Dropping Social Media?

  • Heyas everyone, I'm considering my path going forward and would like some input.

    I'm finishing up a project I challenged myself to complete but afterwards i'm hoping to devote the majority of my time to following the Curriculum in the hopes of improving my art.

    My question is, should I take the classes and keep the social media, throwing up stuff I do during the courses and dealing with all the social media distractions that can occur.

    OR, delete all my accounts and go full dark art wise online, and treat the next year/2 years like i'm taking myself to college and get feedback from the forums here?

    My social media following is a fart in the wind so I don't feel it would be a big loss to delete them.

    Theoretically when I returned from the coursework into the realm of social media I would have that year/2 years of material to post and leverage as well.

    It's a big step but I realize what i'm doing now could be better, and i'm 50/50 on how I should proceed.

    Thanks for your time!

  • Moderator

    I think that is up to you. ADs love to see sketches/sketchbooks, it's like a peak into your mind. I was listening to Guiseppe interviewing someone and the AD saw just a single sketch of a little broccoli in underwear on IG, and the guy got picked up to make a whole book about it. It just struck them the right way. You never know who sees your social media, or what will really catch their attention.

    I personally love to see people as they grow, but if it is stressful or an absolute distraction, maybe cut it down to one site you post on, or none at all.

    Edit: THe book I'm talking about is "Vegetables wear underwear"

  • @CLCanadyArts I've considered maybe just a weekly post or scheduled posting over a week.

  • SVS OG

    Hey @Kevin-Cochran It's a smart move to stay off social media and focus on art forums. That way you interact with people in the most positive way possible and grow as an artist. Why distract yourself on social media if you can focus on actually learning. This forum is brilliant and worth focusing on. Art forums are a good middle ground between social media and complete black out.

  • I would definitely advise against removing your social media accounts. Instead, change your mindset towards and focus less on social media.
    Block in a certain time to post on your account(s), be it 5 minutes each day, once a week or just when you feel like posting to it.
    Two years is a long time and social media accounts grow steadily over time.
    50 followers now (I don’t know how many followers you have so I’m just using a random example) may be 409 people in 2 years. People that have watched you grow and evolve and have a connection with your work and journey.
    Starting fresh with new work in two years may sound appealing because the work is how you want it to be, but you’d miss the 409 followers from which you’d may just find your first sale 😊

    So I’d take the pressure off of it and focus on your art, while posting every now and then whenever you feel like sharing.
    It doesn’t need to be perfect and every post can one day be deleted, also in 2 years 😉

  • Pro

    @Kevin-Cochran I think it's never too early to build up a social media account, even while you're still learning. I wish I had started much earlier than I did. If social media is too distracting for you, there are ways around that. For instance, I just spent an hour scheduling 1 post per week for the next 2 months for my Instagram account (I use Buffer). I'm all set until the beginning of May and I'll only be checking my instagram accoutn a few minutes once or twice a week to catch up with messages, but that's it. That's a very small investment of time for keeping up a social media presence which can be extremely beneficial to an artist!

  • Moderator

    I think your answer depends on what you're using your social media for... Some folks actually want to use it as an opportunity to share their development and growth, others use it more for a record of finished pieces. How artists use Instagram, for example, is as varied as there are artists. Some keep it candid, others use it as a sort of portfolio.

    I think you need to ask yourself what is your relationship with social media now, and how you perceive using it in the future. You can always delete stuff and start fresh.

    Also, you have to take into account that social media is a self-serving platform, too. Their usefulness is now leaning heavily toward algorithms that are only effective if you put in more and more time on each platform. Instagram, for example, cares less about how many likes you give or get--it's now about how many comments are made by others on your own posts. Your reach is dependent upon investing time in staying online and commenting on others' posts to hopefully encourage reciprocation on your own. They are even experimenting with eliminating Likes altogether, and have done so already in a handful of markets. Facebook's reach is almost exclusively dependent upon purchasing "boosts"--even folks who are following you won't necessarily see your posts in their feed. The morass of Twitter is so vast that having a consistent posting and commenting presence on it doesn't necessarily result in followers or exposure.

    So you really have to figure out what social media means to you and how you want to wield it. Stepping back from it so you don't worry about bothering others with your "student-grade work" may only matter to those viewers who care about that sort of thing. Seeing an artist's journey and change is a key factor to others.

    It's true there are some art directors and such that surf social media to find aspiring talent. But the sea of platforms out there centered on exposing artwork (like ArtStation and Behance for example) is becoming more and more field/discipline specific which sorta curates things for them, making the necessity to surf various social media platforms less and less pertinent. More and more their capacity to find you is becoming less and less possible. It seems social media may be becoming less about open exposure of your work for discovery and more like a pointedly placed business card.

    Also, in two years, the entire landscape of Social Media can change. They always seem to reinvent themselves and shift around on a regular basis, with popularity and purpose in constant flux.

