The relationship an artist has to social media is complex, but some artists and writers have built their success on these platforms.
But as we have discovered, it can also be a distraction. Sucking up time chasing links, follows, likes instead of getting on with work.
All artists have their influences, but spending too much time with them can make it hard to find our voice, our art.
My attitude is a love/hate relationship towards social media. I’m suspicious of their addictive pull and the motives of the companies that deploy them.
I use it carefully; I don’t look at it every day, but perhaps a couple of times a week. I see social media more like a transmitter, not a receiver, using it more for getting my work out there instead of following others.
I limit how much time I spent on such platforms and have more carefully chosen which ones I use. My blog, my website is a big one because I own the site. Instagram is best for visual artists, and Pinterest is on the side because it works best for artists.
All notifications are turned off, I don’t want to be distracted, and I don’t have them on my phone, so I avoid mindless scrolling.
When it comes to ideas, I prefer to read books, and for art, I choose to follow a few select artists I like, not the thousands I see on some individual profiles. (How do they keep track of it all?)
It’s not the type of media that fosters deeper connections either, so I don’t expect much in the way of sales.
Social media can be a helpful tool, but we need to avoid its addictive properties. We need to be very clear about how we intend to use it. We need to regulate how much we look at it and use it to service our goals and aims, not to avoid boredom.
Being intentional, having a schedule, a system where you upload X number of posts per week and only use specific platforms, say in a tiny 15 min blocks twice a week, for example.
Social media is essential, there’s no other tool that can allow you to reach so many people, but we can’t expect too much from it. There are also millions of other people doing the same. So your one tiny voice in a cacophony. It can be a big distraction taking us away from doing the work we know we need to. It’s a small part of a larger strategy to get your work out there.