Damn you Instagram and your Distraction Engines….

I wrote this a few months ago and decided against posting it. I’m not sure why now, to be honest.  
 
A few years ago I read a book called The Internet is not the Answer by Andrew Keen. I told everyone to read it after hearing him on a podcast. It is a scathing prediction of how the internet could affect our lives. I recently read Johann Hari’s eye-opening and terrifying book Stolen Focus. Effectively, Hari’s book is the next chapter as he basically proves everything that Keen predicted has and is happening now. This has stirred me to try and get away from these Social Media monsters or at least try and find a way to work around them. I’ve had a ridiculous and infuriating amount of crappy adverts sent to me on my Instagram feed and I’ve had enough.  
 
Well, I’m going, to be honest. I’ve had it with Instagram. The damn place is a bloody hellhole. I was recently been inundated with ads mentioning that I’ve won some crappy competition. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.  Will I stay here, well of course, because in this day and age? I’ve got no choice. Unless something better comes up.   I’m 100% sure my art would not have reached as many people's eyeballs if it wasn’t for Instagram. What I’m most pissed that I’m creating content (I hate that word) for them for free because we have no choice as I need to use it. 
 
It’s the only social media site I have stuck with. I abandoned twitter many moons ago as it was awful. I only have Facebook now because I have Instagram.  I tried Sub Stack but it wasn't for me. Good for writers I think, but it was not good for my work. I also think the idea of another app to follow and post to was just not something I was ready to commit to and probably people who follow me. If anything, it created more work as I felt this ridiculous pressure to write posts. So, I’ve gone back to my good ol’ website for blog posts, so go visit if you want to read more! I’m going to add more posts there from now on. Just try to keep everything in one place if I can. I may even have a Newsletter at some point. If you fancy signing up, but no obligation. I know I have signed up for a few, but never really read them. I don’t think I will be in the minority saying this.  
 
If anyone wants to support me by purchasing work or buy me a coffee or signing up for my planned Patreon, that’s great. If you just want to enjoy the work, I’m happy with that!! I just like sharing this and making strange stuff !!! I hope you enjoy seeing it! I even have a Newsletter, if you fancy signing up, but no obligation. 
 
I just want to create, and I want people to see my work, for no other reason than to get enjoyment out of it. I love creating this stuff!! I don’t want to be a slave to an algorithm, I don’t want to keep looking at account insights to see how many people I have reached. It’s a battle they have already won, so there is no need to complain or worry about it. 
Anyway,Here is the original post I put on hold:  
 
 
 
 
I'm pretty sure people have made many comments on this subject. Books are written about it (the Internet is not the answer) and documentaries galore( social dilemma is excellent). 
From a personal point of view Social Media, especially Instagram for me as an artist, is the Great Irony. I hate everything about it, the way it forces image stereotypes gives us drug-filled endorphin rushes that are no better than drug addiction, constantly attached to our phone for the next hit. It's full of lies, hate, bullshit, and utter bile.  
 
You strive at becoming an artist only to be forced to change to a content creator so you can get more likes, comments, and views. Making videos, looking at new trends, and watching you tube videos on how to get those hits!!!  Constantly waiting for that one time when you hit it big time and everyone will see your work and want to buy your work or hire you.  But it doesn't happen and you become bitter and angry. Why do those get the hits and not mine? You become depressed and angry and think what's the point, all this hard work for a handful of likes, meanwhile, someone puts a video of being slapped by a tortilla wrap and a million hits follow!!! It's not here to help raise a profile, it's here to feed a habit, I/We are addicted and always need more, so we keep creating, even if it's not something you want to do!!! 
 
The flip side? People certainly would not know of my work without it. I can pay as much as i like for a con table, but it would never get me the reach of Instagram for free!! I've discovered great artists and great people. I've been asked to create work, sold art, discovered some great music, and great books, and made some great friends. It's been an inspiration and a driving force. It helps me up my game and gives me the confidence to keep at it and improve. I've had some wonderful comments about my work and these people are supporting and following me through this journey. The encouragement they give me wants me to pick up the pen and create! It just makes it all worthwhile! 
 
And there is a great irony. You love it, you hate it.  
 
As an artist, you begin to wonder if you can survive without it. I certainly don’t think so, unfortunately. I've had websites, and business cards and tabled many conventions, and lumped a portfolio around for work. Nothing got my work out there better than Instagram.  
 
It's just a shame it's turned into a bit of a monster and there doesn't seem to be an alternative. Twitter is just mainly nonsense and people spouting crap. I can’t stand Facebook and only keep the account due to its ownership of Insta.  TikTok is not for me, I don't want to be a nano-second video content maker. The creation of reels is hard enough. Having to set up everything to record time-lapse takes time and desk organizing, I just want to draw.  
 
However, they did really well and helped me create the Sketch card of Doom series of sketch cards, but it was honestly exhausting. I felt under pressure to make sure I had created them and when I didn't, I needed to explain myself to everyone. The feedback I got for the work was awesome, and I thank everyone who liked, shared, and commented. I also gained a lot more followers as this is what Instagram wanted me to do for the algorithm.  However, I don't think I would try something like that again. I see a lot of posts about Instagram reach just not happening, especially if you're not creating reels. I actually feel I have let myself down a bit, trying to chase the algorithm. It was a bit of an experiment that got out of hand. I feel dirty and used. Yet, I only have myself to blame. I recently posted on Instagram ( irony again) about how I had gotten sucked into its distraction engine. I got really angry with myself. Spending hours flicking through pointless crap. ( Apart from the dog videos). I realized then, I needed to do something about it.  
 
I need to get back to creating for myself. Stop thinking about how this will look on a platform and just create. Stop dicking around with lights at the right angle and just get the ink on paper. Stop worrying about the camera holder being high enough to make sure my head is not in the shot and just bend the bloody thing out of the way. Stop checking out other art accounts and comparing myself then berating myself for not being as good. I'm proud of my work as it's all mine.  
 
I don't even know if having a website is worth it anymore. Do people still use these? I suppose most people have shops now. Generally every few months I will go through the drawers of art and just recycle them. I just can't be bothered sitting in front of a computer and setting up websites and listing stuff. I have decided I will put stuff up for sale on Etsy again, against my better judgment. It’s the easy option even though I abandoned it once. I tried a Gumroad shop, but that got a bit complicated concerning shipping and I lost a sale.  
Whatever the scenario. It looks like we as artists are stuck until something better comes along. I'm not holding out much hope. Just do the art, forget the algorithms, the hits, the likes. If you keep creating and you enjoy it, then keep doing it. If you are not enjoying it, take a break, try something different then go back and have fun. Just remember most of the artists who have massive followings have been at this for a loooong time! No such thing as an overnight success in this game ( and don't get me started on NFT’s and I have posted about my thoughts concerning AI art)) 
 
So, stop reading these bollocks and pick up your sketchbook, grab your pens, and make something epic!!!! 
 
Cheers, see you all soon!!!! 
 
Dan(smonsters) 
 
Here are some other things that I think are of interest:  
 
The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield 
 
https://austinkleon.com/ 
 
The Social Dilemma