I was at a dinner the other night with a bunch of artists, most of them friends. It was the opening dinner at the home of the woman who runs the gallery where our friend is showing his work. During the course of dinner we got talking about searching online and googling. None of these folks has their own web sites. Galleries that show their work often post pictures. One man there related how when you search on his name one of the first entries is a less-than-glowing review of his work. And so I launched into a tirade about how they have to claim their own names as domains and set up websites and manage their online presences.
In some ways, I’m surprised I have to have this discussion with these folks. If anyone is Brand You, these artists are Brand You: they’ve spent their lives creating physical works of art (paintings, drawings, sculptures) that define them and their views of the world. What they haven’t figured out yet is that they’ve now got to get their brands on the web in a digital way so that their work/ideas can reach more people.
I told everyone they should go home and register their names. I pointed out that I get a couple of emails every year from someone wanting to buy erikhansen.com from me. (Not that I’ve done anything with my own domain name yet; I’m thinking about associating that domain with my blog, though.) But I was encouraged. One of the artists, a man I know better than some of the others there, said he was going to go home and check into it. I went home that evening, looked up his name and sent him an email telling him his name was still available as a .com. How lucky! In the morning I got an email back from him telling me he had registered his name. So, my work here is done. Now that I’ve gotten him to claim his name as a URL, I’m going to have to help him figure out what to do with it.