The Art of Online Portraiture

My dad saved me this article on “The Art of Online Portraiture” in social media from the Wall Street Journal the other day. He clipped it out and sent it with my sister when she came to visit last Thursday. Do you realize that in fifty years no one will ever think of clipping something out of the newspaper? That perhaps there won’t be newspapers at all??

Anyway, this article (which you can read here in the Wall Street Journal online) is about how important your photos are to your social media presence. Especially when using social media professionally as we all ought to. The right picture strikes the right one, the article advises.

I read through it bragging inwardly about how awesome and professional my photo is. Even if it doesn’t capture me in action working at the computer or walking down the street as the article suggests one ought. I recognized that was pretty good advice, but still was feeling mighty good about this shot littering the internet:

And then I remembered how just last week I sent professional messages to potential attendees of my E-commerce seminar from my Facebook account.

With this as my profile pic:

Dammit. No wonder they didn’t come.

Tupperware and Social Media

My friend Jigar sent over this New York Times story about Tupperware’s new campaign to better use social media.

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the Tupperware scheme, but let’s review. Tupperware does not spend money on traditional marketing campaigns. Instead they build a workforce of women who sell Tupperware by convincing friends and strangers to host Tupperware parties.

I love Tupperware, and I use it every day. I started selling it because I recognized how great of a product it was. I never sold that much of it because it comes with a very high price tag.

For whatever reason (and I have my theories) Tupperware is an investment. You invest in quality, and the fact that it’s going to be around forever and you can get replacement lids and yadda yadda. But you have to have that cash upfront to commit, and a lot of people just don’t have that. Especially a lot of my friends who are primarily still barely post college. (What’s that? I’m 7 years out?? It feels like yesterday.)

So I didn’t sell much, but I have continued trying to convince my friends and loved ones to make the investment because it’s worth it. I’ve had daydreams for years about making fun Tupperware commercials on Youtube and selling products that way. My sister and I embarked on this scheme back in 2006 before I read Tupperware’s Internet Terms and Conditions. Continue Reading

Oh the joy Twitter can bring!

I was just super stoked to check my email and find that somehow, somewhere, during the night Thaao Phenglis followed me (ME!) on Twitter.

This is the man who played Tony and Andre (often in the same scene) on Days of Our Lives. I loved his elegance, his mystery, and his perfect combination of good and evil. The sexy accent was an added plus.

When Tony and estranged brother John Black made up underneath a sinking ship it changed my life. No longer did I fight with my little sister over things so dumb as who’s turn it was to do the dishes. If Tony and John Black can be on good terms, so can me and my sister!

Who enters a room on a horse! Tony does! And Thaao too, obviously.

That’s a fact. Continue Reading

Goodbye Friendster

I join the Internet in mourning Friendster this week as the news propagates that Friendster will be taking down user’s photos, blogs and more as of May 31.

Friendster was the first social networking site I joined, and my profile remains a perfect glimpse into 2006 Jennifer.

Lucky for me–and for you–Friendster is allowing us to export our profiles via the Friendster Exporter app.

Also lucky for me–and for you–I have a website where I can store this little bit of nostalgia for the rest of time. So check out my 2006 Friendster profile. Laugh at my brilliant About Me: Continue Reading

How many twitters are too many twitters?

I started out with one twitter account: @jennifer_heller. I think I’ve had it for a little over two years and it’s only within the past year that I’ve started enjoying using it at all. I’ve heard others share a similar experience: it takes some time, but it’s addictive as hell once you get into it. I can attest to that, but as someone balancing many competing priorities, it’s hard to prioritize reading hundreds of tweets a day. Especially since I’ve steadily added other twitter accounts to my list.

When I launched Van Gogh My Pet in the second half of 2009, I added a second twitter account: @vangoghmypet. This one, I thought, would concentrate on my pet and art related thoughts and would attract a different variety of people than @jennifer_heller. It seems to work; @vangoghmypet is on 42 pet and art related lists and my followers have steadily grown.

This graph of Van Gogh My Pet tweets verses website visits suggest that the tweets have very little if not nothing to do with increasing visits.

