Clay flows naturally. The feel of moist de-aired stoneware being manipulated by my fingers, awakens me. The smell of wet earth saturates my soul and elicits me to listen to the clay body. As I slowly pull the malleable form from the left lower bottom, the energy between my fingers and the clay gently guides me along the inner thigh, over the slightly curved belly, and finally gliding up to the neck of a now ceramic berry bowl. Clay seduces me. So do words. My traditional approach of using a medium blue ball point pen embracing the white writing paper engenders fluidly with a soothing current rushing with salacious content. Words impassion me when my fingers frolic across the laptop keyboard with a click chasing echo, enticing readers with the slightest familiar visual touch, the breeze of a seasoned woman’s inflection, and the well-crafted sound of strong punctuation. Taking clay and transposing it into words is like developing a blog for me with a ceramic twist. Clay blogging implores tweeting. And Twitter, a micro blog (Rogers, 2012), puts my clay in the hands of the reader.
A rubber band snuggly keeps the clay bag sealed from the Florida humidity. Before I take to a 2” wedge of clay, I determine the goal of its form. Like blogging, I focus on what I want to announce or produce. I research and listen to what my competitors are creating (Li & Bernoff, 2011). I etch out a plan targeting a season, a celebration, a purpose for the consumer to purchase perhaps my berry bowls in various colors. Like in blogging, I “ask for participation” (Jantsch) on the style, are they too short or too wide? I invite feedback on color combinations, are they too bright or too dull? I organize my space, my time allotted for the project, and then, I begin. I construct the berry bowl. After glazing and firing the bowls in the kiln, I list them on my Extrudergirl shop. Just like in my blog, I give the reader a visual focal point to accompany my words (Egan, 2015). I display the completed piece with a crisp eye catching photo to lure the Etsy viewer to buy it. Like the personalization of content in a blog (Sprung, 2015), the mark of the potter can be seen and felt. The Etsy buyer can appreciate the quality of the craftsmanship as they unpack the berry bowl from the box and it is in their hands.
I often hear quality is better than quantity (Schaefer, 2012). This is especially true when it comes to clay and tweets. I could cheaply mass produce my ceramic pieces but it would diminish the level of expertise it takes to create the bowl, choose the correct color combination, and dazzling presentation on the Extrudergirl shop. This focus on quality starts with the name for a berry bowl or a headline for a tweet. The description of the ceramic piece or the main topic keywords of a tweet should be in the first three to five words (Schaefer, 2012); “red berry bowl” doesn’t capture an audience like my “Handmade Fifth Avenue Christmas Red Ceramic Berry Bowl”. Engaging content can capture a buyer or lose the viewer. With a 140 characters for a tweet on Twitter (Jantsch), it is a little harder and exemplifies the craft of listening to what followers like and want. I recently tweeted the following which achieved 67 Twitter Impressions:
This meant that 67 people were interactive or engaged with the Tweet (Doctor, 2013). On the listing page of my berry bowl, I am not as limited to specific characters. However, I want to swiftly engage the consumer with clever wordage and provide a purpose for them to buy the bowl as noted below:
If “tweeps” (Schaefer, 2012), fellow twitters, send me a direct message on Twitter or a consumer starts a conversation with me on my Etsy account about the berry bowl, it is imperative to have a “timely response” (Li & Bernoff, 2011). Good communication delivers authenticity and demonstrates that you are listening to the consumer and your tweeps.
Clay, blog, tweet is a powerful combination that has helped me and fellow potters build our personal professional brand identity and acknowledgement of expertise. Potters can reach an audience with not just their ceramic pieces but words about clay production, life as a potter, and ceramic technical information (Schwartz, 2015). The ceramic world has a vast presence on Twitter. With the use of hashtags, Twitter networking, lead generation, and a platform for quick product development feedback, Twitter can get the potter back in the studio and not consumed by the social media landscape. A consumer can look at my berry bowl and recognize the quality once they own it. A reader can read my blog and become engrossed with the craft of my words; and Twitter followers can retweet my context that they like. I implore . . . clay, blog, tweet, repeat. It works.
Doctor, V. (2013, July 13). Understanding Twitter Impressions: Why Are They Important? Retrieved from Hashtags.org: https://www.hashtags.org/platforms/twitter/understanding-twitter-impressions-why-are-they-important/
Egan, J. (2015, 1 6). 9 Tips for Making Your Blog Better in 2015. Retrieved from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-egan/9-tips-for-making-your-bl_b_6397640.html
Herzog, A. (2014, 2 24). 10 Best Practices for Tweeting in 2014. Retrieved from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ari-herzog/10-best-practices-for-twitter_b_4834232.html
Jantsch, J. (n.d.). Let’s Talk Social Media for Small Business. Retrieved from Duct Tape Marketing: http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/socialmediaforbusiness.pdf
Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.
Rogers, J. (2012, April 5). The Social Media MBS: Part 3: Social Media Landscape. Retrieved from Maximize Social Business: http://maximizesocialbusiness.com/social-media-mba-part-3-social-media-landscape-6443/
Schaefer, M. (2012). The Tao of Twitter. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Schwartz, B. (2015, Jan 3). Top Pottery Blogs 2014. Retrieved from Pottery Making Info: http://www.potterymakinginfo.com/news/top-pottery-blogs-2014/
Sprung, R. (2015, 1 15). 4 Ways to Create an Engaging Blog Experience. Retrieved from Social Media Examiner: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/create-engaging-blog-experience/#more-76151