I am a strange and unusual person. I am an artist, a photographer, a cat lover, an observer and introvert, and a chocoholic. I prefer my food in a bowl so I can eat it with a spoon and hate ketchup and mayonnaise. But mostly, I despise attention seekers, name droppers, and ‘chest thumpers’.
Unfortunately, I live in a world where Social Media is king. Right or wrong, people jump to conclusions about an artist’s worth based on their social media stats. We set up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts and blogs, all in the desperate hope to be noticed. Our worth as an artist is judged in a second by a fickle public, not by our work, but by the amount of ‘likes,’ ‘followers,’ and ‘retweets’ we have. Social media professionals (how can that even be a real thing?), advise us to post throughout the day, follow people who influence us including professional organizations, retweet or repost articles or quips that interest us, and tag as many people as possible with the hope that it will eventually translate to opportunities. There are even programs that can post to multiple social media platforms for you, and if you feel you don’t have enough followers or likes to support the ego, you can buy them.
Here’s my take on social media and why I have a love/hate relationship with it. I wholeheartedly reject the notion that a strong social media presence equates a worthy artist. Yes, artists are generally insecure and who wouldn’t like validation via a pixilized thumbs up, gold star, or mention on Twitter? But, for me, the more time I spend on social media, the less time I have for doing what I love, which is creating art. Of course I want people to see my work, but I don’t want to compromise it by throwing it up on social media and tagging everyone from the artist to the custodian at a venue, which seems the norm. I certainly won’t spend money to buy fans, either. I’d rather buy gear.
It’s unnatural for me to draw attention to myself so I suck at social media. Most times I feel pressure using Twitter as I fear my tweets won’t be witty or interesting enough for my followers. My Facebook page has limited reach because I won’t pay to ‘boost’ it. I haven’t found the happy medium of getting exposure from social media without feeling dirty and desperate. I feel social media is mostly used to feed the ego, to turn one into an attention seeking egotistical megalomaniac. That’s not who I want to be.
I’d rather have respect then attention, because respect is harder to gain and lasts longer. I make art for myself and if other people like it, then that’s all the validation I need. But, because my hypocrisy knows no bounds, feel free to follow me on Twitter @k3schultz and make sure to ‘like’ my Facebook page.
Now I need a shower.