Category: TechsmARTs

TechsmARTs Starts off Strong!

Monday morning C4 Atlanta hosted its first TechsmARTs discussion in partnerships with The Office of Arts at Georgia Tech. The Atlanta Contemporary was our host partner, and their beautiful space

was the perfect location for our discussion entitled “Is There Anybody Out There? : How Different Generations use Social Media”.

C4 Atlanta saw this as one of the most important topics currently trending in the arts community. Whether a free lance artist or an arts organization, social media has become a go-to tool for marketing and reaching audiences. Each generation has their own social media preferences and user habits, but more often than not it can feel like shouting into a digital abyss without any response. The goal of this panel was to acknowledging best practices and strategies around reaching these different users, so artists and administrators can feel empowered to use trending social media technology to better reach their targeted audiences.

The stellar panel for this talk was comprised of:

Each panelist played an important role in how the discussion was shaped. Gregory Burbidge offered amazing in site on the Boomer Generation and how their needs for consuming art are and are not being met. Diana Toma was a fountain of knowledge for Facebook as she shared her tactics of using special interest groups as a way to drive people back to her own artist’s Facebook Page. Veronica Kessenich’s information on the Gen X market was key, and she inspired a great talk on using Instagram as a visual story to reach this market. As the only millennial on the panel, Chelsea Steverson highlighted ways of using new social media technology, such as Snapchat and Tumblr, to reach the ever growing Millennial generation which no longer “buys” into everyday advertisements. Between the four panelist questions were answered, laughs were had, and a clearer understanding of social media usage was found.

With an engaged room of participants and a knowledgeable panel, “Is There Anybody Out There” proved to be a strong kick-off to this years TechsmARTs discussions. For more information or to RSVP to our next TechsmART’s panel in November click here!

Below is a list of articles and resources which sparked the original development of this discussion, as well as links to the Snapchat user video shown on Monday morning. If you did not have the opportunity to attend, a full recording of the discussion can also be found below.

IMG_20150914_105139  IMG_20150914_104410  IMG_20150914_104851


  • Best Times to Post on Social Media
  • Generations and content consumption
  • Marketing to millennials 
  • Musicians using Snapchat
  • Social Media Fandoms
  • More on Snapchat & Tumblr

    Listen to the whole discussion here:



    C4 Atlanta partners with GA Tech to continue TechsmARTs program.

    C4 Atlanta is pleased to announced that we will be partnering with the Office of the Arts at Georgia Tech as we continue our TechsmARTs program. 

    TechsmARTs was created five years ago as a free, meet-up discussion focused on the intersection of arts and technology. The goal of the partnership is to enhance support of the program, expand its reach into the community and create meaningful conversations about the influence and impact of technology on the arts.


    Here’s what the Jessyca Holland, Executive Director of C4 Atlanta, had to say about the partnership:

    “This partnership happened very organically. C4 Atlanta has always held the belief that artists and technologists are creative thinkers who have more in common than not. The Office of the Arts values this belief. I am thrilled to be working together with them.”




     Jennifer Kimball with the Office of the Arts at Georgia Tech also shares her excitement for this partnership:

    “I’m excited to see these two groups join forces to further the dialogue between technology and art. It’s a natural partnership: since its inception, C4 Atlanta has proven itself invaluable within the Atlanta arts community for the business and technology resources it offers. The Office of the Arts is leading the charge to celebrate arts and creativity across the Georgia Tech campus and to further infuse arts into this technology-focused community.”


    Upcoming TechsmARTs dates and discussions:

    Boomers, Xers and Millennials: A look at how arts patrons across generations use social media.
    September 14, 2015, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
    Held in partnership with the Atlanta Contemporary. The Atlanta Contemporary will also be the venue host, 535 Means St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

    Panelists include:

    Beg, Borrow and Steal: A discussion of the impact of technology on copyright, trademark, content reuse, and cultural appropriation in the digital age. 
    November 9, 2015, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
    Held at 7 Stages Theatre, 1105 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

    Panelists include:

    “Advanced Social Media” TechsmARTs discussion from 2012

    Click here for more information or to RSVP for these upcoming dates!

    TechsmARTs: On Google Hangout

    Google HangoutFor our most recent TechsmARTs session we had a great discussion on using Google Hangout for audience engagement and artistic development. We also discussed many of the nuances of effective use of Hangout.

    Google Hangout began as a feature of Google Plus and has now essentially become a pretty massive Google product of its own, with a list of features that continues to grow.

    Following the discussion, I updated the presentation and included speaker notes based on the many questions and responses that popped up throughout.

    Download the presentation with speaker notes here.

