easily through the tags. I enjoy scrolling through the feed much more than I do on facebook. I primarily look on my Ipad which allows better viewing than the phone. I haven't even attempted to use analytics on IG. What I'd love to figure out is how to create a massive following. Just a few thoughts.

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    1. I agree, Brandt. I haven't tried viewing on the iPad. Will have to give it a try. I do feel like I am really connecting with people versus just adding another post to another feed no one is looking at. My only complaint is that some of my favorite artists I would love to follow on Instagram aren't using it yet. I assume that will change as Instagram picks up more momentum. Inserting too many ads could change that though. I hope they don't get greedy.

      Please update as you get new insights into using the platform.

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  2. Maybe it will be useful for you: I use IFTTT service to cross post my Blogger's posts to Facebook, Flickr , etc. Works fine for several years already for me.
    I am sure IFTTT is connected to Instagram, too.

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    1. I will look into it, Irina. I appreciate the suggestion. I'm always open to new ideas to help this social media thing work better. Many thanks!

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  3. Hi Brad. Perhaps it's time for me to take the Instagram plunge.

    I don't do twitter. I get it's value for many, just not for me. I'm not vain enough to think that people want to see any tweets from me.

    On the other hand, I've been working my blog and FB site. FB has made it difficult to stay connected to your followers. I use a FAN page, and I have to pay to get previous followers to see my work (FB now only shows it to a select few).

    It has gotten much more difficult to build an online presence without spending for advertising. Organic growth is harder. Still worth it, IMHO. But these companies are about making money (no fault there).

    It's amazing what $10 of advertising dollars on FB can do to get your posts seen.

    My blog...been working it for about four years. As you say: Lots of visits, few followers. I think blogging has lost it's luster. I still use it to read *real* blog. But the fashion of blogging has ended, and Instagram et al have taken over that spot.

    Thanks for sharing this post. Much appreciated!

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    1. For some reason I have never really liked the Facebook Ecosystem. I've never been able to really define why. But Instagram does make it all easier. Let me know how it works for you. I would definitely live to hear how it goes. As always, great to hear from you.

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  4. "Along the East Bench" is a beautiful painting. Wonderful balance and brushwork.
    Thanks for posting it

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    1. Thanks, Neil! I appreciate your kind words.

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