I flamed out on Instagram on May 23, 2018. With full disclosure, I had to be talked into signing up for yet another social media platform six years prior by a chum at Drink & Draw. It would be a good way to get my work out there I was encouraged, and this may come as a shock to civilians that believe all illustrators just want to draw all day for free, because it’s fun (and it is) – I wanted to get my work out in front of eyes and hopefully secure some paid work.
Unfortunately at this time, hashtags were king. Hashtags are key words or terms that could be added to a post to draw eyes to it. Real, or automated views, the number of “likes” a post received would add weight to it’s value.
Well, there’s not a lot of weight to some douche-chill tagging #WalkingDead on a completely unrelated art post. That was how it was though, and this is how hashtag scumbags took over the platform.
In an effort to correct for hashtag abuse, many steps were taken by Instagram and Facebook. They introduced new features to your timeline impacting your use of the app, namely – requiring we turn on post notifications to see updates.
Here’s the deal. If I don’t want to see an update, I’m not following a user. Simple as that.
The obvious answer would be to allow for a curated (algorithm, or poor Facebook employee) timeline; or to just allow the app to function as it had in the past. Uninterrupted, and a persistent feed of new posts from the artists you love through the day.
Nah, too obvious.
So now, I would see updates from the artists I enjoy 12 hours, one day, or two days later. This is a bummer for multiple reasons. Missing posts, or more importantly if a creator is running a sale or making an appearance, you may not see that post until two days later thanks to the curated feed.
The app was a fun distraction, but over it’s evolution it has become less of what I had initially signed up for – to see cool art, and post work in the hopes of getting some kind of work.
When I crunched the numbers, out of 1,200 users (not many, but more than others) – I would get around 2.55% interaction from these 1,200 users. Around 30 users out of 1,200. It wasn’t unique to me, this happens to people with tens, or hundreds of thousands of users. Averaging around 4% interaction.
When soliciting sales or work the numbers were even more pathetic – 0.48%. I only counted the rare paid clients here, whom I’m eternally thankful for, and not the barter clients. Facing facts – trading illustrations that take quite a bit of time for baubles doesn’t increase my savings.
I know, harsh in a touchy feely world – but if illustration is a skill, then I do not feel it is unreasonable to be compensated monetarily for my skill. Even at federal minimum wage per hour, it is better than nothing.
So today I deleted any posts that do not relate to memorial posts and charitable posts. Then I generated a random password, went into my settings, entered the password twice. Saved. Deleted my entry for the randomly generated password and deleted the Instagram app from my phone.
What I have learned from these eight years using the platform is you can exert maximum effort, and receive minimal interaction. Be it the simple act of pressing a heart to like an post, rarer – to receive a comment from another human using the platform, or rarer yet – a job offer.
Don’t count on social media to get paid. Unless your commodity is photos of your beautiful self – then you can land that sweet, sweet “influencer” gig posing next to a product in your spanx.
You’re still going to need to craft a portfolio for a potential employer and make a pitch. Then hope you can make it past the gatekeepers. Call me cynical, but feel free to go look at the quality of the average sketch card being posted to social media. I’ve seen a lot of garbage, and I’ve also seen my fair share of resistance from the gatekeepers at these companies.
Don’t bullshit me. I’d be willing to jump through your hoops if the pay were more than $5 per full color sketch cards in quantities of 20 or more.
But that’s a subject for another post…
Finally, I have avoided joining Facebook from it’s inception. I don’t want to engage with Big Brother, and unfortunately shortly after I signed up for Instagram el Zucko purchased the platform. I’ve volunteered entirely too much data to Facebook over the past eight years by way of Instagram. I’m done with that.
Thanks for reading if you have. I hope you have a good day.