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1/25  | How is the internet woven into your life – do you have a computer, cell phone, smart phone? When did you get them? Put yourself on the Pew WWW Timeline: starting with the date when you went online, which of the milestones have been part of your experience of the internet? Which have not?

I’m not sure how many ways the internet can be woven into one’s life, but if there was a scale from 1-10, I’d probably be at an 11. That sounds unhealthy when you first think about it, but my internet use is much more than social media. I have a laptop and a smart phone, but until a couple months ago, I just had a smart phone. I was still able to find research for my papers, practice graphic design techniques, and keep up with my art site’s sales just from my tiny iPhone. I use internet for almost anything, whether it be looking up facts, finding the best late-night breakfast spot with superb Chicken and Waffles, or to find those musical gems on Soundcloud that get me through my toughest days.

If I could pinpoint a date when I first started using the internet on a regular basis, I would say 2006. I don’t recall ever using the internet for much until I turned 11 years old and went to middle school. Once I was in middle school, we actually had keyboarding classes, and computer labs, so the use of the Internet became a daily thing. That was when I first started to use social media.

I would say one of the not so great milestones of my Internet life also came in middle school, and of course because of social media. In 2008, I was put in the middle of an all out girl cat-fight because of what someone I considered a friend decided to wish death and make threats about another one of my close friends. Being someone who doesn’t take those kind of threats lightly, of course I told my friend. I hadn’t anticipated her going to the principal and getting a plethora of other authorities involved. Of course it was easy to tell who had told her because the information was only told to me. That resulted in my first fist fight as a kid, which I feel was a little harsh but of course, we were middle schoolers who didn’t know how to handle our problems with anything else but violence.

That was probably the only time where I regretted ever getting involved with the internet. It’s actually been very beneficial for me and my art. I’ve met so many creative people and been connected with so many opportunities to network and get myself out there that I don’t think i’d delete myself from social media anytime soon. I believe my Internet milestone hasn’t come yet, but I definitely see it heading in that direction for 2016. I believe 2016 is 100% my year when it comes to growing my artistic brand and making an impact in the Internet world. Only time will truly tell, but I’m excited for the journey ahead.

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Getting Started

What is your current web presence? What could you do to improve it?

Currently, social media is my most abundantly used way to build my web presence. Each social media platform that I use has a different purpose for it. For example, when I use Facebook, it is primarily to keep up with family members, sorority sisters, and most importantly, my job because much of our communication between co-workers is through Facebook. I do not do much to enhance my web presence on Facebook because it is now only used for those purposes, in fact since being back on Facebook for about a year, I have only posted 3 new statuses updating my life.

The next most abundantly used form of social media is Instagram. I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures, whether they’re of myself, my neighborhood, interesting things I see, etc. Nowadays, someone’s Instagram not only shows pictures of them on a daily basis, but can somewhat tell the story of your personality just from what they post. There are some instagram’s that you can tell are thoroughly thought out when it comes to posting and editing, and you get a certain vibe about who that person is from the way they post their pictures. I have not yet mastered the art of ‘Instagram vibes’ because frankly I don’t care to do all that, but I do make sure to keep my Instagram updated especially because I am an artist who sells their work, so I like to keep my followers posted about any new projects i’m working on.

My favorite social media platform is Twitter. Not only is it an easy way to connect with friends, but you can also build your web presence and through that presence, connect yourself to strangers who share the same music, art, and business interests as you do. It is one of the few places where you can stay up to date on news, politics, celebrity gossip, speak your daily thoughts, and meet people you never knew existed all on the same timeline. I will say though that Twitter, as fun and addicting as it may be, can become very very toxic. I have seen many people who attained ‘twitter fame’ just by being themselves and being comfortable with who they are get vicious hate from anon strangers on a daily basis, just for existing. And although there’s block buttons and ways to report these people, no one likes to see themselves getting bashed every time they open their app. This has personally never happened to me, but I have seen it affect people in terrible ways, so I now try to limit my twitter use. Many times, I will not even check my timeline, but instead post what I need to, whether it be personal or business related, and then immediately log back off.

All forms of social media can be overwhelming, especially if you inundate yourself in it.

My most recent web presence came about in the form of a blog. The blog was a brainchild of my online web store that I created when I first started getting requests for prints of my paintings. My web store, although somewhat successful, lacked personality and life. Yes, it had a theme and colors, and even a logo that I created myself, but it still was not something even I wanted to visit, so I understood why others did not. There was nothing to keep the visitors from going back unless they were planning to buy a print. I decided to focus my website more along the lines of my career path. Since I plan to be an Art Therapist and a freelance Artist on the side, I thought it would be a good idea to put them together. My forms of therapy are art and music, so I decided to combine them; hence “The Art Muse”. There, people would be able to look at and purchase my art while listening to the music that either inspired or motivated my pieces. With this blog, I feel like I will boost and improve my artistic web presence once it is published in a way that is unique and filled with warmth, and not centered around the idea of ‘BUY MY ART OR GET OUT’, and I felt like this blog could continue that theme that I’m working on at the moment.