When I decided to brand my design and communications work as Artsy Geek Designs, it was a natural progression to add another twitter: @artsygeekdesign. Here I would tweet about my geeky subjects–web design, coding, communications. And maybe some art. Hey, @artsygeekdesign and @vangoghmypet can overlap a little right?? A further reason for separating @artsygeekdesign from @jennifer_heller is that I fully intend to expand and work with others in this business. They should be able to tweet from the business too!

I made the decision a few weeks ago to consolidate all my blogging here at Believe me, I do not miss maintaining a blog at Van Gogh My Pet, and I can say with 100% certainty that I am not sorry I didn’t add yet another blog on at Artsy Geek Designs.

This January, Will and I are launching Lushes in Love, our new blog devoted to our endless love and appreciation for cocktails. You can check out the design–I put it up over the weekend, but we have yet to move in. I’ve already signed us up for a twitter: @lushesinlove and tweeted something like five high quality tweets. Thankfully, Will will also have to help with the @lushesinlove tweeting, but this addition marks my fourth twitter!

Who wants to follow a long-ass stream of nothing but links? Do you??

And all of a sudden I’m asking myself…to what end? Sure I like Twitter okay, but I don’t looooove it the way I love knitting, web design and painting. I love people, but most of the time I feel like Twitter is just filled with robots endlessly sending their links out hoping for clicks. Sometimes I worry that to the other twitter users, I’m just another four Twitter accounts doing the same thing. Indeed a quick googling found this post that proposes that robots do better on Twitter than humans!

Perhaps it would be best to take a cue from my decision to simplify my blogging and simplify my twitter? One twitter, four subjects… perhaps that would make me a more interesting person to follow in general?

Perhaps I should embrace the robotic future of twitter and create automated twitter robots for all four… That just isn’t my style though. I believe in sincere, honest communication. When I notice that someone I follow is being a twitter-bot, I immediately unfollow.

So what to do? Nothing? Consolidate? Automate?

Oh, the problems associated with living a life on the internet. I’d appreciate any sound advice please!!

(This post could also be titled “How many Facebook pages are too many Facebook pages?”)


In lifecoaching yesterday we talked about my need for everything to be completed. This is a need I have been battling since I left my job last May. My head is overun with get rich quick (slow) schemes and creative projects. Yet, it took me six and a half months to get Van Gogh My Pet to a point where I was confident sending it out to friends and family, and promoting it on Facebook. I have yet to get in to Twitter–to my detriment, I’m sure.

When I look at my blog, I see the undone entries. The ones I thought of, and wrote myself a note, but was too busy or indisposed to write right then. I assume that some day I will go back and the inspiration is in the note. Sometimes I look at the note and I haven’t the foggiest idea what it meant. Then I chuckle…Lost inspiration either makes me chuckle or spiral into a listless depression.

I had spent 6 and a half–nay, eight or nine months–planning for and working on Van Gogh My Pet. I spent the last two weeks frantically putting the pieces I had so long thought about together. My friends would say–what is left to do? It looks beautiful! And to me, it looked a wreck. This frantic work has left me with a hole in my life, just as Mad Men had a few weeks earlier when I had finished season three. And I realized that if I hadn’t had to work so frantically, not only would I would have been happier and more relaxed, but I would have been building enthusiasm with fans as it happened. The day two weeks ago I finally got my movie on the internet, I wanted to e-scream, I DID IT!! I FIGURED OUT HOW TO DO THIS! DON’T YOU LOVE IT? and I stopped myself. Van Gogh My Pet wasn’t worthy of anyone’s attention. I hadn’t worked hard enough to make it so.

I am beginning to come to terms with letting these works in progress–or wrecks, as I see them–be works in progress in the public eye and letting someone or no one or the world watch as it comes together. I say to myself, I want to be an internet celebrity. I want to share my life with the world. But when it comes to the day to day, I tend to shirk from engagement with the world.

I hope that today, November 16th, 2009, is the day when I can begin to share with the world my internet persona, this blog and, Van Gogh My Pet, Tupperware Sisters, and so many dormant others–wrecks though they might be.