Explaining my social media failure.

Good evening, morning or night because the middle of the day sucks anyway.

Again I didn't post anything over here for way too long. Yes I have to admit, I lost my focus because of the whole Social media thing. That is why I have to say sorry to all of you. You only got a shattered random idea of things I was thinking or working on at that certain time. So let me talk a bit about what I am planning to do and how I am going to change things for me since I have a whole other opinion about this all than what is offered to you artists.

Listen to my wisdom people! Put on your helmet because it is going to be a bumpy ride.

What social media actually does.

You are not a user of Facebook and/or Instagram if you haven't noticed the new algorithm. Things are changing and not in a good way for the less popular artists among us.
I don't really know how the algorithm really works but globally it is like when you have a lot of following and likes and engagement you will stay on top since you "are relevant". I am writing that like this because it is the first lie we fell for since the biggest and most popular creatures on social media are not relevant at all. Common' the Kardashians...? Really?
So what does Facebook and such like? According to this website the following points are important:

  • Posts with lots of Likes, comments, and shares
  • Posts that receive a high volume of Likes, comments, or shares in a short time
  • Posts that are Liked, commented on, or shared by one’s friends
  • Link posts
  • Post types that one interacts with often
  • Post types that users seem to prefer more than others (e.g., photo, video, or status update)
  • Videos uploaded to Facebook that receive a large number of views or extended viewing duration
  • Posts that are timely or reference a trending topic
  • Posts from Pages that one interacts with often
  • Posts from Pages with complete profile information
  • Posts from Pages where the fan base overlaps with the fan base of other known high-quality pages
Source: https://blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-news-feed-algorithm

So that means you have to promote your post in an insane way but not with spamming it all over the place because that is something Facebook doesn't like. But you have to promote it in some way to get likes and a big following. Also as you can see it likes trending topics and it likes it when people keeps on commenting to a post and then I should give a reply to every fart and so on and so forth.

I have to say, it is not bad to stimulate the interaction between people. You can reach them, no problem. They are your friends and you know them and maybe they moved to the other side of the country. Great way to interact! (You probably can't see all the things your friends post but that is ignored in this statement)
The problem for me is the fact that I have people in my friend list or followers on instagram who I don't know at all. They like my art and I like to share my art with them. I like to follow many bands I like to see what they are up to, same thing with some online radio stations as The Obelisk.net and so on and so forth. But now friends are posting things like a funny cat video or an opinion about alt right bullshit or a news article or they even like a picture of a friend they have and I don't even know about. I get to see that as well an why? Because it gets a lot of likes so it should be relevant to me? I don't know. Now I have to dig through hundreds of posts I don't care about to find two posts above each other I would like to click on. I click on the first one, discover it still was crap or uninteresting and click back. EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED! All the posts are in a different order and posts popped up I have never seen before and some of them are days old! conclusion: I am never going to find the second post I wanted to read or see ever again.

poster art for a live gig at Doornroosje in Nijmegen.
Copyright: CAVUMscriptorium

And before someone feels the urge to explain to me how this all works, don't. I don't want to know how it works because it is a shitload of work to tame this beast, I totally gave up about it and here is why.

I give up.

I couldn't find the second post ever again. I saw posts for the first time when I refreshed the page. I didn't see posts of friends in ages an then had to search for their profile to find out they were posting every day and I didn't see any of his or her posts! The same thing happens to all the friends in my list. only a very small group get to see my work and those are the people who already know my work or even have bought loads of it to support me (I am extremely thankful for that by the way! Cheers to the family Hoofdman!) So here you have the problem exposed. I can't reach all people with my work. 

Same things goes with Instagram when you look in the search thingy there are loads of pictures in there you don't care about. Fitgirls, instagram models, makeup tutorials, bad jokes and memes, and in my case some anime fan art and conceptart that is shared by everyone and keeps on popping up everywhere. So now I get to see the much liked "relevant" artwork and posts. But the fact that I get to see someone who printed her master thesis on her scarf as an amazing thing and is trending is just terrible. First of all she did that years ago and in some way it now is amazing news. Second of all I have seen text printed on all kinds of stuff, there is nothing special about this! Yes it is a cool idea of her to print it on a scarf to celebrate it but it is not something that is going to change the world. But somehow this is a good thing.
Okay the person above actually did something. But(t) now the thing that is even more toxic. Fitgirls and instagram models. I don't know about you but I don't care about seeing butts everywhere. Well I say I don't know about you but I DO know about you since many of you follow persons like this. Fitgirls and instagram models who pose in skimpy clothes and gets millions of likes. This is just stupid shit horny kids like. The idea of the algorithms was to show you all "relevant" things. But you all made AN ASS relevant! Cats with a funny looking face are RELEVANT! And there are artistic girls who know all of this so the result of this is them in skimpy clothes in a forest with full focus on there AAASSSSSS who are painting. No you are not showing talent you are getting likes for your looks, not talent.
And then you have the anime illustration, bright, colorful and happy trend. That gets a lot of views and likes and shit like that but in fact it is all the same. I am not hating on anything because they get more views, likes or following on social media than me because yes, I fail at everything on the level of social media use but that is something I am coming back to later on in this article. I am criticizing the vibes that are going on in this world of trends and shouting that is destroying a lot of quality because of showing asses and following hyped badly drawn shit.

