Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I have been struggling internally of what to do about an email I received. I have decided to address the major issue here, as I know she is a blog reader. I'm not going to go into the details of the letter, just that it rubbed me the wrong way. I can tell that the author of the email only wishes to help, but I think our ideas of success are divergent and that we don't necessarily see eye to eye.

The contents of the email basically said that I needed to be "more popular" and that I could use a dose of "shameless self-promotion." I can understand the advice and I think that for others this may be sage advice indeed. Promotion is a valuable tool.

My problem is that things like popularity don't really matter to me. They never have. Even in high school, when these things seem paramount, I just did my own thing and if I got on with other people then great... if not... oh well. For me, I think it's more important about being genuine and honest and fostering good relationships rather than wracking up thousands of followers and quasi-friends.

I could think of my life like a business, of what I could get, how to get more hits, what social networks would best suit me, how to climb that ladder and scale that pyramid and basically how to be a superstar, but I'd rather spend the time making things and just do my own thing. I have too many things to do.

One may fault me with hosting giveaways on my blog or commenting on other people's blogs, but in truth... I do these things for other reasons. I host giveaways, because it's important to me. The idea of sharing and reaching out is strong in my mind. Commenting on others' blogs also falls into this camp of reaching out and creating community. I don't do it out of obligation or to reach a quota, I do it because I want to. Each of us is capable of miraculous and amazing things and together, like-minded individuals can achieve even more grand and mind-blowing feats, but this can only be sustained on a sound foundation. If an empire is built on matchstick connections, it'll undoubtedly crumble and burn.

Even though I don't agree with the author's opinion or advice, I do want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for reminding me that popularity is only an illusion.


kate mckinnon said...

I wondered why your sale code was notpopular. I'd been thinking that over.

I agree with you. I don't do the things that I should do to "keep my name out there," like publishing articles just to publish, posting on Facebook just to stay up there. I don't make "friends" with people I don't like.

I admire you, Andrew, and what you wrote about here is only one of the reasons why.

Lynn said...

Sometimes the best way to approach life is the simple motto: "Take what you like and leave the rest."

Great when used liberally with a dose of "Don't let the suckers get you down" used now & again!

laurelmoon said...

I feel very strange when trying to promote myself. I always think that people should decide whether it is or is not their cup of tea, and do what naturally follows.

I think you do a wonderful job of inviting the outside into your world, and giving those things you want to give. It's a lovely balance you have.

Joan Tucker said...

Andrew, in your sweet way; you know everyone and for all different reasons. If you hired an expensive marketing agency to "toot"your horn they could not amass the giant community you have. I say you are successful just as you are and for the right reasons.Your generosity, attention to others' work, and joy at connecting and commenting are a world all in itself. Who could not see that?
Live long and prosper.. Joan T

SharonP said...

As Shakespeare said so excellent well:

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!

Jean Hutter said...

I have to agree with you here too Andrew - being a fine artist and a jewelry maker I enjoy the creative process - not so much the marketing. Is this a bad thing, I don't think so - at least not for me. As it is, I do not have enough time to paint and create - I see other artists really promoting themselves and I wonder if my attitude is a cop out but I am happy (poor and unknown but happy).

Love this quote from your post "Each of us is capable of miraculous and amazing things and together, like-minded individuals can achieve even more grand and mind-blowing feats"

Janet said...

When a person creates art it is the art their expressions that draws the moth to the flame! It is the work that draws..people cant stay away from real talent! No amt of self promotion can do otherwise. Im sure the person you speak of meant well.

Azure Islands Designs said...

Well said Andrew...we should live our life in what ever way makes us happy!

What feels right for one doesn't always feel right for the other.


TesoriTrovati said...

I, too, wondered about that "notpopular" code. Hmmmm... you have the same desires as those of us who are your followers...to celebrate a creative community where we help and encourage one another to grow deeper in our art and to express ourselves in the manner that suits us. Bill Cosby said, "I'm not sure what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone." Everyone's definition of success is so very personal. I hope to live in a manner that is encouraging and supportive, I want to live well, laugh often and love much, and I want to foster relationships with likeminded individuals.
But most of all, your very generous spirit brought this entire experience back to one that you and we can all learn from...and you turned that negative into a positive in the end. Kudos to you for staying true to you!
Enjoy the day!

Andrew Thornton said...

I am lucky to have the friends that I do, who care for me and support me in everything I do. I am blessed to have a family who I can work with and enjoy being around and who inspire me continuously. I am happy with my life. It isn't perfect, but I am happy. Some days are better than others, but for the most part I am living a charmed life. Each day is a gift and I wouldn't trade that.

This is my road and I will walk down it... but I am not alone; I am in good company.

Gaea said...

Who says you aren't popular? You are popular with the ones who choose to be here with you. It is a slippery slope though. When I think of "Popularity" I think of trying too hard. Who needs that! So many things in life are hard. I can see how it would rub you the wrong way. But I have a feeling this person may have found a special treasure and just wanted to share that treasure with the world...

Leslie @ Bei Mondi said...

You've gotta be you! If you enjoy what you're doing then keep doing it. Seriously, I think you have plenty of people looking out for you and paying attention to what you are doing. There's no need for all of that.

HappyDayArt! said...

I really like what you so eloquently wrote here. It makes sense and I like to hear it myself once in a while. Sometimes I go around reading blogs and seeing what people are up to and while I enjoy it mostly there are many times I feel like it's a churning raging ocean out there, everyone trying to be popular and "famous". I get a bit tense when it feels like that and I sit myself down and ask myself "what do I want from all of this and what can I let go of" because sometimes it doesn't make me feel better and it isn't fun. So then I try to get myself back to what was fun before I lost my perspective and it usually works. If I am having fun doing the blog and making things I am back on track.

I haven't been here to your blog in a while and I see that you are making beautiful jewelry and I am sorry I didn't know that when I saw you. I knew you enjoyed making mixed media art and now I see all the other things you have made in the last couple of months and it's very nice.


dustin said...

Started with the POP-u-larity song from Wicked going through my head, which has now settled on Boy George with "popularity breeds contempt..." First, you have to find the path(s) to be who you are. Then, if your path inspires another to be genuine, you might incur some popularity without even intending to do so. Contempt is staved off by more inspiration, which you can find on the path and/or share (in-spirit) when surrounded by family and friends.
If I could self-promote I'd make myself king, command a chariot, and pass codpieces back into law. But we can't do that (self-promote), so we have to promote from the self instead. I've admired your skill with that since the day we met. What's with all this Deepak-crank anyway? Glitter comes from abalones, which you can eat. Crunchy. How many licks of nacre would it take to get to the chewy center? Ooooh, weird: "nachus" is a Yiddish word for allowing pleasurable pride in one's achievemnts. Poor hubristic sparkly shellfish!