art & bla · Ep.1 · Social Media Fatigue

Hi there and welcome to my blog: art & bla!

For the first time ever, I´m writing a blog.

I don´t do it because I love writing so much, or because I have a second career dream about becoming an art journalist, or because I have so much free time and dunno what to do... - I don´t.


Art Blog by Munich based illustrator and artist Susanne Margarete Lutz


I´m an illustrator and drawing artist based in a little town just a few driving minutes outside of Munich and I´m working myself along the erratic way to make a consistent living with what I have talent for and with what I love doing - which is drawing and producing art.


Back to why I´m writing this blog:

I do it because it occurs very neccessary to provide myself with my own marketing channel and because I have learned (the hard way) recently, that you shouldn´t ever rely on other platforms.

Anyone can take it away from you any second - and that´s mainly possible because you didn´t own anything about it in the first place.


It was just a tiny stone in a huge system that belongs to huge corporations whose intentions never included to really promote or value you or what you do - unless, of course, you would magically and perfectly adapt to their algorithms (and probably also align with their advice on how many paid ads to put per month).

To be honest, I got pretty tired of figuring it all out. And this is something I´m hearing a lot lately - from all different sides - artists, the small coffee place around the corner, models, bloggers etc.


I just wanted to use this - once beloved - platform as a tool to put my art out there, connect with other artists and with people who like my art, without having to invest hundreds of euros per month. It used to be free - it still pretends to be. Visibility costs, followers cost, everything costs, you name it.


Give me one honest example of an account that´s thriving without investing a lot of money. The people I spoke to about it feel the same way. Followers and visibility go down if you don't pay a professional to support the account, or it all declines as soon as you´re reducing the money spent on ads. It doesn´t work like it did 2 or 3 years ago, when it was significantly more user-friendly.

Now it´s significantly more money-friendly. 


If you´re an artist yourself I´m sure you experienced this too - what looks like - an absolute lack of appreciation, followed by frustration, sadness and anger, when seeing a miserable art-post getting thousands of likes for some reason (probably because it has a well paid ad running on it) while your own post chokes on its 12 likes it got - whilst it's obvious to everyone with eyes, that yours is of so much more quality and deserves much more visibility and "reach".


And quality really is the point: algorithms and paid ads aren´t built to detect, protect or promote quality.

They promote what´s paid for. They´d promote any sh*t if it´s paid for and therefore suits and reads into their system more ideally. I really wonder why there isn't more outrage about demanding quality. Instead we all surrender into sucking up randomly chosen quantity - which sums up to a characterless ton of content.


Is this how you want to feed your brain? Aren't you afraid that people will stultify over this at some point? 

I am. 


Like many others I was trying to swim with the social media current. I have consistently invested (/wasted) significant amounts of time in building my social media channels - the ones we all know and the ones some of us rely on to make money from what they do (or some even: to be happy at all) - but it really is the wrong way to spend your precious time.


As we all saw it happening, during the last two years especially, social media is an ever changing machinery of algorithms (whoever or whatever machine writes them is a secret and an obscurum in itself) - which I don´t think any real person can ever manage to use to their advantage, because they keep changing all the time and you´d need a computorized system behind yourself too, that manages adapting to this. So it´s got little to do with real people in the end anymore and that´s quite saddening, isn´t it?


I sometimes listen to those bloggers just for fun - the ones that keep on bla-ing about and advising on how to use social media channels in this and that correct manner to grow traffic or likes. They know these are topics that drive a lot of traffic to their accounts, because everyone´s getting so frustrated about things not working the way they did anymore, that they´re so eager for someones advice.

If these bloggers would be honest for one second they´d all have to admit that they didn´t aquire their 237.000 followers by following the rules they´re promoting. They did it with help.

And that costs. A lot. Apparently.


On top of all of this there´s another chance for your work to end up being useless on those platforms. In case there are people who want you gone, it´s not too hard for them to make it happen. If an account gets reported - for whatever made up reason - there´s not a human looking into the case-file. It´s again: yes, an algorithm. So if an algorithm detects you being reported for too many times - if your guilty or not, if you did or did not violate any guidelines - an algorithm is going to decide whether or not to deactivate or delete your account. So that´s pretty bad - imagine all the time you have put in getting those pictures of your work up there and generating some time consuming handmade real traffic for this content - and pffff with a few clicks your hater gets his ways.

Of course these platforms have to react to real threats or real misuse or real disregard for the rules - but the algorithm can only put it all in one drawer. So in the end, it seems like pure luck whether an account that hasn't harmed anyone and played by the rules - and was only reported out of the ill will of others - makes it through machine review and stays on or not.

Maybe though - there´s a way to buy yourself out of this one too.


Anyway, instead of sending more time down the drain on such unreliable - and inherently unfair and anti-human - processes, I rather invest my time in building my own space around my work. Then instead of me paddling, paying and trying to pick up the algorithms - I´ll let the algorithms paddle and pick up my content. a space that can´t be erased from one second to the other - because it´s on my own platform.


Maybe you feel inspired.

Or disillusioned?

But, the sooner you realize what´s a waste of time the better, isn´t it?

And I'm sure the whole social media thing has always felt a little like jelly to you too. You never really know how long the shape will last before it wobbles, sags and turns to a pulp.


The impuls to swim with the crowd is undoubtedly there, I don´t deny that. I had to do it too. It´s just not always what´s best for you. And the crowd won´t tell you - you have to figure it out yourself, to put it into the right proportions.


So, to finalize this I´ll say as much:

I don´t condemn social media all together, and I will still use it. BUT: I´ll put in much less time and effort and I´ll use it with much less expectations about what it can or cannot do.

Basically, what I wanted to achieve with this experience-based article, is to put social media in its rightful place. To erase from people's minds that it has such great importance or value. The work you put into it can be smashed too easily - by literally anyone, including a machine-generated algorithm.

And therefore it definitely doesn't belong at the top of your list.


Thank you for reading! You´re welcome to leave a comment below about your own experiences and thoughts about it.

Much Love! And Happy Creating!



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