Social Media Artists

Social Media Artists
Happy campers, helping clients

Smart Group

Smart Group
Not exactly a rock band, but close!

Smart Group Associates

Smart Group Associates

Social Media Discussion Board

Be part of the discussion about Social Media. Here is your chance to promote your business, your product, your knowledge. Follow this link and leave your thoughts!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

“… and what do you do?” merging purpose with the need to talk

Isn’t it interesting that, “What do you do?” is one of the first questions that we ask someone we’ve just met. On one level it’s an easy subject to give someone to talk about but on another, it is a way to find out about what they value and spend half their life working at.

Winston and I have known each other for years but, until we both joined Facebook we didn’t know that we had so much in common. Since we live in different cities, Winston in Ozark and I in Springfield there have only been the occasional social event to chat about family, work and opinions on current events.

Recently, I posted a drawing I made for my newest nephew in Edinburgh, Scotland. This drew a compliment from Winston and his comment, “I didn’t know that you did artwork.” This interaction led to us to meet for coffee and talk about our past work experience, family, and our mutual desire to do work that aligned with our values but also grew us in new directions. That is the ground from which SMART group is growing. And seeing the power of social media to draw people who share common interests, values and talents to support each other. Like us.

I have friends and have read about more and more people who are starting new agencies, businesses and organizations to do the same thing in their lives. These people need our patronage, encouragement and support to succeed. We want to work with them.

We believe our experience and talent in art, business, design, and communication combined with the use of different social media tools can help these people and their ideas succeed. Beyond advertising or marketing and more like introducing mutual friends at a social event, who you know have a lot in common. Helping tell stories when you know there’re not quite coming across or adding illustration to what’s being said to enhance the laugh or understanding.

So, that’s SMART Group & Gallery.

What do you do?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Radical Humility

A friend and I are doing research about Social Media. We are starting a new company in Springfield, Missouri, called Smart Group and Gallery. Smart stands for Social Media Art. We plan to create custom, artist-centric solutions that drive results. We hope that we're right about a theory. Our theory is that we can make marketing fun.

My name is Winston "Dub" Riley and my friend is Kevin Richardson. We think that helping others is our calling.

Since this is the first post for this blog, it is probably a good place for the confession. Kevin and I are just beginning to understand the power of Social Media. We're both over 50 and our own exposure to the medium has come to us like it has to most people over 50. We finally got a personal Facebook page and we have a lot of fun in that space. We are not unlike other people of all ages who find themselves clicking through sites and watching videos and listening to music. This experience has lead us to looking at photos on Flickr, watching videos on YouTube, reading information on Wikipedia, joining share groups like Twitter, signing up for bookmarking sites like Delicious, reading and creating blogs such as this one on Blogger. So in the spirit of transparency, we admit, this is all pretty new for us.

Lately Kevin and I have been getting each other excited with a thought. The thought goes something like this. There is a new game in town called Social Media. Social Media was NOT created so marketers have another way to sell things. Social Media is a forum for conversations to take place. Marketers who wish to spend time and genuinely desire to enter the conversation with their customers may discover a new way to do business. It is called being honest and transparent and working very hard to really understand what their customers concerns and needs are.

"How can we work within this medium," Kevin and I have been challenging each other with, "by doing what it is we love to do, create art?"

As we watch thousands of conversations going on in interesting meeting places on the internet, we see certain "art" that stands out. Whether it is a funny video or fascinating demonstration combining music and graphics, we recognize that some experiences move us on a deeper level.

In other words, when a message is "cloaked" in a wrapper, so the audience will understand the message, as if it were a sentence to grasp, it doesn't move people in the same way as music or art does.

Naturally art galleries wouldn't be in existence, movies wouldn't have huge followings and people wouldn't stand in line to watch their beloved musicians perform, if art wasn't universally appreciated.

So for this first blog, timed before we've even got our building for the business and even before our logo has been designed and even before we've talked to one client about this and even before we have one other associate signed up to be on our team, we want to express our radical humility. We need to continue to learn much more about the medium and we confess our own limitations. In that light we're excited that this endeavor will help us grow as artists and should offer clients a chance to work with us in a very affordable and practical way.

To recap, here are the things we enjoy doing:

1. Helping others.

2. Creating art which moves people.

3. "Playing" in this new fascinating field called Social Media.

4. Basking in the Art of the Conversation.

Would you complete the loop by leaving a comment, perhaps to tell us how we can improve or help you with something? We'll do our best to keep the circle expanding. We treasure your perspective! Thanks for stopping in.