I Won An iPad! iHappy.

I guess it pays to use Twitter.

This past June I attended the third annual Creative Freelancer Conference. I rave about it often. It’s a must-attend event for anyone who makes a living as a freelancer in the arts (illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, etc.) This year to promote the conference the organizers ran a contest: Whoever could get the most people to sign up for the conference via Twitter would win an iPad plus free registration to next year’s conference. I’m a big fan of the conference and I happily promote it every year anyway, but this year I decided that just for fun I’d plug it a bit more than usual (while giving full disclosure that I was taking part in the contest.)

Then the conference came and went, I had a great time, and I pretty much forgot about the contest.

Last week the conference people called to tell me I had won! They were very apologetic. In all the craziness of organizing the event they just now realized they never got around to announcing the winner. I would imagine it takes an enormous amount of time and energy to put together an entire conference and then to clean up after the dust has settled so I can’t say that I blame them. Besides, its hard to look a gift iPad in the mouth.

As an extra bonus, we got the phone call on my wife’s birthday and it arrived on our anniversary, just in time for us to take it with us on an out of town trip.

Not too long ago I wrote a blog post explaining why I had decided not to buy an iPad. In a nutshell, while the iPad is an amazing device for me it didn’t fall into the category of a “must-have” (unlike my iPhone or my laptop). Now that I’ve had a couple of days to play with an iPad I may reconsider. Too early to tell but you might see an iPad review popping up on this blog in the near future

In the mean time I want to say a big “thank you” to everyone who signed up for the conference as a result of my two cents here and there. I hope you got as much out of it as  I did.

The next Creative Freelancer Conference will be June 23-24, 2011 in Chicago. The conference is designed to help educate, encourage, and inspire artistic freelancers in all things business; to help them work smarter, get better clients, and as a result boost their income. If you are creative and self-employed this conference is a must.

If you want to get a taste you can purchase mp3s of the 2009 conference to listen to at your leisure.

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Live Tweeting from the Creative Freelancer Conference

I’ll be among several attendees live tweeting from the Creative Freelancer Conference this weekend (June 5-6). To follow the feed just search Twitter for hashtag #CFConf.

Afterward I’ll be attending the Licensing Expo June 7-10 and will be likely be posting a few tweets from there as well. So far I haven’t found an official hashtag for the Expo. If anyone knows of one please leave a comment.

You can follow me on Twitter @cedrichohnstadt.

Live Tweeting From The Creative Freelancer Conference

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Wed.-Fri. of this week (Aug. 26-28) I’ll be in San Diego attending the second annual Creative Freelancer Conference. The conference organizers are encouraging attendees to tweet live from the conference using the hashtag #CFConf. I plan to do a bit of tweeting but mostly I’ll be furiously taking notes during the presentations. I’m sure other attendees will be tweeting as well, some with great frequency. Just do a Twitter search for “#CFConf” to keep up on everyone’s latest tweets from the conference.

Incidentally, if you want to follow me on Twitter my username is “cedrichohnstadt“.

This and That

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s a few misc. items of interest I’ve stumbled upon recently. If you follow me on Twitter you’ve likely seen them all already, but since many of you don’t here they are:

8 Ways Twitter can help grow your freelance business. I used to dismiss Twitter as a massive waste of time used primarily by members of the Cult of the Self-Absorbed. I’ve done a total 180. In fact, I’m now ready to admit publicly that I’m addicted to Twitter, checking it several times a day. I primarily follow other artists on Twitter making it a sort of virtual water cooler where I can hang out and chat with other freelancers like me. For me Twitter is a fun middle ground between Facebook and blogging. This article sums up some of the many benefits of Twitter.

I Yam What I Yam (But Not For Long). It appears the character of Popeye is about to lose his legal spinach: the rights to the character are about to expire. As I understand it, the various comic strips and cartoons in which Popeye has appeared are still fully protected by copyright but Popeye himself is about to enter into the public domain. That would mean that anyone will be able to legally do anything they want with Popeye. He could shill products, be printed on t-shirts, even endorse a presidential candidate, and no one would have to pay Popeye’s owners a dime for the privilege. I would never underestimate the power of a team of high-priced lawyers to somehow stop this from happening, but things are moving in that direction.