    So, whether you step back or not might not matter... If you're feeling too tethered to it, maybe the answer is to put it in its place. The only thing constant is change when it comes to Social Media anyway...

  • @NessIllustration definately a subject to put some deep thought on, i'll mull that over.

  • @Kevin-Cochran I think everyone's advice is really good. But I am struggling with the very same thing and I think the answer is basically, whatever you need to do to do your best work. There is a bit of performance anxiety connected to instagram for me, so at this point, I am considering going dark for a full year. I fully understand how social media benefits artists but I think what I need to grapple with is being productive and more sure of myself. I do not need all of those voices confusing me.

    I also found this just yesterday: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/04/t-magazine/artists-creativity-social-media.html

  • Moderator

    @carolinedrawing Wow, that was an awesomely powerful article. Thank-you for sharing it!! It really spoke to me!!!

  • @carolinedrawing Awesome article! thanks for that.

  • Moderator

    Well, I say cut back in social media except for one or two sites that you can devote a LITTLE bit of time to while you level up your art. I recently took Facebook and Twitter off my phone after listening to a recent 3 point podcast. I use Facebook as my blog post now which I do from my computer. And made a decision to not worry too much about how my IG feed looks. I used to curate it so that it looked pleasant when viewed as a whole grid but now I’m slapping stuff on without caring what it looks like next to the other art. I also cut back on my hashtags. And would you believe it, I’ve gained almost 100 more followers since New Years. I’m posting more on Instagram too which I think has helped with the algorithm. Keep a social site going while you work on your craft so the fans you gather in the meantime will be there when you are ready.

  • I can see what you mean and I struggle with this too but I think followers really like to see your journey. If you think it's too big a distraction then maybe it's a good idea. I try to spend very limited time now looking at other artist's accounts as this can leave you a bit deflated, in the comparison zone, but if you're not really bothered by that then I'd say carry on sharing and the more you share, the more people will follow. My instagram following has been massively slow to build but now I don't really care, I just share anywhere because I've found it makes me more accountable to myself - if that makes any sense. Good luck.

  • SVS OG

    I think it depends on how distracting social media is for you. I can certainly see the benefits, but also agree with the others that, if you can detach yourself from the results, keeping your accounts could be beneficial. I like the idea in the article (Great article, @carolinedrawing!) of the novelist who doesn't get online until well into the afternoon. That doesn't require deleting accounts, but does create a daily routine with personal head space.

    Personally, at least at this point, I use my IG way less for promoting myself and way more for following others. For the most part (I follow a few personal friends on IG as well), my FB is for friends and IG is for illustrators. I have discovered a lot of artists this way, and that has in turned helped me to learn about current illustration trends. That may change as I get ready to market, but it's just to say that if you can discipline yourself not to care much as you go low-key for a while, you can have the best of both worlds!

  • @carolinedrawing wow, brilliant article, thank you for sharing!

  • I'm thinking about social media and internet distractions too! Great to share in the struggle together on the forums. Yesterday was the 5th work day I completed with zero access to internet, and I also deleted Facebook messenger and Gmail from my phone. Those 3 steps helped immensely! I get to use those sites when I'm off work hours, but it's revolutionary - I'm finding I spend less time online even when I have access after work. I'm training my brain to focus on non-electronic life (exercise, time with friends, reading, basically using work breaks offline) because internet is gone when I'm working so suddenly I have ALL THIS TIME 🙂

    I also use the StayFocusd extension for Google Chrome browser, but of course lately haven't needed it because I took the nuclear option and got rid of internet during work hours. I do this by sending our wireless hot spot with my husband to his workplace so while he's gone, I have to either be doing art or taking offline breaks. Today I'm ordering art supplies and catching up with SVS so I'm using internet briefly then back to offline.

    But -
    Getting rid of internet or social media doesn't delete offline distractions, of course. Much of art success depends on the stuff we're made of as artists, to focus or not focus. Plus, life is unavoidable sometimes - I returned to my art table this morning to discover my cat had vomited all over yesterday's art practice papers and, ironically, a page in a library art book describing "how to draw grass realistically" 😧

  • SVS OG

    @Kevin-Cochran I’m doing the curriculum for SVS too. But if I post homework, I post it here. I keep my Instagram for pretty sketches and personal projects. I think if all I did was the homework, my brain would go crazy. I’m sure you probably won’t full stop all your art except class work either. But, that doesn’t mean you have to post everything you make to some social media site. I’ve thought about dropping mine too and restarting later, but for me it’s just a problem with perfectionism, so I’ll hold on to it.

  • SVS OG

    I sometimes go off instagram for a while, and even the forum, not because of the distraction but because of what it does to my feelings of art inadequacy. Most often, seeing everyone's work is wonderful and inspiring but every now and then it makes me feel like such a hack I want to give up. That's the time I deliberately get off social media and try to get back to just me and my drawing until I'm enjoying it again instead of feeling frustrated because I'm not as good as ...... [fill in the artists I follow here and on instagram.]

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