This has been a highly requested topic ; the competitive aspect of sharing your work on social media.
Do you ever check to see how many more likes someone’s post has than yours?
Do you ever look to see how many more followers someone else has than you do?
Do you ever look to if XYZ is following someone?
Do you ever wonder why XYZ isn’t following you as well?
Do you feel like social media is sometimes a popularity contest?
Do you know how many of those questions I answered yes to?
All of them.
There is so much competition in the creative world, friends. Online and in real life.
In high school I was friends with a talented artist. I will never forget something he once told me;
“No matter how good you are at something there will always be someone that’s better at it.”
This guy wasn’t just a mediocre, average artist. He was amazing. The things he drew were so realistic they looked like photographs. Astonishing.
I remember scoffing when he told me that. We were looking at some art that was on display at our school. He pointed to a piece that had been done by another student and explained that even though his own art was good, there were things that that particular student was better at than he was.
He didn’t say it in a self deprecating manner. He said it in a matter of fact way. He knew that he was talented. He accepted that. However he also knew that there were things others were better at and he was okay with it. He didn’t feel like he had to be the best, the greatest, artist numero uno.
That has always stuck with me. I want that to stick with you, too.
Think of the most talented artist you follow on social media. Hold them in your mind for a moment.
Do you think there is anyone better than them at something?
Even if you don’t think so, guess what? That person in your mind does. I can guarantee it with 99% certainty that they can think of at least one person who is better at something than they are.
We are all talented in our own ways and no matter how good we are there will be people who are better.
I am also reminded of something my boss once told me during a performance review. We were asked to rate ourselves in different areas using a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being ‘I never do this, needs significant improvement’ and 5 being ‘I do this perfectly, needs no improvement’.
There were a few things I’d rated myself as having fives in.
My boss gently told me that even though she had no complaints with the things I’d marked as fives, no matter how good we are at something, no matter how well we do it, there is always room for improvement.
As for the likes, followers, numbers; I actually discuss that in a blog post here. That was the blog post which, after discussing it with a creative friend, inspired me to start this whole series.
In regards to the popularity contest aspect. There are some creative people with massive followings and I’m kind of scratching my head over it and wondering why, how, etc. as I personally don’t think that what they create is all that astonishing (beautiful, yes, but not anything particularly unique) but other people love it.
Then there are some accounts with very few followers and I’m scratching my head over it wondering why they don’t have more of a following because in my opinion their work is amazing, creative, and unique.
I really believe that it does sometimes come down to popularity. Think of the most well known artist you follow on social media. They could post a photo of a stick and get thousands of likes and comments, couldn’t they?
If I posted a photo of a stick what would happen? People would be confused! I might get a like or two but most people would scroll past and, thanks to the social media algorithm, once people start scrolling past less people will see your post.
I think that that’s a point of frustration for a lot of people.
My best advice as far as the popularity contest aspect is to build and cultivate friendships with others. Get to know people, comment and like other people’s posts, etc. Treat people with the sort of kindness and support with which you would like them to treat you.
If you ever wonder why you have so few likes and comments, stop wondering and just go like and comment on other people’s posts.
Take the focus off of yourself and put it onto other people.
Share someone’s work on your own social media account, go out of your way to build people up. Give genuine compliments. You will be amazed by the results. Pour positive energy onto others. Shine kindness and love on those around you.
Sometimes we truly do get what we receive. By cultivating friendships and relationships with people, supporting and encouraging others, three things will happen.
- You are more likely to build faithful support for yourself in return.
- You will be more likely to attract others who will want to be a part of the positivity and kindness that you radiate.
- By supporting other people you will be so focused on those around you that the worries you have about your own account will lessen.
Things to remember:
- Everyone struggles with self doubt.
- There isn’t a single artist out there who doesn’t have at least one other artist who’s better at some particular thing than they are.
- No matter how good you are there will always be someone who’s better.
- Build up other people.
- Be so busy pouring positive energy onto other people that you don’t have time to worry about your popularity or lack thereof.
- Build and cultivate friendships with other artists on social media.
- Build your own little community of positivity and encouragement.
- It’s okay to compare yourself to others. It’s human nature. Just remember that the people whom you are comparing yourself to are very likely also comparing themselves to others.
- There is always room for improvement. For everyone.
- You don’t need to be the “best of the best” for your art to matter.
- We all have our own strengths and weaknesses.
I hope that you have found this blog post to be helpful. If you have any suggestions for topics you’d like me to cover email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org or leave it in the comments below.
Until next time,
Paper, rocks, building blocks,