I am torn about social media.
On one hand, it allows us to connect with thousands of other artists around the world. We have almost direct access to many of the brilliant minds in the art world who may have been otherwise undiscovered without social media.
On the other hand, social media can become almost an addiction to public approval. There is a high when many ‘like’ or ‘share’ your art but a much more powerful low when there is no reaction at all. It is this up-and-down emotional impact which can make social media so damaging, especially to an aspiring artist.
At the end of the day, as an artist you have one goal really. To create great art. Everything else should fall second to this.
Sure, social media does provide an amazing opportunity for exposure. However you need to think of it as a platform which can enhance and compliment you, rather than a platform which can make you a successful artist.
If you are an amazing artist, then social media is a fantastic opportunity for you. You can use it to reach millions around the world. This just was not an option before social media. Even the great artists of history would have had little reach compared to even the mildly successful artists of current day.
But do not make the mistake of thinking these artists are successful because of social media. They are successful artists who have used social media to enhance their reach.
So if you are just starting out with art, do not worry about how many people ‘like’ or ‘share’ your art. It does not matter in the early stages. If anything, it may just distract you from what is important.
Acceptance on social media is fleeting. There one moment, gone the next. You will have nothing to show for that very brief moment in the spotlight once the curtains close.
This is by no means a beat-down on social media.
In fact, after I finish this post I will share it on the various social media platforms which may gain me some more readers. But I think of it as an opportunity to reach those who would not otherwise be aware of me.
However, sharing what I write on social media would be completely pointless if I did not write high quality articles.
One thing I have noticed is some of the most talented artists have very little social media presence and a poor quality website. That is because they have prioritized learning before marketing themselves.
There are many products out there which claim to teach you how to sell your art. But the first rule of marketing is to have a great quality product to sell in the first place. As an artist, you need to focus on creating this great product (your paintings, your teaching workshops, your books, etc) and then focus on the marketing side of things through social media and the other platforms.
If you find yourself becoming fixated on achieving social media success at the expense of learning, then it may be time to take a break. You may be amazed at just how addicted you are to it.
You don’t need to do anything dramatic like deleting all your social media accounts. It could be as simple as just taking a break from posting. Then if you think it is needed, you can progress to not even checking on social media.
But don’t forget to share this post before you take that break!
Do you think social media is benefiting or holding you back as an aspiring artist? I would love to hear your thoughts below.