PERSPECTIVES : Does Social Media Help You Become a Better Artist?

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Welcome to another iteration of Perspectives. I count myself as incredibly fortunate in that I get to meet lots of different creative folks, who are very committed to their craft and growing as creatives. Some of them disconnect because they are not getting traction on social media and that's what I want to talk about today.

Social media is not a methodology for creative growth, it has become a business of eyeballs. This is shown by a substantial number of social media influencers with large followings who have no creative deliverables at all, yet regularly post about how creative they are and how you are not.

If your goal is to chase Likes, thumbs ups or get positive feedback, social media might work, or you may encounter the mass of people who spend hours a day on social media deriding others.

Have you ever found that the most vituperous comments come from people who use an alias instead of their real name? This is common practice as it allows for behaviour that would never be acceptable fact to face. By hiding behind this mask, the poster can be as large an asshat as he or she chooses. I was once told when noting that a particularly nasty troll was hiding behind an alias, that if the troll doxxed himself, it would not make an open conversation. This is bullshit of the highest order or course. Doxxing refers to posting negative and dangerous private information about an individual. Using your real name is not doxxing, so I discard the complaint and the veracity of the complainant for not knowing of what it speaks (another entity hiding behind an alias). Anyone who posts anything under an alias is a coward and lacks the strengths of his or her convictions to behave as an adult.

Whether you participate in social media or not, is up to you, but don't think for a minute that posting images or videos on social media is going to help you grow as an artist.

Growth is work. Work can often benefit from a good critique, and critiques must be conversations to have any real value. Work can benefit from a sharing with real peers, meaning people that you actually really know as individuals and whose own work has earned your respect over time.

"Nice picture" is not a critique. "You suck" isn't a critique either. Both can happen and both have no value whatsoever.

Whenever you suborn your own judgement to the thoughts of the masses, you voluntarily give up your own existence. This is a terrible sin to commit against yourself and if you do this, give your head a shake, go outside and contemplate existence, because you've lost your own sense of reality.

What another random entity tells you matters not a whit, like worrying about the state of some Kardashian or other pointless meatsack. The reason these things do not matter, is that they bring you no value.

Thus, believing that social media feedback is going to help you improve in your craft is also a mistake. The masses are idiots. Individuals do not have to be. In order to determine the validity of an individual's feedback, you need to know them. If you do not know them, how do you know that what they say has validity? Is it because someone else said so? What makes that other person's opinion valid for you?

Creative arts are not a service to mankind. They are not a community effort, and they are not raised by a village. Creative arts are the most intensely personal and individual efforts that there are. Copying is not creative. It might be a tool to learn a technique, but is no more creative than a photo of someone walkng away on a railway track or a sofa in a field. Those are cliches, and are as far from creative as one can get. 

Be yourself, do your work and be your own harshest critic. Foster relationships with other individuals and learn over time if you value their opinion. If these sound like personal initiatives and personal relationships you are right. 

If you think that feedback on social media from people you don't actually know in person is helping you, the odds are heavily against that being so and you are wasting your time, your mental energy and inviting roadblocks from people who have opinions, but opinions that are worthless to you.

Until next time, peace.