are you content with your "content"?
the effects of posting attention and reaping great rewards from it will unconciously begin to make you change your artwork in order for your brain to get more rewards. your brain learns to crave the instant but short term rewards it can get on social media, rather than the longer to aquire but more fulfilling and long term reward from making something you actually want to make. creating artwork coming from this place rather than a more genuine place will start to take a toll - in that youll find yourself not feeling proud of work despite it doing well on social media, and also finding yourself frustrated when a piece you thought would do well on social media, doesnt. this effect is especially prevelant in people who make almost exclusivly fanart. you might think - "what is wrong with my content?"
perhaps youve noticed that on across the web, people are referring to their work as "content". i find this a strange thing to call artwork. from what ive observed the use of this word in this way first picked up speed on youtube in the mid 2010s, where in order to be taken more seriously, youtubers began to call themselves "content creators". this eventually leaked onto other social media platforms, and became somewhat of a replacement for the term "influencers". now it is used by and to refer to anyone who makes anything that gets posted online.
"content" as a noun refers to the things that are held inside of another thing - for example, the contents of a bottle is the water; the contents page of a book details what is found inside the book. in the context of "content" online, the word is used to refer to anything that ends up being posted on (and is inside of) the internet - music, art, photos, film, writing, pornography, websites, files, infographics, articles. imagine you decide to post a photo to instagram. first and foremost, the photo already exists and is defined as a photo. when posted on instagram, the photo now also is content of instagram, in the same way if placed in a physical photo album, it becomes content of the photo album. it is still its separate definition of a photo. to call yourself a "content creator", or to say that youre "making content" on instagram implies that you dont make artwork or music or take photos as those definitions first and foremost. rather it implies you create these things for instagram, to be content of instagram; that it being a separate entity that youve created out of some desire to create is secondary, forced, or not even a considered element. there is nuance here, of course - there are things such as graphics i create just to contribute to the content of my webpage and they have little context outside of this.
sometimes, the context matters. for example, there are things such as graphics i create just to contribute to the content of my webpage and they have little context outside of this. my concern is when artists start to call and treat their work as if it has no context outside of social media, as if it is something that exist
"...i transitioned away from being an artist, and was suddenly a "content creator"..." - sophia mitropoulos
even if you dont refer to your work as "content", theres a good chance you treat it as such. large companies embrace the idea of a "content creator", they love and actively encourage "small creators" who are frantically using all their features and contributing lots of posting attention, as it helps them to harvest even more consumption attention. rainylune found that instagram wants users to post 3 feed posts, over 8 stories, up to 7 reels (short videos), and an IGTV post per week in order to grow their accounts. to try and do this with artwork is a surefire way to achieve nothing but burnout and less quality and genuine work, and it is a gamble that is pushed that the majority will not succeed at. when i used instagram, i forced myself to always find something to post on my story daily, and i also posted at least once per week for around two years. even though this is far less than what is desired to grow an account, i still found it very hard to keep up and would often rush artwork willy-nilly just so i could have something to post. as a result of this, the quality of my work fell in visuals, skill, and ideas. i would spend time looking at did well as content of instagram, and trying to replicate it.
no matter how hard id tried to resist it, or deluded myself into thinking it didnt affect me, i let likes, shares, trends, algorithms, and site logistics dictate what and how i created. id avoid extreme detail and crazy colour palettes, two things i LOVE, because it wouldnt be appear well on social media and phone screens. id think about the size of the canvas and how itd effect its view online. if a drawing did "well" or "bad", id unconciously note this try to do or avoid similar things in the next piece. i avoided experimentation with style or media as it would ruin the consistency on my page, and also what my "audience" was used to. already having become addicted to the internet and social media from my teens - ive not even touched on the multitude of other effects excessive social media, smartphone, and internet use can have on one's focus, ability to think and work deeply, and influence on identity - and having this entertwine with my already complex but passionate relationship to my art, my relationship to it had become twisted and about the short term feelings and trying to appear "successful" online. i had become lost and caught up in this endless cycle, and it was a cycle which everyone else on my timeline was experiencing and adding to as well.