    As with any piece of technology, the key to mastering the technology is to make use of it. But in the meantime, as a bonus, here’s a great guide on building a Google Hangout Audience.

    TechsmARTs: On Going Mobile

    This past Monday we hosted our latest TechsmARTs session. The topic: going mobile:

    The jury is in: More audiences are browsing the web, checking email, and making transactions through their smart phones. Has your organization made the shift? What’s your mobile strategy?

    For this month’s TechsmARTs we’ll discuss the questions to consider before jumping on the mobile bandwagon. Is it worth developing a mobile app, or is it better to just have a mobile-responsive website? What options are available to make your mobile presence accessible to your audiences?

    Maris Smith, Director of Interactive Services at The Marketing Division, offered a ton of great information on this important topic. Among the takeaways:

    • Top three challenges to building a mobile presence: keeping the budget and timeline appropriate, finding the key decision-makers who can keep the project moving, and getting the right feedback from patrons to inform your efforts.
    • If your website is not mobile-friendly in any way today and you have no budget, a quick-and-dirty fix is to build a mobile-friendly page somewhere on your site that houses key information that mobile users might look for.
    • Be clear about your goals from the very start of your project. Otherwise you may either have a nearly useless mobile presence, or you may never be able to launch.
    • Take some time to figure out what your desktop users view on your website vs what your mobile users view. If you use Google Analytics, you can track exactly this type of behavior.

    Many thanks to Maris for offering her time and expertise on this important topic! Remember to take a look today at the Broadway Across America web presence, and look at it again in a few weeks to see the changes.

    Below, you can find an audio recording of the day’s session.

    Google Analytics: What you need to know

    It’s pretty much a given these days that if you’re an artist or an arts organization, you’re expected to have a web site. And so long as you have a web site, it’s good to know how many people are visiting. Many web hosts offer a basic tool for this type of measurement with their hosting plans, like Webalizer or Awstats.

    But for a full, detailed analysis of website traffic, many people install Google Analytics and then wonder what to do with it.

    On October 9, we welcomed Tomer Tishgarten and Asia Matos of Arke Systems to the FUSE Arts Center to speak on the subject of how artists can use Google Analytics. Tomer and Asia offered a wealth of practical knowledge on some of the many insights Google Analytics can offer.

    Those who attended our previous TechsmARTs session with John Saddington may remember his big advice about publishing a blog: hit the publish button. Publish regularly. What you get out of that: more readership and more opportunities. But once you’re at the point of publishing and you have Google Analytics set up, what then? What wisdom can you gain?

    Asia and Tomer’s presentation focused on ten things that artists need to know about Google Analytics. You may think of Analytics as a tool you can use to see how much traffic you are getting to your site, but there is much more to it than that. It’s a powerful tool that helps you understand how people use your site, which may not be how you think (or want) people to use your site…

    … Or who is using your site. For example, you may begin a campaign to increase traffic to your site, but realize that the new traffic you generate all comes from other states. If your work is focused here in Atlanta, a positive result is not necessarily a good result.

    You may get a fair amount of your traffic through social media sites. But how much do you get from each site, and how long does an average visit to your site last? Thanks to Analytics, we were able to find out that while we typically get more visitors through Facebook, the visitors who come to us through Twitter tend to stay longer.

    In the end, Google Analytics is a great rabbit hole treasure trove of information related to the traffic that comes through your website. In addition to viewing Tomer and Asia’s presentation, you can also learn more through Google’s Analytics Academy and the Google Analytics Channel on YouTube.

    Joe’s tip: Whatever you decide to do, always remember not to get overwhelmed by what you see, or by the possibilities of what Google Analytics can offer to you. Your first task would be to install Analytics on your site. If you use WordPress, you will likely have many options for installing — none of them are the “best” or the “wrong” option — but it’s always good to start simple. Focus on one thing at a time, experiment, and go to town learning new things about how the people who visit your website use it.

    Crowdfunding: The Next Evolution in Small Business Finance

    Crowdfunding is now just about old news for many creative businesses: artists, software outfits, game designers, musicians, and many more. Crowdfunding platforms offer new ways to fund many types of projects. Crowdfunding is now, in aggregate, a multi-billion dollar source of funding for creative projects of all kinds.

    Early Years of Crowdfunding: Pass the Hat
    Early Years of Crowdfunding: Pass the Hat

    This past Monday, Susan Billeaud was our featured guest for TechsmARTs. Susan is a small business attorney who has been following recent changes in public policy regarding crowdfunding. From her presentation, we heard estimates that in 2013 alone, crowdfunding will raise somewhere between $3 billion and $5.1 billion. (You can find the audio recording of this presentation at the bottom of this post.)

