I've been talking a lot with artists, writers and other creatives lately about their frustration with sharing their creative work online. And believe me, there are days I check my internet connection several times because all my internet interaction seems to end somewhere in limbo. It seems that sometimes the work that is put on the internet gets hidden behind obscure algorithms that prevent pieces to pop up on the timelines.
Last Saturday Apr. 29, I read the piece by artist and musician Amanda Palmer where she shares in a special Patreon post her own experience.
"there are now almost 9,400 of you beautiful souls supporting me here on my patreon, and one of the things that's been nagging at me and causing me a small amount of sorrow is the killing algorithms of the internet to prevent the spread of my art lately. it seems that unless i attach some kind of manipulative viral content to my offerings, they sink under the weight of facebook's selective hierarchies and the noise of a post-trump twitter.
it seems to me that people on the internet used to share art a lot more. or maybe they just used to share MY art a lot more, and i'm biased.
in any event, i have found myself depressed lately about this weird internet reach phenomenon. i put out a photo of myself with meryl streep and it reaches millions of people, and a few days later i release a video that costs thousands of dollars and took a team of actors and artists untold hours of art-blood/sweat & tears to make - but since it's art and not celebrity content, it gets 10% of the attention that the stupid fucking photo with meryl streep gets. i don't like that life feels like this, and i don't like that i can be morally tempted to attach a photo of my baby to an announcement that i have an artistic offering. it feels cheap and manipulative - even if it works."
I was rather surprised to read these lines as one expects that someone like Amanda Palmer, who appears successful in terms of reach and ability to gather a community around her, feels visible. She continues her post with asking her community to share for the occasion of her birthday, which was on the next day, her creative work and thoughts about her. What a wonderful idea! And if you're not familiar with Amanda Palmer watch her impressive TED Talk on The Art of Asking. You will be impressed by the transformational power of simply asking for what you need, especially if you're working in the creative realm.
We live in a time where we need to make so many decisions on the internet: Instant judgment if we like something, if it's worth to take the time to interact with it and how fast we can grasp it (the attention span on the internet is short as we all know). I have the feeling that I see more things being shared that people disagree with, things go viral because they are considered as an "epic fail" or things are commented on because they are unbearable and need to be instantly fought. We need to be woke, but sometimes I miss to see that people share more of what nourishes their spirits and take time to talk in a thoughtful way about their discoveries. There are times I want to shout at twitter that people should at least spread once a week at least twice as many things they loved reading, listening to (insert any creative medium you prefer) than things they oppose. Let the creators know and don't expect they already know that their work makes a difference. It is difficult to assess the impact creative work has, direct feedback might be one of the truest forms to evaluate it.
And if you're a creator yourself don't get absorbed in your own universe. Share the work of others if you want that people share your work too.