So it seems once again that we are freaking out about having to possibly leave twitter! This feels morbidly fitting given my blog post a couple months ago about being an artist and feeling extremely “online.” Like most big social media shifts, I’m never sure to what extent things will change or stay the same, but I do understand that it is significant! Currently, I don’t intend on deleting. At this time of posting you can still find me on my twitter @Tomato_bird, as well as on my tumblr. Still, all this pandemonium of the past week or so has given me some more pause in how I reach people online, and how social media has worked out for me!
Reviewing My Social Media
- I use Twitter for socializing. I’ve met many of my current friends through Twitter, and had many lively and diverting conversations about topic light and heavy. I am particularly drawn to the ephemeral quality of the site, which lends itself much more easily to fleeting, easygoing thoughts than on my blogs, where I feel obliged to write more thoughtfully. Still, it is a place to tread carefully, and on my main accounts I do not like to talk loosely. I have gotten a few commissions directly through Twitter DMs, and have been able to share my work there and have it be received well, but overall it is an ephemeral site built upon of shifting sands and tides; a place to frolic and do battle with friends and enemies, but a precarious place to build memorable things upon.
- I feel less attached to a general tumblr “community” than I do to my individual blog, which is something I’ve cultivated for over a decade now. I very much like the fact that posts have discoverability on other people’s blogs even after many years. Many of my comics and zines sold because they circulated on other peoples blogs and were easily accessible on my main page and because I included helpful links back. My comic work circa 2018 suited the medium of long, scrolling blogs, so that people could actually read my comics and appreciate them the way they were intended to be read. I can’t imagine something like GLORIA! getting the massive amount of traction it did on Tumblr also on Twitter, where images are subject to strict cropping and are subordinate to the text format. Because of this, even with the frustrating aspects like impossible in-site tag searchability, it’s the site where my comics tend to be received the best. I owe pretty much all of my growth as an artist and independent business on the people who have supported me through finding and appreciating my work through Tumblr, so it’s hard not to feel an affection.
- Instagram: It’s alright. I feel like we will never be friends. My friends and family are there so I like being connected but it continually feels incredibly hostile, format-wise. I like posting to it so I can have a place to show my work to people who don’t like Twitter or Tumblr, but it’s a very un-ideal place to display and engage with work in my opinion. Business-wise, I have gotten a few commissions and sales through people directly asking in the DMs, but it definitely is not the most optimized platform.
- Similar to Instagram. I actually did have a surge on my page back during the pandemic where I did end up answering a lot of DMs and doing commissions through them, but it was very brief and I don’t think it’s something I feel like chasing again. Facebook posting really feels like posting into the void, and posts are so inconvenient to find so it feels less effective to me.
In general, I’ve been thinking about focusing more on this site because much of the features I do like about Tumblr (search-ability, readability, good comics display) are things that I can implement here on my own. It’s been very slow going because transferring a lot of my comics is a bit tedious to me but it’s something I definitely want to set up. It doesn’t mean I’ll be taking them down from tumblr at all, but just that it’ll be nice to have more of a “home base” to direct people to my work that looks spiffy, where it doesn’t have to look overly cropped or surrounded by ads to suit the arbitrary proportions of a platform.
I feel pretty blessed that, in my interpersonal life, I feel very fulfilled by the small audience of friends and peers who I feel excited to share my art with. Of course I do enjoy watching my stats and likes/reblogs/retweets rise when I share something I’m proud of, and I am, as mentioned in previous posts, a Very Online Person. Still, I want to try and chase not just the numbers themselves, but try and figure out what I want that’s behind the numbers, what I want those numbers to mean TO me. Of course, I want people to connect personally with my work, and myself, and have thoughts about it! And of course, I also love when people buy my work and support me as well due to being able to actually see and discover my work. Those two things I feel can be helped by social media, but I want to try and remember that the social media is not the end goal.
This is all easier said than done, and I will certainly still continue to be very online person laughing about silly drama online. Still, moving forward I want to try and find ways to focus more on making stuff! I don’t know how much of my audience will stick around on either platform in the long run, and I do plan on learning more about streamlining various processes for business and organization, but ideally for me, the core of it will involve making Cool Good Work that I Love, and that I Hope Other People Will Love as well, and Meeting More Cool People, both online AND hopefully IRl/locally. This will be tricky since next year I do plan on working more or taking more classes, but as idealistic as it may be, this is what I want to be my center. I hope that by writing, I can create something of an emotional accountability to myself so I have strength to pursue practical solutions and such.
If you feel similarly, I’d love to hear your thoughts as well, and maybe we can support and encourage each other! I plan on posting some more of my thoughts in the future now that I have this.
2 thoughts on “Social Media, Art and Audience during the Great Twitter Exodus”
Your thoughts on theses platforms are very insightful. In a way, I am the opposite–the ephemeral nature of Twitter and similar sites finds no appeal to me. I’d rather my words and my actions have weight and meaning and be hardened into concrete; not thrown away into the relentless algorithmic feed within the next 15 hours.
It’s good that more people are finding solace in their own blogs and their own domains now. Perhaps we can still revive self-owned and self-hosted spaces again in the future; even just a little bit of it.
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Thanks so much for your thoughts! Yeah, I hate the ephemerality for
art and writing on Twitter/socmedia, since I work very hard on finding precise expressions for those and I want people to be able to find it and for it to have lasting impact. Otherwise I’m fine with my fleeting thoughts and momentary impressions being washed away like sand in the waves if the work I actually care about can be like rocks. Wishing you the best in your endeavors, and I hope to be able to follow more sites in the future and put my actions where my thoughts are!