Bad influences on me (and maybe you) as an artist!

Bad influence on your artistic identity

So okay now I have touched the surface of what is wrong with all the social media and my conclusion is that I can't reach my audience. But this is not the main reason I am leaving these platforms on a professional level. The main reason for me is it takes loads of time and it wants to force me to draw things I don't want. Social media shows you certain pictures all the time who get many likes and without you knowing you are trying to move towards that type of artwork or style. Not because  you like it that much but because you see it so many times and it is a succes among the hip teen users.

Bad influence on your day

I was listening to an interview from Schoolism.com/Bobby Chiu with the artist Loish. She does a great job working with social media and yes she has the popular style of anime cuteness with bright colors. I am not criticizing her on this since this is something she really developed by herself and it works just fine. As an artist I see the tricks that worked great to make a good communicating piece. I do have a problem with all of the artists who discovered this too and blindly copied this and became poor imitations of what she does.
But anyhow, she does a great job on social media, had a successful kickstarter project because of her following on social media and she knows her style works well for the audience on these platforms.

Video of the mentioned interview.

The thing that really made me crap my pants of fear is the amount of time she spends on social media EVERY DAY to stay in the picture! And apparently not only Loish but so many other artist spend A LOT OF TIME on social media with complete structures and schedules to work by when to post something where to get seen by many people and what to say and how to put it on there and use the right hashtags and blablabla. It takes hours of your time everyday replying to every comment that says "cool" or "wow" or "nice feed" or whatever and making cool pictures on a structured workspace so people really are going to think you are that amazing superhero artist who works this perfect and playful. 

quantity, quality, stress

I am not planning to do that. I don't give a shit about kids who like my workspace or how I act or how I look or whatever. I am way too punk for that or something. I am a messy artist with an extremely busy head and you can see that in my work. As an artist I have a lot to say and I can't say that all on social media because on facebook you are always stirring up a discussion you don't want to get involved with, on instagram no one reads the text and don't let me get started about twitter.. 
This all takes a lot of precious time, I could have made that amazing sketch or study that is going to change MY life as an artist in the time I was thinking about how I wanted to look on camera! It is about my work not me! I think it is way more important to put more time and effort in your work and not in your presentation online because we all know that is a lie. No one wants to see the truth because only happy succes stories are allowed. Well if that is the case fuck it, I will focus on making great art and show that when things are ready to be shown. No personal opinions just art. Whoa! suddenly I have loads of time left to spend on work I do want to make and make it perfect without the pressure of having to post something on instagram and hoping that people give enough likes on it.
This pressure of having to post something successful on social media is damaging to the quality of art. We do have to fail as an artist so now and then to discover that we have to look towards an entire new direction and this way grow. We have to study and make ugly crap to keep things interesting for ourselves and others. The moment you are repeating yourself is the moment you killed every single bit of creativity and you stopped evolving entirely. Social media does allow experiments and learning but it doesn't allow you to fail. That is probably why you mainly see repetition and copying things and if there is something new, it is something that was nothing more than a funny or good idea with a simple way to put it in practice so it couldn't fail at all. All trickery and copying successful formulas.
In my case it flattens my progress and it holds me back to try new things since I have to put a succes online again! Think about it like this. If I ask you to draw something quick you probably are going to draw that thing you always draw. a profile of a face or a funny cat. When you have to put shit out there quickly you are going to put a "first thought, first trick" variation online.

So why returning to blogger if you don't want to share your life on social media?

Because people who visit this article are here to actually read more than a one liner on facebook. Short effective punchlines are cool and okay but probably don't say shit. It is just a start of a discussion or a call for likes and giving compliments.
These articles are way more personal and complete. You are reading this and you can learn something about me or maybe it changes your opinion about your use of social media or whatever. This way I can tell something. Do I get a lot of following or am I making myself popular with this? Probably not, but I do get the response from the people I want to reach. People who do like my art and my ideas or not and then they in fact have a foundation where they can build their opinions on. 
This is adding something to the world, not just giving a incomplete piece of information to feed hungry social justice warriors who are going to shoot back with full on CAPS LOCK one liner bullets.

So what am I going to do?

For those who are still reading, thumbs up and cheers to you! You are the ones who are in the intelligent layers of society, the ones who dare to read and think and like to absorb information. You are the cool people I want to reach!

