Monday, July 10, 2017

An Artist with No Twitter or Facebook Accounts

I wasn't always a flamingo.

Last night, many would argue that I took leave of my senses.

I decided to all but quit Twitter and Facebook. I deleted my Facebook account and blocked off Twitter as anything to sign into. I even blocked my Tumblr and Mastodon accounts for the time being.

Sure, I have an Instagram and a Pinterest, but I rarely use them as anything other than glorified galleries of pictures to look at and be inspired by.

You see, I reject the idea that an artist (or anybody) can only build an audience through constantly engaging in highly interactive social media like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Ello, or Mastodon. In these types of places you can go viral, yet you'll be forgotten in an instant. Thus you're highly encouraged to keep up an active presence lest the algorithms no longer promote your content.

But there aren't infinite hours in the day. I weighed the cost of social media—not just time, which is a huge chunk of that cost, but also mental peace and long-term concentration—and found the investment just not worth it.

I'm not saying that interaction isn't valuable to building an audience.

What I am saying is that high interaction social media has moved past being actually useful to an artist with limited resources and health. Social media has a tendency to pull you in and get you to spend a lot of energy basically keeping up with the virtual Joneses.

And that's fine if you have unlimited patience, boundless energy, and unbreakable mental health. It's much less OK if what you want to do is to actually, y'know, create art.

Because ultimately an artist's social media presence without a body of art and experience behind it is useless and ephemeral.

I'm going back to creating art and doing long-form blogging. Everyone declares the blog dead but I don't really care. I always used social media as a way to get my thoughts out; that's what I want to do here.

If you take anything away from this post, I recommend examining closely how you spend your time on social media. It's not wrong to engage in social media, but the act itself is a considerable cost and, like everything else costly, must be weighed against its advantages.

You can come up with a better plan for how you use your social media, or you can go cold turkey like me—which is also a plan, it's just a rather simple one.



Ava Jarvis is an ink and watercolor artist with a portfolio site at avajarvisart.com. If you found this post useful, consider a one-time tip or supporting Ava on Patreon.