    But what are these public policy changes that are coming? Will they bring more opportunity for artists to raise funds for projects?

    Last year, a new law went into effect, called the JOBS Act, or “Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act.” The act enables new regulations that will give entrepreneurs the ability to offer equity stakes to investors in crowdfunding campaigns. If you have a for-profit project (or company) that you want to launch in the “traditional” crowdfunding scenario, you might offer trinkets or even copies of your work or limited edition souveniers to people who give to the campaign. But with the new regulations you will be able to offer, instead, ownership stakes in the company. If the project is successful and the company is profitable, the profits are then distributed back to the investors.

    Crowdfunding Today: Gifts or Merchandise in Exchange for Funding
    Crowdfunding Today: Gifts or Merchandise in Exchange for Funding

    Before you jump up and down for the great news, there’s one big caveat. Once a law is passed, the regulatory agencies have to take their time to catch up. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — better to have a policy apparatus than chaos. The Securities and Exchange Commission is still gathering public comments on how to structure the rules that will govern equity crowdfunding.

    In the meantime, Susan also presented an alternative. If your company is based in Georgia, and all of your investors are residents of Georgia, and your operations are in Georgia, and… see a pattern here? If all these things are in Georgia, there’s no need to wait for federal rules to take effect. The State of Georgia has what is called the Invest Georgia Exemption available for this very scenario. So you’ve gathered a large group of small investors — all of them Georgia residents — for your project, or your art studio, or some for-profit venture. Hire yourself a decent attorney and get a little help in filing Form GA-1 to qualify for an exemption from many of the rules that would normally govern companies looking for investors.

    Susan’s presentation included more detailed information about these rules — both at the federal and state levels — and what sorts of opportunities these provide.

    Crowdfunding Tomorrow: Equity in Exchange for Funding
    Crowdfunding Tomorrow: Equity in Exchange for Funding

    This topic is somewhat of a departure from many of our previous TechsmARTs discussions. But with technology having enabled the spread of crowdfunding, I felt this was still a relevant topic. And I believe it helps to know this new tool is available. I would be interested to know of any artists who take advantage of this opportunity.

    The essential scenario is this: You have a big project that you would like to get funded. You have a revenue model in place and projections to show that this project will be profitable. So you want to ask a lot of people to invest a little bit of money each. In return, you offer them an equity stake in the project. When the profits come in, they’re distributed back to the investors. What sorts of arts businesses might be interested in this sort of opportunity?

    Federal vs Georgia Regulations on Crowdfunding (follow along with the audio)
    Federal vs Georgia Regulations on Crowdfunding (follow along with the audio)

    TechsmARTs Presentation Notes – Using Twitter

    A HUGE thank you to Stuart Shapiro from Binders Arts Supplies & Frames for putting together and presenting at our last TechsmARTs event. Stuart did a great job of moving from basic to more advanced information about using Twitter. Included in this post is Stuarts presentation. View it & use it!

    TechsmARTS – Using Twitter by Stuart Shapiro


    Arts Spotlight: Stuart Shapiro

    Art runs in the Family…

    I got the chance to interview Stuart Shapiro, the sales/social media manager for BINDERS, the oldest family owned art business in Atlanta.  BINDERS offers many valuable resources for artist in the community.  On December 5, Stuart will conduct a TechsmART workshop focusing around social media and twitter engagement for artists.  The workshop will take place on December 5, 2012 at 11am at C4 Atlanta Arts Entrepreneurship Center, 115 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Atlanta, GA 30303.  For more information about the workshop visit Below are some thoughts from Stuart about BINDERS, social media, and the arts community in Atlanta.

    1)      Tell me a little about BINDERS.  What’s the purpose of the company? What does Binders art supplies have to offer local artists?

    Stuart is third generation family to be working in the business; he grew up working and interacting with BINDERS company.  Currently, he serves as the sales/social media manager for the company.  BINDERS got its start in the 1950s when brothers Moe and Joe Krinsky, known for the successful beer joint in the Highlands, bought the little BINDERS gift store. Now, BINDERS is the oldest family owned art business in Atlanta. The mission of the company is to promote creative connections throughout the community.

    1. You will be conducting a TextsmART workshop, how can social media and technology help artists?

    Social media is a great way to start a conversation, promote a brand, and exude an image. It’s a great way to connect with potential clients and build important relationships.  You can connect with people you have something in common with, which helps promote your business. The workshop will focus on how to use social media to benefit the artist’s image and mission statement.

    1. How can artists use Twitter to enhance their business?

    Twitter is a great way to promote daily interaction and to have general conversations.  Using 140 characters, it is easy to “cut the fat” and provide a clear and concise message.

