Trading Fans for Friends

If you read some of my earlier posts, you know that sometimes social media makes me feel like this:

I think that much of the conventional wisdom about social media is complete and total crap.  It turns out that I do NOT need keep up with it every day. I do not need to tailor or time tweets/posts in order to get the most likes, followers or re-tweets. I don’t need to avoid sharing my work more than 10% of the time and I don’t need to build a large social media community or following for my work to be commercially successful.  Know why? Because a person who follows me on social media due to some strategic piece of shared information most likely doesn’t care about me as human or as an artist, they’re just mildly interested in said piece of information — which is fine as a social media side effect, but makes no sense as something to chase after/spend time on.

The people who do care about me as a human and an artist on social media are the people who also care about me in real life. They’re the community who will support and share my work because they’re the ones who will actually take the time to look at it and think about it. They’re also the people whose lives and work I care about in return, and the people with whom I have the most satisfying conversations, on- or offline.

Knowing all this, here’s what I’ve done: unfollowed all the people I envy or am inspired by — I have enough inspiration and project ideas to last the next three years without needing more sprayed at me like a fire hose. I also unfollowed every social media/marketing expert and inspirational life coach, and every celebrity — they also have nothing that I need right now. That leaves me with just people I love and people/publications who make me laugh. Pretty great, right? I don’t get stressed out anymore when I visit Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I don’t open my e-mail every morning hoping to see a re-tweet, like, or new follower notification. Best of all, I’m getting so much more work done — creative, exciting work that I feel great doing.

At the same time, I’m connecting more meaningfully with people online, one at a time.  I’ll reach out to someone who’s admired my work, or someone whose work has inspired me to be a better artist. Sometimes we’ll have things in common and exchange a few e-mails. Maybe we’ll even meet in person some time if we’re in the same area. Sometimes it goes nowhere at all. Either way I’m finding life much more satisfying now that I’ve stopped caring about fans and followers and have started making friends.


  1. It’s nice to know we’re not alone in this, isn’t it? So excited to see so much (blurry) work on your new project already!

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