Sunday, April 29, 2018

Flummoxed on the Social Media hamster wheel......

During my Facebook hiatus I had time to deliver the dinner set for 8, finish the website, take 50 billion pictures of pots, delete 49 billion pictures from my camera, update the layout for the blog, set up an Etsy site, get the gardens sorted out, plant some peas and lettuce and get a couple plants in the wheel barrow for a Spring side out rotate and.....  wait for it, re-activate my facebook account.  I think I've just about linked everything together and my bank account numbers are painted on a bathroom wall in LA with yellow neon highlighter ...... Ha and I thought facebook was a time suck!  Still working on getting the html social media icons on the blog and website.  And have yet to get Bing search engines to recognize the new website.  Google is pretty easy, Pinterest is pretty easy but Bing...... I think I only had two eye bleeds while figuring out my meta code! Code Blue, that would be my heart stopping but meta code....   I didn't even know what meta code was two weeks ago...... but here is the astonishing thing; I kind of got it!  Talk about a dog with a bone, although I think I would prefer tenacious.  See those nice new headers on the sidebar?  LOOK AT IT!

Before I deleted my Facebook account I read a too much, rolled it around in my head more than needed, listened to the Pope of Facebook and his high holy cardinals, and decided to go forth into the wildness alone.  I didn't delete on whim, I really did my homework or thought I did. 

By week two in the wilderness, I decided to host a studio sale this June 15th and 16th.  Now, how to get the word out?  The blog, instagram, new website, Etsy announcement...... high five myself and go plant peas.  But while planting peas I wondered just how many people do I really reach without the facebook platform?  While I sipped my 3 o'clock coffee I started looking at numbers on all those other time suck platforms.  My blog post went from 300 - 350 readers per blog post to 20 readers.  Instagram stayed about the same.  New website had about 100 hits and as I gulped the last of the coffee grounds on the bottom of cup, it was becoming clear; cross posting on Facebook had made a huge difference in the getting the word out about "stuff".  If you are a small business this is gold and last time I counted I have a workforce of 1 and one free loader who holds the floor down and sheds like it's his job.

Listening to NPR and reading several articles written by young kids and adults (age 15 - 29) who had deleted their facebook account and raved that they were more creative, had more time to work out, read books, drop out of the cool kids club and they were never going back to facebook.  One young man reported he'd opened his facebook account when he was 13 and deleted his account when he was 17.5;  he spent an average of 3 hours a day on social media per day and came up with this equation:
(he gets an A++ for math!)

17.5 -13 = 14.5 x 365 = 1642 x 3 hours = 4927 hours wasted.  

Epiphany #2
Socia media allowed me to surround myself with so many like minded "friends" from politics to gardening to pottery and on and on.  It kind of creates a false illusion.  I don't work a regular job where I need to go interact with people on a daily basis.  I interact with a dog, an obnoxious neighborhood cat and lately a couple rows of peas.  None of them knows or cares about Trump or pottery or ..... well maybe the yard because they are all going to eat it or pee on it.  I live in Trump country and have completely and totally withdrawn from local life as I once knew it.  I live next door to a guy who plays the Star Spangled Banner out his front window at 10 am.  I live in town with no grocery stores, a jail and 4 gun shops.  I think I just discovered why the country has is so divided;  social media!  What happened to the days when neighbors really did need each other.  Remember; Timmy's in the well and Lassie ran to the neighbors for help?  Ya those days are gone; Timmy's in the well!!  Did he vote for Trump?  OMG just toss him in anchor and nail the lid shut!  Did I mention I live across the street from a cemetery?  I have friends hosting studio sales in the bucolic hills or pastoral acres.... substitute bubonic and perpetual care acres .....  welcome to my studio sale. 

While discussing the idea for a studio sale with the dog, I asked how shall we advertise this studio sale?  The dog just wanted to know if there would be cookies?  Not many read the paper anymore, bill boards seem to be a bit of overkill.......... crap back to social media and facebook or the dog and I will be eating all the cookies and switching out the lemonade for bourbon. 

And in other news....... Daughter #2 is graduating next Saturday from Western Colorado University in Gunnison.  I am packing up the dog, camping equipment, oxygen tanks, large bottle of aspirin and husband of 36 years; who is down right giddy over the prospects that the last kid made it.  My house looks like the FBI flipped an REI store.  Next Saturday morning at 9 am we will be sitting on cold metal bleachers in an outdoor stadium, dressed in long johns and battery powered socks, in the mountains of Colorado freezing our pa-tooties off and grinning from ear to ear.......  yup, she made it!
Congratulations Abby!  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Time Marches on ...... and on and on.......

Time marches on........ and Spring is hiding.

Since last posting I've taken a seat on Mr Toad's Wild Ride and forgot to buckle up!

