I tend to “overthink” a lot of things, which makes social media a very hellish place for me. I like to try to avoid it but I find it nearly impossible, especially if I want to stay current on what’s happening with friends and whatnot.
One thing about social media that presents a major creative block for me is what I perceive to be a pressure to prove ourselves. I grind my teeth any time I see something that is clearly an effort to increase clout. There are likely a number of assumptions on my end when I think this way, of course, but I do believe the common pressure on artists to “network” and show our connections with more established and celebrated people is very draining.
We shouldn’t need to play the game of phoney friendships and performative “ladder climbing”. The work we do should have merit and be recognized as valuable on its own. Trying to get to know important people and have them promote our work can be disingenuous and incredibly inaccessible for many of us, yet there is still an understanding of that being “part of the gig”.
There’s benefit to building connections, of course, and often artists obtain a dedicated following simply because of their amazing work, but social media is so often full of desperation.
I think it’s good to remind ourselves that we don’t need the approval of others to make a creative impact, but on the flip side, if we do have a decent following, it’s important to support other artists on our platforms. I just feel that this process could use a bit more transparency and humility, thereby facilitating access to such platforms. For example, artists with a large following can recognize that privilege, do some heavy lifting, and open more doors for others.
Emerging artists spending so much time trying to get their work in front of more people could then focus more on the strength of their work than the strength of their schmoozing.