For the beginner artist, the social media algorithm is your first enemy

in ArtBees2 months ago

Social media algorithms can be your friend or your enemy depending on how you run your art profile. The algorithms are harsh on newcomers and that's something to keep in mind when starting as a beginner on any platform.

sunflower.jpeg

A recent work while practicing a style.

I thought about the amount of time and effort it takes to get somewhere from this hobby. After doing some experiments with different social media platforms, I think I now know why it's a steep battle to get noticed online. If you're comparing yourself to another artist in terms of the face value of their works, maybe it crossed your mind that you can do better or are just as good as your competition.

This is one of the common pitfalls of beginner artists don't realize when starting their art profile. It's natural to compare who's top dog on the platform to survey where you could possibly stand in the ecosystem. Everyone is pitted against each other by an invisible algorithm these platforms run on. The truth is it's harsh on the new profiles registered.

I like to use Instagram as an example because this is the platform I have spent more time on compared other platforms outside this blockchain. Instagram may have a different algorithm for discoverability but almost any other platform operates on the same principle.

These algorithms are invisible curators that respond to how other users/curators respond to content. I think of users liking content is a form of curation just not what we are used to thinking here on the blockchain.

As soon as you post your work, you got only seconds to minutes to be on the front page on someone else's suggested feed or searched content. If you don't generate enough likes, your work gets pushed back behind just like everyone else's work that didn't make the cut to make room for new content.

This system's purpose is to gauge how much viral the content is if it can have more people engage with it. That's why receiving likes and comments on your work during those first few seconds to minutes is crucial as it tries to convince the system to give you more exposure.

For beginner artists, lacking a number of active followers to give you the boost you need is a common source of frustration. The algorithms just favor works that get more engagement as these are considered content that helps add value to user experience. That's why earning your first 100, 1000, or 10,000 followers will be the most difficult task. Because once you overcome that milestone, you get a better reach and reception whenever you publish your future works.

The more people are receptive to giving your content some likes, the more your profile/works get recommended on other people's feeds or suggested content creators to follow. And by effect, even your old content gets a buff on discoverability because your present works now get more traction. I would get the same images recommended only to find out these were published months back just cause I happen to click on works authored by the same author several times in a row without knowing it.

While views may not mean an increase in follower count, an average number of views is also part of the equation. This is beyond what the artist can control but they can still influence. The answer is simple really, publish good content relevant to your target niche and be consistent with it.

Did I mention following other artists also influences your rankings? Yeah, once you follow established names, your chances to get better at the rankings also increases especially if those names followed you back. Like attracts like and so if a famed user takes a liking to your content, you get a public relations boost.

Image Source

I got this mental image of a spider web network where each points where lines meet represent a famous artist. The lines represent the road algorithms create for the end user to follow. If you start following artists that create viral content, you will also notice that these artists also follow other artists with established names on the platform.

The takeaway here is, while talent and skills are important for an artist to get noticed, a lack of following does not equate to an artist lacking those fundamentals. Sometimes we just have to examine how much the artist is willing to put effort into expanding their network while they improve their content along the way.

The algorithms are harsh but these are the conditions other artists had to deal with before they have become established names on the platform they are in. Hive already burns a lot of my time so I'm not expecting I'd get any traction from my other social media profiles anytime soon.

The slow and steady way to grow under these harsh algorithms is just being consistent at growing in your craft, get involved with the community you are in, and follow the ones that are getting the formula right. Most forget that famous artists started out with a few followers whom they had to build a relationship with over time. So if you're not willing to put in the work as a beginner in the long term, it's unreasonable to expect the algorithm will be kind to you.

It may be harsh for the newcomers but it will eventually reward those that are driven to grow.


If you made it this far reading, thank you for your time. This is a creative footer by @adamada. A Hobby Illustrator.

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That flower thingi looks pretty cool! Or is it a sun? I'm not sure, either way I think I've mentioned before, I'm a bit of a sucker for swirlies XD

You seem to be playing around with a lot of different styles, how did you enjoy this one?

Ergh stupid algorithms I hate them. It's one of the reasons why I avoid trending/hot pages like the plague they are and I have continued studiously avoiding them here even though the only algorithms are people (and honestly in the chase for money that's only slightly better). It has been a useful discussion tool while my middle child has been on her Tiktok "career" (she is interested in posting on here as she knows she can actually earn, but is a bit reluctant because posting on here is a pain in the system when compared to pretty much everything else).

You seem to be playing around with a lot of different styles, how did you enjoy this one?

I'm close to seeing how Parkjinsuky, just love his style. The goal for now is understanding and replicating the style then convert it subtle to my own flavor.

The algorithms are an equalizer for everyone. Detrimental to those that don't understand how to adapt. It's no far from what we have on Hive without the automated features like having recommended users on your feeds and seeing overt ads from other users when scrolling down. Remove the resources credits and improve the search UI and we might get closer to most social media platforms.

And even then the methods of Public Relations are the same. You want to get your name out there you got to get invested on what other people are up to so that the favor gets returned, it's human nature to be driven to reciprocate. The algorithms that work factor this in plus weigh them with criteria that has a high chance for viral content to spread. It's Hive but automated and doesn't cost or earn you money, that's the general idea I have on these platforms.

On another noted: I'm thinking of getting more activity on ArtBees, I realize the concept behind the community is underrated.

If I wanted something like what the other socnets had I would have just stayed there and not bothered checking out anything new, would much prefer we keep playing around with things here than just mindlessly do what everyone else is doing because that's only working to some value of working XD