Sporadic gardening at best but so much to get done, it's daunting.  Our weather has been set on rinse and spin, rinse again, add snow, repeat.  A crack appears and life is left standing while you run to the garden, drop to your knees and weed like a person possessed before the sky opens up again.  Can't remember a Spring like this for a very long time and hoping the end is near!
After a day of panic gardening the neighborhood; Not My Cat, Rufus showed up.

And did I mention people are down right cranky?  I'm trying hard not leave the compound until I see a daffodil.

 Kirby rides shot gun on our way to Pittsburgh NCECA. 
Time to set up the show at Borelli Edwards Gallery curated by Stephanie Craig!

Our own Todd Leech and Lynne Lofton setting up! 

NCECA has come and gone.  Shows have been set up and broken down.  Great chance to have my pottery battery recharged and getting back to a little excitement in the studio.  I was taken with how little there was on glaze chemistry at this NCECA.  Decals are huge, as is wood firing.  Pots seem to be more decorated and embellished, unless it's wood fired and then drumroll please..... wood fired pots with decals....... and mug prices just keep going up.  I'm not sure I'm up to paying over $100 for mug.... yup, I have heard the argument on the side of the artist for the $100 mug but I'm a potter and the lights need to stay on.  I still make $25 utilitarian, knock around mugs you can take in the garden and put in the dishwasher.  Don't get me wrong I do have a few of those fancy mugs that get used on Sunday morning but my "go to", take to the studio, drive out of the driveway with it on the roof of my car mug, gets used almost everyday.

And I listen to NPR in the studio and heard the grand Mea Culpa of Mark Zuckerberg. Mr Facebook sound shocked at the fallout over Cambridge Analytica.  The more I read the more pissed off I became.  So I downloaded what Facebook had skimmed off my profile over the last 10 years and the final straw was seeing my entire address book in their "information".   WTF Mark?  Do you need honey from my honey lady or eggs from my egg guy up the road?  You have more money than God and you sold out 80 million facebook users information to a shady group in Britain?  I have one vote, and I have buying power and an opinion, that sometimes gets me in a bit of trouble...... BUT I am an advocate for transparency on all levels.  Soooooo I did the unthinkable, I deleted my Facebook account.  I am sure this is having more of an impact on me than Mr Facebook and I am now coming to terms with how this will affect my tiny little business.  I listened to the Congressional panel "grill" Mark and realized Mark was as shocked as I, at just how little Congress knows about cyberspace, advertising dollars etc. and have no hope of any regulation from an impotent government.  I find myself in a constant state of outrage these days....... well unless I'm in the studio and then it's just rainbow poop'n unicorns.  And NPR reported yesterday,  Facebook is making major changes in security and privacy next month........  I'm still on Instagram and Facebook owns Instagram and there is probably a chip in my van following me around and my not so smart, smart phone died yesterday.  Spent an hour on the phone with Raj in distant land far far away and still no phone and right now I am soooooo OK with that!  In a couple months I will be a full fledged hermit with hair growing out of my ears, dandelion puff hair and gnarly bare feet.

AND........ I stumbled back on Craigslist.  My 2006 computer died a while back and after much angst and research decided I could get by with a MacBook Air.  Then I ordered business cards, shooting up a red flag (the colors were way off) and then the show rejection hit list started rolling in and I scratched my head and loaded a bunch of images on my Smart TV (which took me an entire day due to several trips to the  geek store to get compatible pigtails to merge laptop and smart TV as the TV is much smarter than the potter and kept telling how not smart I really am) and I was stunned at how bad my images were!  I started looking around for desk tops and really just can't plunk down well over $1,000 on a desktop computer at the moment..... WAIT!  maybe if I made $100 mugs..........

I spent weeks looking for a computer and then a few days ago I found a fairly new Apple desktop for sale, good price and right up the road.  So in an Ohio, Spring blizzard I drove up the road, kicked the tires and bought it.  Then I downloaded new software to get a new website up and running.  Free fall down the rabbit hole of shopping cart software...... two days of research only to head back to Etsy.  After a day and half I have the "Welcome to S. Miller Pottery" complete.  It might be Christmas before I get this done! 

The learning curve.... new/old  desktop computer, laptop to watch tutorials.... iPad (used to take the picture) and cross watch even more tutorials.  

Then I ran out to the studio and set up the light cube, lights and tripod; taking 188 images of various pots I thought I might want on the website.  If you don't use your camera for a couple years you need to get out the manuals and once again watch a bunch of youtube's on what all those little buttons mean.  My house looks like Michael Cohen's apartment after it was flipped.  And if YouTube is tracking me, it's all about Labrador puppies, gardens, pottery, software, Sony camera functions and cats are jerks.

And I have red lettered on my calendar my first ever home studio sale set for Friday, June 15th and Saturday June 16th.  But as I am no longer on Facebook, not sure if anybody will show up so I will be here drinking iced tea and eating cookies with a dog and not my cat Rufus....... and the chickens will be here by then!

And I had a lovely art day at the Akron Museum of Art seeing the Jun Kaneko show!


Stay tuned.............