But what am I going to do? Good question, because I am not sure myself either. I tried my best to make the social media thing work but I just can't put all the effort in being a hipster and I don't even want to support this weird machine/creature or whatever it is. I think for me it is more interesting to find my people who do like what I do. I found festivals as Roadburn Festival and Stoned Meadow of Doom Festival and they really liked what I do because it was different. They dared to take that step and I do get a lot of positive feedback from it. So yes, I am still working in the music industry. But I discovered that the festival season is a terrible time for me. Bands are on tour or just released their album and are doing gigs and most venues are having a summer break or something. That means: a few months of no work for me. That is why I am going to move a bit toward the board and card game design. I always loved drawing characters for games as Dungeons and Dragons and I loved the artwork of Magic the Gathering. So that is why I wanted to move slowly towards that by making some character designs as you can see below.

The Necromancer.
Copyright: CAVUMscriptorium

I am posting this type of stuff on social media because there are people who really like to see what I am up to. But I am not going to post every single day about what I do and how my turd looked like and how round my ass is from working out every day because I don't. And now there are people probably saying that I am going to miss a lot! And scouts are not going to find my work online because of me not being on the trending pages and not getting a ton of likes! I don't get trending with my work and I don't want to get hired because I get likes, I want to get hired because of the quality of artwork I produce. Also as I explained above, you don't reach that many people as long as you are not a succes already. You need to have a great following and many likes and comments already to get in the picture these days.
So call me old-fashioned but isn't it more important to have a solid online portfolio on websites like Artstation for gamedesign or a really strong portfolio on your own website? On ArtStation are artdirectors browsing and looking for their future designers (although I found the trending type of bullcrap on there too with the effect of many likes generates even more likes because it has many likes not because of talent in the first place, people are damn sheep). Your website is there for a reason. You can link your other social media from you website so if they want to, they can check more of your work on there. And how do they get to your website you ask me now?
If they don't know your name they don't know where to find you!!! OOOH the horror no one can find you and knows about you! You have the best website and no one knows about it!
Yeah, again, old fashioned me. You can copy the link to your website and place it in an email and send it to someone. Don't be so damn lazy and write a good piece about you as an artist and why you love the design studio or other company and why you would like to work for them.


The Bard
Female concept because I wanted to think about how a female bard would 
look like without designing a female in a male costume.
Copyright: CAVUMscriptorium

This takes a long time to write an email with a good story and you have to do the research yourself online to who you have to approach and you have to sell yourself in a serious way. It has some weight yes and it takes some time. But it doesn't take hours a day communicating with people who just comment on your work because they want a like or a follow from you as well. Besides that, my experience is that a completed good piece of work generates new work. The band I worked with was happy with it and shows it to their audience and mentioned you because they are thankful for your work. In their audience is a bloke who has a band himself and they are working on their new release for some time now and they didn't think about cover art yet! That bloke is now checking your website and is very pleased with what he sees and is now clicking on the contact button and writing you an email with the question if you can do the artwork for their new awesome record.
Same thing with art directors, maybe they couldn't use you at that very moment. But now the project is done and he decides to go to another design studio to work on an amazing project over there! Now you are perfect for the job in his opinion. He writes an email and you are hired for a cool job. When you finished that job the studio where you send your portfolio to in the first place sees your work and is really amazed by your work. Now you are in the picture of the first studio as well and maybe you can step on that rollercoaster the next time they start a project. 
Good work generates work and it reaches the people you want to reach, your following will come from that. If you did good work for someone, you will get fans of your artwork. I loved the Dungeons and Dragons manuals because of the game, the game at the same time was the stage of the artists to show their work for the manuals and that made me a fan of Wayne Reynolds and many more artists.

Conclusion!

Ss you can see I am generating work in-between jobs. I am working on a huge book project and all the artwork for this is done. I hope the book will be published this year so you can all enjoy it and I know it is going to deliver more work since it is some type of portfolio by itself. Besides that I am working on these character designs to show what I can do on that level. I am studying environments and I am doing a bit more than I am asked to do every time to learn and expand my experience in the field. I am sending my work to bands, festivals, artdirectors and whoever could use me as their designer. I want to get in contact directly with the people who do like me instead of shooting randomly to people who don't want to see my work in the first place. I want to work really hard and keep you updated through these types of articles. Maybe you do have questions about how I do things or you want me to talk about something. Please do ask them! That is why I am putting this online.

This is why I will be leaving Facebook and Instagram for a while and only post things that add something of value. I don't want to have to care about how many followers I have and gain and I don't want to have to worry about the amount of likes. Again, the Kardashians get many likes and do have an insane amount of following. Are they really that interesting? Are they really adding something good to the digital world? Did they really replaced religion? Are we really that sad?

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