Workshop notes - An introduction to social media

Workshop notes on use of Social Media for artists held at 198 Arts and Contemporary learning, February 2010. Delivered by Tom Keene

Aimed at complete Social Media novices, these notes aim provide an introduction to the current technological landscape and practical uses of of tools that many individual and organisation now take for granted. I'm more interested in tools that actually work, and that I find useful, rather than the cutting edge experiments of social media that have yet to reach mass adoption - we only have so much time so lets make sure that time isn't wasted.

The way I approach social media is as publicly available notepad/sketchbook. By no means am I a prolific poster, nor have I followed all the tips below! But I do try to leave a trail of the various projects I work on, across sites such as flickr and facebook and on collaborators websites. The intention is to leave traces of my work and what I'm interested in, with an aim to meet and work with interesting people, simple as that.

You can find me (Tom Keene) on: Twitter / Flickr / Facebook
tom [a]

Whats right for me

There's no magic solution that works for everybody, and I don't think there is any right or wrong way of doing things, so it important to evaluate technological tools to make sure they help you to achieve what you want:

  • Will this help me put across an idea?
  • Can this save me or others time?
  • Will anybody see this & does that matter?
  • Is it enjoyable to use?
  • Will this help me or others collaborate?
  • Is this how I would like to do things?
  • Will my effort be wasted? i.e. what happens if flickr goes bust?
  • Will this be a duplication of effort?

This guide from provides some clear strategies for defining what you want to achieve.

Classic Social media tips

There are plenty of resources available if you just search for "Social Media Strategy" you'll get a bundle of links, the trick is to identify whats useful for you, here's a starters hit list to point you in the right direction.

  • Use a consistent username across all Social platforms.
  • Remember, social media is a conversation and research tool to help you communicate and structure new ways of working.
  • Allow sufficient time to maintain and develop an identity - things don't happen overnight.
  • If its interesting for you, then somebody else will probably find it interesting.
  • Use terminology that identify you within the sphere that you want to appear i.e. If your thing is Participatory Arts then be sure to to use those words on your website/blog/twitter account.
  • Join in - if you don't contribute then why should people do the same for you?
  • Be honest, if you want to construct a completely new persona, fine, but be willing to put in the effort. Its much easier just being yourself.

Social media Integrates everything

To really make use of social media, it makes sense to connect all your social media accounts together, as an example, you could write an article in a blog, which automatically lets people know about the article on twitter, which auto-updates a Facebook status. With the minimum of effort, you can let allot of people know what your doing, and hopefully provided some useful information.

  • Publish once, distribute everywhere.
  • Minimise effort
  • Identify your audience - if the audience you want to reach uses facebook, then thats where you need to be posting
  • Don't forget about the real world, there's nothing like actually meeting people

In the real world

If I were starting to create a web presence from scratch, and I didn't have the technical knowledge I have now, I would probably work on things in the order I've listed below, which you can get up and running in an afternoon.

An action plan for the novice

  1. Choose a distinct name less than sixteen characters long
  2. Register with twitter and start posting research
  3. Register with facebook
  4. Add the twitter app to facebook so all my twitter posts update my facebook status
  5. Register with flickr and change the settings so that my images are posted to my twitter account.
  6. Instantly setup a blog to post a project portfolio using wordpress or blogger
If you've any comments, then lets talk on twitter




Post new comment

  • You can enable syntax highlighting of source code with the following tags: <code>, <blockcode>. Beside the tag style "<foo>" it is also possible to use "[foo]". PHP source code can also be enclosed in <?php ... ?> or <% ... %>.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h3> <h2> <h4> <img> <div> <table> <tr> <td> <pre>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Insert image: [img:node_id align=(left|right) size=(|fullLA|fullPreview|fullSQ|halfLA|halfPO|halfSQ|thirdSQ) action=(popup|link|frame) url=url style="margin:10px;" title=text description=text]

More information about formatting options XHTML 1.0 Strict CSS2 WAI