At the end of 2020 I decided to start a blog. But why start a blog when most people spend all their time on social media? Why write when I could just as easily post images of my work or life on Instagram? My answer to that is simple: social media has no depth whatsoever. But there are many more reasons why I restrict my use of social media to the minimum.
The past 20 years the internet has changed from a place of revelation to a damaged system. Our governments gave a handful of tech giants the chance to build a monopoly. Especially social media and the ongoing development of complex and manipulative algorithms play a destructive role in our daily lives. The spread of fake news, trolls, ‘influencers’, the enormous amount of ads and self-promotion, bots and the ridiculous terms of service of these companies have built a society from which the soul has disappeared.
Engagement levels are almost zero
Many artists work very hard every day to promote themselves online, hoping for some virtual recognition and a chance of being ‘discovered’. And yes, we all know how important this is if we are to believe the thousands of online workshops on ‘How To become A Successful Artist‘. In the meantime, engagement levels have crashed in the past 5 years. In 2020, the term ‘Home Decor‘ on Instagram reached engagement levels of 0.77% (contentcal.io). This means that effectively less than 1% of your followers are interested in what you post. If you want to build an audience, the question is whether social media is still relevant.
Social media censorship hurts art
But a more important issue (besides all the privacy concerns) is the freedom of expression social media offer. Censorship rules are pretty strict, so as an artist you can’t just post what you want. A company like Facebook has a huge issue with (female) nudity. I myself found a lot of my collages and photography censored and blocked – which resulted in a shadowban over 2 years ago – which is still ongoing. And there’s no way to reach any real person at Facebook/Instagram to undo it.
Censorship restrictions have also resulted in almost all artist social media profiles and art looking quite similar. We have created a uniform visual world, boosted by biased algorithms. It is the main reason so much art has become boring and predictable. We have seen everything already.
Stepping out of the rat race
For years I thought that social media was important, but my view of these companies and the future of social media started to change in 2011, after reading the book ‘The Cult of the Amateur‘ by Andrew Keen.
Since I decided to avoid social media as much as I can, I have noticed my creativity increasing and I also spend more time creating art again. My focus is clearer, I have been reading more and I have more time to make good business decisions. I can recommend giving up on social media to everyone. Stop the rat race of daily ‘promotion’ of your work and yourself, and the feeding of data to the companies who are in part responsible for so many social issues and unrest.