How Artists Can Navigate Social Media During Tough Times

Hello my art friend,

I want to dive into a topic that many of us struggle with: how to show up on social media and talk about our work when there are difficult and upsetting events happening in the world. It's a delicate balance between staying engaged with our audience, inspiring them with our work, and respecting the gravity of current events. 

Like many of you, I've struggled with how to maintain an online presence while acknowledging the world's hardships. Through trial and error, I've learned some valuable lessons that I'm excited to share with you today.

As artists, we often rely on social media to showcase our work, connect with our audience, and promote our art businesses. But, when tragic events unfold—whether they are natural disasters, social injustices, or political unrest—it can feel insensitive or even inappropriate to continue posting about our artwork.

So, how do we strike the right balance between acknowledging current events and continuing to share our art? The key lies in authenticity, empathy, and mindful communication.

First and foremost it's important to decide whether your space on social media is a space where you want to share your personal thoughts or opinions on current events. If you do, then you should feel free to do so. Know that your opinions will likely polarize your audience, but that isn’t always a bad thing. My guess is that if you’re reading this newsletter it's because you feel you should address the topic at hand, but you don’t necessarily feel comfortable sharing your opinions on it.

So let’s talk about this through the lens of a felt responsibility. 

You can start by simply acknowledging what's happening in the world.

This demonstrates empathy and shows your awareness. By acknowledging current events, you show compassion towards those who are affected. It's a way of saying, "I see you, and I care." This acknowledgment can help foster a sense of connection and solidarity among your audience, especially during difficult times.

Nobody expects you to have all the answers or to make eloquent speeches about the state of the world unless that is what you have built your art or your platform around. But by simply acknowledging the event, your audience will know that it's on your mind even as you share other things. Often by simply sharing, you are creating an invitation for others to respond or engage, which can lead to some beautiful conversations.

In the end, acknowledging the situation is more than just a gesture—it's a reflection of your values, empathy, and awareness of the world around you. You may inadvertently turn off some of your followers, but you will have upheld your commitment to being a responsible and compassionate member of the online artist community.

You might choose instead to shift the focus of your content to reflect themes of resilience and hope.

Think about how your art can serve as a source of inspiration or solace during difficult times. Share uplifting stories or discuss how your art practice(s) creates space for processing your own thoughts. That alone may encourage others to find a healing practice in their own lives. Just remember that in the face of adversity, art and art-making both have the power to inspire and uplift

In addition to sharing your own artwork, you might consider highlighting uplifting stories and experiences from your community or beyond. Whether it's showcasing the work of fellow artists who are making a positive impact, sharing stories of triumph, or featuring acts of kindness and compassion, these stories can inspire and uplift your audience and once again contribute to a culture of kindness and empathy on social media.

One thing I have seen some artists do (and receive some backlash for) is donate a percentage of their sales to a specific cause.

While I have done this and think it's a lovely gesture, I have seen some backlash from the community for the donated percentage not being high enough. It can also feel like the artist is doing this more as an incentive to sell more work instead of a heartfelt gesture. I suggest if you want to go this route that you donate 100% of the proceeds of the sale of a specific work to the charity of your choice. 

Whatever you do when choosing to respond to a current crisis, it should feel good. That is how you know you’re being authentic, and it is authenticity that builds trust and fosters genuine connections with your audience. When you're authentic in your communications, your audience can sense it, and they're more likely to resonate with your message. By being true to yourself and your values, you create a bond of trust that strengthens your relationship with your followers.

And, if you find yourself in the middle of a local or world event and you just can’t respond, sometimes, the best thing to do is to take a step back from your social media activity altogether.

If you feel overwhelmed or unsure about how to navigate sensitive topics, it's okay to take a break. Use this time to reflect, recharge, and return to social media when you feel ready. Use your time away to reflect on how you want to show up on social media during challenging times and consider how you can contribute positively to the conversation. Take note of how others are responding to the crisis and what you appreciate as a community member and what feels performative or insensitive to you.

So, remember that navigating social media during tough times is hard for all of us. By acknowledging current events, shifting the focus of your content, maintaining authenticity, and knowing when to take a break, you can navigate these challenges with integrity.

Remember, as artists, we have a unique opportunity to uplift and inspire others through our work, even during the hardest of times. We can continue to show up for our community with empathy, compassion, and resilience.

Thanks for being here.

All the best,


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