    1. What sort of educational opportunities does BINDERS have to offer?

    Part of the BINDERS mission is to promote art education throughout the community, and this is accomplished through the BINDERS art school.  The school offers a well rounded course offering and encourages collaboration in the art world.  In addition, BINDERS hopes to promote the business aspect of art and help artist understand what their core values are.  With a strong business and value understanding, BINDERS hopes to push artists forward in the arts economy.

    1. How do you see “the arts” helping Atlanta?

    The art scene in Atlanta is a unique situation.  There isn’t a central art district; however there are different art communities in every neighborhood.  Each community is unique with different clientele.  This allows artist to cater to different markets and branch out to different audiences.

    1. What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?

    Stuart plans to stay in Atlanta and continue to work with the family business.  He hopes to continue to shape the art community here in Atlanta by promoting community outreach.  He hopes Atlanta will have a thriving art economy and people will come to Atlanta to create, inspire, and buy art.  To learn more about BINDERS please visit

    Google AdWords for Artists

    A few weeks ago we held a pop-up workshop on Google AdWords. How can artists and nonprofit arts organizations take advantage of this tool for advertising or other purposes? Today companies like Google offer marketing tools to small businesses that were once the domain of much larger companies. That’s the good news.

    The challenge for an artist or small nonprofit comes with learning how to use these sorts of tools. It can be difficult to truly appreciate the benefits of target marketing without having experienced those benefits. It can be even more difficult to appreciate the value of any kind of promotions other than simple broadcast emails if you’re not measuring the return on the investment you make on advertising.

    Sample of a C4 Atlanta Google Ad
    Sample C4 Google Ad

    Mark Perloe put a lot of time toward using Google AdWords to promote his fertility treatment practice. He also put his skills to use to benefit the Essential Theatre New Play Festival, where he serves on the board.

    Thanks to Google for Nonprofits, nonprofit organizations can receive a “Google Grant” of credits toward AdWord listings. AdWords can be targeted toward keyword searches and geographic locations.

    AdWords also has many options to evaluate and enhance the effectiveness of campaigns. You can tie your AdWords account with your Google Analytics account. To go further, you can also track how often ads lead to conversions.

    The most important part of using Google AdWords is in getting started. Mark demonstrated a lot of tools available for artists and nonprofit organizations. Getting started is simple, but the bigger benefits come for those willing to spend some time experimenting and measuring the success of campaigns. You can begin with a simple AdWords campaign and gradually build on the remaining components.

    Download Mark’s Presentation

    Many thanks to Mark for sharing his experience and expertise!

    Cloud Computing

    At the most recent TechsmARTs gathering, we discussed cloud computing and how arts organizations can take advantage of cloud services to reduce costs and increase organizational efficiency. What types of services offer the biggest bang for the buck? What is a good approach to moving to the cloud?

    Corner of building and puffy clouds
    Corner of building and puffy clouds / Joe Winter
    The layman’s definition of cloud computing given at the discussion referred to any IT services that are not handled in-house. Most of these services are provided over the internet. One survey, conducted by Technology in the Arts back in January 2011, provided documentary evidence of the challenges many arts organizations face in managing their technology resources. Most notably, 45% of organizations with budgets over $5 million have four or more full-time IT employees. But all other organizations (those with budgets under $5 million) are far less likely to even have a single IT employee.

    Considering the lack of IT staff in the arts, it makes sense for organizations to avoid having to own and maintain a server on-site. When there’s a server on-site, it’s not unusual to have to rely on a tech-savvy board member or staff person, or an IT consultant (who may or may not always be available) to come to the rescue when the server goes down. Some cloud services can seem a little pricey, but managing and maintaining a server on-site is even more expensive, and exposes the organization to extraordinary risks if there are no off-site data backups.

    Some of the generic cloud services mentioned at the June TechsmARTs gathering include:

    We also discussed cloud services that are specifically designed for arts organizations. ArtsReady, helps organizations in continuity planning. And there are now several ticketing services that are available as a cloud service.

    At the end of the discussion, participants wanted to have more time to have a discussion about these and other cloud services. For the next TechsmARTs, we’ll have a roundtable discussion as a continuation of our June session. But this time, there will be no featured speakers and the discussion won’t be recorded. We’d like to hear from you what sorts of services you are using, and your impressions of services you’ve tried out. I’ll also share my screen with everyone so we can check out some of the options that are out there.

    We’ll meet at the Warhorse Cafe coffee shop at the Goat Farm at noon on Wednesday, August 29. Coffee and other beverages will be available. We look forward to seeing you then!

    RSVP for the next TechsmARTs