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Quitting Social Media : My thoughts as a watercolor artist about how I look at this scenario

Quitting Social Media : My thoughts as a watercolor artist about how I look at this scenario. My thoughts about posting on the social media in-spite of their demanding nature and why is it important for an artist like me.

Over the past few months, I have watched many artists quit some or the other social media platforms or move from one platform to another. Mostly, these are the creators who have been here for a very long time, maybe since the beginning when these kinds of platforms were rolled out, and have been posting for many years. They must have tried, failed, yet again tried, and then found success after learning from past failed attempts.

Many of them have more than two streams of income generated from their efforts and hard work by posting content on social media platforms

So then why are they quitting?

I watched quite a few videos of some creators on YouTube and, here are a few reasons:

  1. Burnout

  2. Platforms are very demanding to post trendy content

  3. The frustration of not getting views, subscribers, and followers in spite of posting regularly

  4. The race to know what is new in the market and produce content for the same by keeping aside other priorities of life

  5. Producing quality content yet not getting the reach

  6. Finding that getting success is harder as the competition has increased tenfold

  7. Staying relevant every day is becoming difficult as the pace of things happening around is much higher

  8. The stress of staying relevant, producing fresh and quality content

  9. There is no time for self-rejuvenation in this scenario, doubting oneself "Am I not good enough"

  10. Platforms and algorithms are not as rewarding as they previously used to be (mostly pre-covid time)

These are a few reasons I found common in those YouTube videos but the list will grow.

One of the meaningful videos about the topic by Easy Sunday Club speaks to the point about this issue alongwith sharing her personal journey. You can watch here.

In recent times, Instagram started pushing reels making content creators, and artists make videos. I learned that they have again started pushing posts, in other words, the algorithm changed!

So it was not simply posting a photo but now one had to learn to edit a video, add music make it as short as possible, and post on the gram. Then it rolled out another feature called threads (I have yet to join threads) and now it's the AI (artificial intelligence)

The artists are constantly complaining that their content is not getting enough reach as it used to be, their posts are not seen and so putting in hard work is frustrating leading to quite quitting the platform.

Some of them, then move to another platform thinking, that the story will not be the same. That platform will initially reward you and later maybe push you down.

Covid lockdown boosted the growth of many creators and artists who have been here for more than 7-8 years producing content. Suddenly many artists started to see that their content was getting viral. And so as the word is "viral" every other creator got this fever to create a Viral Content

Whatever I say or watch, this list will continue and so I want to come to the main point, My thoughts as a watercolor artist about how I look at this scenario

A quick background: I joined Instagram in the middle of the year 2020 (I know, very late), and YouTube in the year 2021, and I made my private Pinterest account into a business account during a similar time. So I joined the social media wave very late when the platforms had created gurus to teach artists like myself how to grow and find your voice here.

I started posting on Instagram, and Google, and YouTube's algorithm quickly sensed the fresher in the playground. Without asking for it, I started getting suggestions from Instagram gurus who promised skyrocket growth on the platform if I enrolled in their courses.

I even started receiving emails from the social media managers stating that my content is amazing but the profile is not seeing any growth. So they will help me by boosting it for 'x' amount.

With so much noise around, I am grateful to God that I did not invest in any of these promises because I always looked at Instagram as a grid portfolio (still a very unpopular opinion).

In the past, I have subscribed to numerous newsletters that gave a PDF of the Path to Success on Instagram for free. But then I saw that it was the same piece of information just put differently by different creators. So I unsubscribed to stop the incoming data and flooding my email inbox.

In this noise, thankfully I also found some artists who grew organically by posting almost every single day from a few months to a year.

Like mimimoo illustration. Mimi Purnell is a children's book illustrator and a content creator and I have been following her on Instagram ad YouTube since 2022. She has grown organically and she has documented her journey through her YouTube videos as well.

But the question was, why?

Why do I need to grow a following on my Instagram account or subscribers for my YouTube channel?

Answer: to monetize and to get projects (simple, no-brainers here!)

These answers gave me a bad FOMO (Fear of missing out)

So, I decided to post regularly, but I failed many times. I had tried everything, posting daily, making the grid look beautiful by posting three posts of the same theme, creating short reels, and much more.

So today, as when I write this blog, my Instagram account has around 640 followers and I have around 260 subscribers with 101 videos and watch hours less than 130 on my YouTube channel

What can I do as a small artist?

By looking at the above images, I can say that I am a tiny artist. Things related to social media are going to keep on ever-changing and yet I have to find my space here if I have to sustain.

Then I saw a very insightful interview of an illustrator Alicia Souza.

In her interview with Ravi Kaushik, titled "How Alicia Souza Turned Doodles into a Business Empire? The Unseen Struggles!! she mentioned that Instagram is one of her powerful marketing tools so to get business and stay disciplined with one habit, she posts daily on the gram

Watch the interview here

And to me, it made somewhat made sense. Even if I get frustrated with not seeing the results for my content as it should get, at the end of the day, what user-friendly free option do I have to show the world that I exist? And if the platform needs constant attention, then I will try my best to give it by posting regularly. This will make me write a goal in my journal which I can strive to achieve daily boosting my art skills and confidence. Also, I have a lot of room to play the type of content to post and see the results. Also posting regularly (not daily) was slowly showing an increased reach of the profile.

Lesson learned: I will do what is in my hands, create good art, and post. Getting followers, and reach is not in my hands. So I will do only what I can do, focus on what is in my control, and leave the rest that is not in my hands. So my goal is to post regularly and not to gain 'x' number of followers. No, that is not in my hands.

Instagram allows me to post photos of my completed art or progress photos of a particular piece of art, post videos of me making that art through reels, link my website, blog through my stories, and suggest many fantastic artists around creating beautiful art.

Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest allow me to post my art and help me build trust by providing a digital space. Even today if I am applying for a particular commission or a job, I have to put links to my social media channels so that the person sitting on that side of the table sees my work and the pressure doesn't come only on the concise portfolio.

Similarly, YouTube also helped me to learn video editing, a very new skill that otherwise I would have not even bothered to know, create videos that are 11 minutes long and so many other things

I believe one should always learn something new irrespective of age and these platforms are making me come out of my comfort zone, research, learn, and fail again making me stand up and try. I agree with the fact that these things affect mental health, but then one has to decide how much valuable asset of your life that is "time" you are going to give this kind of activities.

To conclude:

As a small artist, I do not have a performance marketing budget to spare and have to rely on these channels. I do not have a huge subscriber list for my newsletter also which will allow me to market my art independently

So as Dory learned a lesson from her parents in the movie, 'Finding Dory", I have to keep swimming till I reach the new coastline.

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