Social Media for Artists or Not? / by J. Logan Carey

So Vero launched over the last week and artists from all walks have been clamoring to get on the app and start posting their work. Hell, even I joined it.

A chronological timeline! We're saved!

And maybe for the handful of top tier Instagram artists, this might help their exposure, but for the rest of us, I wouldn't get your hopes up.

Sadly, I think this is not going to be the savior everyone is hoping it will be. Social media isn't working for the vast hoards of artists out there, not because of algorithms, but because of people.

The truth is, social media is...disposable.

People breeze through it on the toilet or ignore it altogether. They post things on social media thinking everyone will be awed, but in reality, people just kind of want to look at their own posts.

I don't think this is evil or bad or anything. It just is what it is. Social media can be a useful tool for casting a line out into the world, but when you reel them in, you need to have some place for them to land that works for you, not for a company.

Services like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and now Vero are designed to get users to use their services, not dive deeply into your work.

People wonder why the profile sections of Instagram and Twitter are very limited...that's why. They don't people going off of their sites, they want them to stay right where they are so they can categorize them and monetize them.

The truth is, it's hard to build an audience for your work.

But that's exactly what you have to do. I think for anyone out there looking to have the world take their work seriously, you're going to have to carve out your own little area of the internet. This most commonly will look like creating your own website. Don't get scared. You can do this and you'll have to if you really want an audience for your work.

People will casually breeze through their social media feeds and hardly pay attention to anything unless it specifically has to do with them personally.

It's very...very hard to get someone's attention on these platforms.

That's whey everyone is having to pay to promote their posts to get any interaction at all. Most quality websites will have some cost associated with them. This can vary from reasonable to outrageous. But it's typically going to be worth what you put into it.

By putting your faith in people finding and appreciating your work on social media, you are placing all of your hopes in someone who is on their phone on a coffee break or something and just looking for a momentary distraction and not looking to become a true fan of your work. You also cannot control the method by which that platform will actually even show your work, as we are seeing with the rise of the ominous algorithm. Established, bonafide self-employed artists with huge followings are having difficulty on these platforms, imagine what those just starting out are competing against.

By creating your own website/portfolio site, you are creating a sectioned off corner of the internet where if someone enters, it means they actually are interested in your work. That's something you can work with.

Social media can be a valuable tool in your career, but you can't drive a tool to your destination.

You need an actual vehicle to do that and your own website is that vehicle.

Now, to be fair, we see stories of people who have full-blown artistic careers just posting their stuff on a "free" social media platform. Those people are the exception of the exception of the exception. They are also the people those platforms give the most attention because it creates the idea in our heads that we can all do it too and hence we all sign up and start posting like mad. But statistically, these people are a fluke. You shouldn't put your hard work into trying to become a fluke, you should put your hard work into your thing.

Now go and start building it already!