When Facebook exploded on the scene in 2004, it revolutionized the internet social-media experience. You were able to chat and socialize with people around the world. It took the American Online (AOL) experience of the 80s, bastardized it, regurgitated it, repackaged it and sprung it on an unsuspecting world.
To say it changed us would be an understatement.
As of 2013 if someone you encountered were not part of the Facebook world, you were dumbfounded. You don’t have Facebook? You haven’t been Poked, Friended, Unfriended, Followed, Unfollowed, Subscribed, Fanbooked, Threadjacked, Hashtagged, Farmvilled, Statused or stalked then you just haven’t lived. You just haven’t lived.
Being an artist though, it created a constant conundrum of anxiety. The blessed (or cursed) “Like” button that appeared at the end of every entry ever placed on Facebook. Artists would go post their work online (be it a video, photograph, song, conversation) and sit back and waited for the “Likes” to start happening.
Guess what? Sometimes they didn’t.
And when they didn’t you would find yourself wondering “is it any good?” “Why aren’t people liking my work?” “What must I do to MAKE them like it?” You would then find yourself going through this horrific tailspin of “whys” wondering why the photo you so painstakingly put forth has 17 likes, but the recent video clip of Honey Boo Boo received 1.7 million. It can be a sobering experience and it tells you a couple of things.
1. Nothing accounts for taste in the internet world; and
2. You’re not Honey Boo Boo.
Over time Facebook has through its subterfuge of backdoor updates placed a feature that you can actually SEE who views your “work”. Belonging to various Photography chat rooms on Facebook, we post work for critiques and discussions and one day I saw this feature called “Seen By”. Click on this link and you can see the people who actually took the time to click on the image, view it and then say nothing. Not a like, not a comment. Nothing,
Imagine the horror of 85 people viewing something of yours, 4 people make comments, and you have zero likes. Let me repeat that: you have ZERO likes. What does one do?
Being human you would look at your competitors work (hell, anyone’s work for that matter) and their work doesn’t even come CLOSE to yours (at least in YOUR opinion), and you sit here and wonder what the hell is wrong with you?
I can answer that simply: not a damn thing. While you are basing your self worth on the likes of others (most of them complete strangers anyway [are you REALLY friends with over 2,000 people? Really?]) you are subjecting yourself to the constant questioning of your own skill set, your own talent. Your own artistry and above all, your own sanity.
Create art as your outlet
Create art as your release from sanity.
Create art for the sake of creating art.
Create art for yourself.
Just because someone “Liked” you doesn’t mean they love you.
Think about it.