Over the last couple of days, I have had served up to me some videos around “You don’t need socials to get ahead as an artist”. Of course, once you start watching something YouTube starts serving up more to get you to keep watching. The main thrust of the creator’s viewpoint was that these platforms really don’t bring in business or benefits. I have been kind of aware of the fact that these platforms want us to create a never-ending supply of work to feed their algorithms. They aren’t doing it for our benefit. The sooner that we become aware and mindful of this the better.
In my mind, the origin of social media was a good intent. But it got hijacked on the way by the promise of unending wealth, for the platforms. There seems to be a slight shift away from this all-encompassing monolith to the days when the creator was supported to show their work. Take for example Zero. This has sprung up through the dissatisfaction of photographers on Instagram. The idea that the audience wants to see what particularly Instagram is trying to show has been misunderstood. Agendas of the tech giants have forgotten the reasons why the products that they have consumed were popular. On the whole one size fits all is not always the correct progress. I think that Insta’s desire to take on TikTok has left a hole in the space that people use to love and enjoy using. We are creatures of habit and on the whole do want or like change, particularly when it is forced on us.
As I am just starting out on this journey, I was being sucked into the belief that I needed all the socials in order to grow my business. Lets not shy away from the fact that it is a business. I doesn’t have to be the multi-million revenue generating monster many seem to equate business with. For me, I see my efforts being a small cottage industry that doesn’t need shareholders, SLAs, SOPs and mission statements. Just something that others get enjoyment from my enjoyment.
I felt particularly repelled against using Facebook and Instagram, having deleted my personal accounts years ago. But the pernicious nature got me doubting myself. I cracked and gave into the mass opinion I couldn’t achieve without it. But after about a week I realised that I really didn’t want to be there, and go against my moral ethics that I had expounded. As soon as it was started it was closed back down. I felt so much better and cleaner. It may be for others but it’s not for me.
Where does that leave me. Well for one I am concentrating on my own website. I am still learning here. There is so much to take in. But the fact that I have my own space is the number one benefit over all of these social media platforms. They can’t close or delete my account, hold me hostage in some way. And most importantly I have my own archive that I never need to worry about. It is more time consuming as I need to keep on top of the running of it. But for the moment I am not in a position to delegate to another entity. I am deliberately keeping my site as simple as possible so as to reduce the need for constant monitoring. I guess as some point there may be a need for more fancy schamancy functions like a shop window. But I think for the moment I am going to off shore those kind of things to places that specialise in that.
I am also trying to work out how I display my imagery on my blog. I am thinking that posting my daily doodles to the blog swamps it and so it needs to be in a separate space. As far as I can see the feed only really applies to the front page and that you don’t get the option to create multiple feeds. It’s probably my ignorance that is standing in the way of progress! For the moment I am going to use the stickmandiaries page to put them and I will add on a daily basis for a while to see how it pans out. I would love to hear any ideas though!
Finally I have kept using Twitter. I don’t engage in the murkier parts of it and really just view as a window onto other artists. I am not really pushing my self there as I struggle with the whole self promotion bit. But I really should do something more than I am. Does that go against all I am saying and the ethos you don’t need socials to get ahead. Well in my view the fact that I am at the bottom rung, of the ladder out of the depths of nowhere, I have to do something to encourage people to stop by.
One tangent to a all this is that I recently started a Procreate time-lapse doodle on Youtube and it has gone way beyond that I thought it might do. But it is a medium that is not meant to hold attention and although I am see reasonable numbers I have no idea if it is translating to anything else. But as Youtube is see and a form of social network and also in very recent news they have made it possible for people to be shown long form content from the #shorts it is a possiblity that I pick up some momentum from this. Time will tell. So for now I am keeping my socials to a minimum and just getting on with doing my doodles.
I have now cut back the amount of places I post to and I have also started the process of adding one and taking one. This means that the full archive will always on my own site and other limited places where contribution is made, but for the places I do post that are just looking for content I am restricting what could be grabbed from there. It feels much better not being at the whim of the tech giants and if artists could make a living before the internet, I’m sure I can to. Obviously with the added benefit of all the technology that is available.
So until next time..