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Who hasn’t shared on the internet something they have created? We all started doing it at some point, and we still do. We have been told that it is the only way to go if we want to exist in a world whose main communication channel is the web. However, what do we get in exchange for sharing our work in the Internet? In the physical world, we professional artists-authors are paid whenever we give access to our artworks, since it would be inconceivable that we just gave it for free.
We know that the Internet of Value is on the way, and sooner than later we will have better opportunities. As for myself, I will try to bring here the best available solutions that I will be finding. For the time being, I encourage you to keep working in your art outside of the web as much as you can, only sharing as little as posible to keep a presence there, and building your fanbase… but also with the idea that your followers could be your potential future clients. Therefore, do not share that which has taken you a huge amount of effort to create. And in case you do, share only little samples (for musicians), low resolution images, or even short promo videos, interviews… Never share anything you expect sometime to receive some kind of money for.
Build a solid and loyal fanbase on the net made of individuals who are genuinely interested about your work. You can start by experimenting with new platforms that are more respectful towards creators’ rights. Although there is still a long way to go in order for you to regain real control of your work, there are tools that allow you to know your audience better, rather than just gaining countless “followers” you have no way of contacting outside the apps. As of right now, I can recommend you: Substack (for podcasts, newsletters, and blogs), Bandcamp (for music), and Faso (for artists). Of course, there are also more general options like Patreon… However, I believe that you should choose whichever app fits with your personality better, and you could really enjoy the most. Whatever your choice is, you always have to measure and calibrate what any app is giving you back for your time and dedication. If you cannot keep YOUR audience and fanbase engaged, then that app is not for you.
Just to clarify : on YouTube or Facebook (the most popular 2.0 platforms), your subscribers/followers are not YOUR audience, because you cannot communicate with them outside of those media.
Don’t forget that PROMOTING YOURSELF ALWAYS HAS A PRICE. And on the Internet, you are paying with your data and time. If a platform allows you to reach your audience in an effective way (they buy your artworks, go to your concerts, etc…), then spending some time in it is unquestionably for the best. It is part of your job. However, if you keep selling the same amount than before… think about it twice. What does the Internet give you? Social Media are designed to make business for themselves. Up until now, to get our attention, they have not hesitated in manipulating us and feed our egos, all in order to gain our constant attention (they give us “likes” as a new form of clapping). For instance, you might feel awesome and great when a great number of people “like” your posts, but… have they really seen it for more than just a few seconds? Don’t you think your work deserves another kind of attention and interest?
The 2.0 social networks have taken advantage of us, taking your data (and the one from your audience as well) and giving us very little in exchange for it, if you start thinking about it. For a long time, we thought there was no alternative. Now there are new possibilities emerging, and it is about time we gain some independence, and stop paying that huge a price.
· If you haven’t got your own website, create one that is simple, yet effective. That way, you can keep tabs on your audience better.
· Your fanbase is only truly yours if you can communicate directly (via email, pone number…), without having to rely on other networks. Only use apps which allow you to gather your audience’s emails.
. Create a newsletter, and get your “followers” on the 2.0 social networks to subscribe to it, allowing you to communicate with them directly through your email.
Do not spend too much time promoting yourself on the web… because in the end, what is important is your creative process and the message you want to deliver, not just your own self-publicity. As human beings, we need real artists that embrace the humanity we share.
In future posts, we will start to explore new 3.0 apps that can be really useful for authors and artists who want to be pioneers, or are just curious about how they work. Some of them are already fully operational, whilst others are still in a building stage. I will tell you more about it here…
Author and founder of Smartists on Stacks, building a user owned Internet.