Facebook vs. Twittter: Which sends more traffic to your website? Facebook and Twitter can both be leveredged to point potential clients your way, but Facebook appears to be the clear winner between the two. At leaset according to this article, which also lists some helpful tips for making the most of your exposure on both.

Bristol Paper, Canvas, iPhone. Artist Stef Kardos has been using his iPhone to create sketches and paintings (thanks to a nifty piece of software called Brushes). It’s pretty amazing stuff.

This And That

Thanks to everyone who posted comments about Twitter. They were very helpful. I’ve been playing around with Twitter a bit more and I’m really starting to like it. If you use Twitter you can follow me at http://www.twitter.com/cedricstudio.

I want to give a hearty “Congrats!” to two friends of mine, both fellow Minneapolis artists. Sherwin Schwartzrock recently submitted several of samples of his logo work to the publishers of Logo Lounge 5. Not only did he get in, but 38 of his logos were selected for publication! Another friend, Kelly McNutt, has been doing animation work for Jantze studios. Two of their animated shorts recently snagged four silver awards from the 2008 Create Awards. Way to go guys!

In other local news, Animated! is an Animation Film Festival featuring short films by Minneapolis animators (both student and professional). If you live near the Twin Cities mark your calendars for November 15. The event is sponsored by the Minnesota Museum of American Art. More info here.

Need a good laugh? Dave Barry is a Pulitzer-prize winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald and the author of several very funny books. I recently discovered that you can subscribe to his newspaper columns via RSS. Be prepared to chuckle and guffaw out loud.

(Groucho Marx with Dick Cavett)

I’m always looking for new and interesting stuff to listen to on my computer while I’m working on client projects. I recently picked up some DVD collections from The Dick Cavett Show, a late-night TV series from the 1970’s. I wasn’t even born yet when some of these episodes originally aired so I’m new to the Dick Cavett fan club. Sadly there’s nothing like it on TV anymore. Unlike modern talk shows there are no skits, stunts, or musical performances. Dick would just do a short monologue and then simply talk with his guests for ninety minutes—often just one guest for the entire time. And in most cases the guests were not there to plug a product, crack jokes, or shamelessly self-promote, they were there to carry on thoughtful and entertaining conversations. The guests are classy and the discussions are often fascinating. Dick Cavett Comic Legends (Amazon.com link) and Dick Cavett Hollywood Greats (Amazon.com link) features lengthy interviews with great celebrities such as Bill Cosby, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx, Orson Welles, George Burns, Alfred Hitchcock, Marlon Brando, Katherine Hepburn, and several others. Terrific stuff to play in the background while working.

Finally, I’ll be leaving town Thursday for the annual Toonfest event in Marceline, MO (Walt Disney’s hometown), where I’ll be hanging out with several members of the North Central Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society. So I may not be able to post much until next week.

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet?

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Twitter, the popular “social networking” tool that allows you to write brief one- or two-sentence updates about your life (called “tweets”) and then instantly broadcast them to your friends and colleagues. Some praise Twitter as a cutting-edge networking and marketing tool, while critics brush it off as a narcissistic time-waster. This article from BusinessWeek.com sums up both perspectives. Like most things, I suppose it all depends on how you use it.

One thing is for sure: Lots of people are growing addicted to Twitter.

I consider myself pretty tech-saavy and I don’t like the feeling that I’m missing out. So I decided to do a little research into Twitter. I downloaded a Twitter app for my iPhone and I was surprised to discover that I’ve been tweeting for months without even realizing it. Apparantly I somehow set up my blog to automatically “tweet” each new blog post, and then I completely forgot about it. (Here’s my Twitter page.)

I confess I’m unclear as to what makes Twitter so great and why I should use it. I find it hard to believe that most people would have that much interest in my day-to-day activities. To me Twitter seems like just an interesting novelty, but I don’t want to shrug it off prematurely. Maybe I’m missing something. So I’m appealing to you, my readers, to help me broaden my understanding.

Do you tweet? Why or why not? If so, do you use it primarily for business or to connect with friends? How has it helped you? Are there any rules for using (or abusing) Twitter? Please post a comment and share your thoughts. You can even post a link to your Twitter page if you’d like.