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Author Topic: Let's Discuss Art-Centered Social Media  (Read 651 times)
Corrupted Unicorn
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« on: July 09, 2023 @444.34 »

...because let's face it, things are very spread out nowadays, but not in a good way :sad:

  • Instagram only shows you what's most popular due to its algorythm and never shows you all there is of what you're looking for
  • Tumblr is freaking out because of its newfound popularity and its staff is doing... weird things
  • We all know Deviantart is a shadow of what it once was
  • Artstation is too professional-oriented and AI art is also making a mess out of the place
  • And the less we say about Twitter, the better  :tongue:

I've seen attempts at making The Next Big Thing at art-focused social media, but they're still kind of in an early stage. How's Inkblot? And Toyhouse? What about others I haven't heard of? This is a place to discuss all kinds of social media geared towards the arts. For fandoms, professionals, and hobbyists. Any kind. Yes, even if I said Artstation is too professional-oriented, but that's because I'm personally looking for more informal ways to show my art. Doesn't have to apply to you  :dive:

I miss the early deviantart culture, tho. The stamps, the cute pixel art, the llamas, the journals, the emoticons... all the different kinds of artists, good or bad... it was eclectic, but thriving. And then, it tried to look professional, but the people who made 1000 drawings of the same cartoon characters all over again never left. And then a whole mess with AI  :drat:

It's quite stinky when whoever's behind a social media tries to turn the community into something it isn't. Whatever happened to "build it and they will come?" You can't build, say, a Taco Bell, then turn it into a clothes store but still call it Taco Bell, and then complain when people are asking for food and not clothes. Am I derailing this?

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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2023 @467.38 »

Oh man, I felt this. I used to be on DeviantArt and Tumblr all the time, but then they got too... sanitized? corporate? so I left. I tried following artists on Twitter, but it's not really geared towards showcasing art.

There's Mastodon and Pixelfed, but Mastodon has that same issue as Twitter, and I haven't tried Pixelfed long enough to judge it yet. Plus, there's the problems with discoverability, because federation (or lack thereof) can affect how art reaches others.

Maybe artists can post their art on personal websites. But again, there's the issue of discoverability, now on top of hosting and maintaining a website, and not everyone wants to do that.

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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2023 @473.46 »

Out of the platforms you've listed, I've only really used Instagram and I think it's currently the worst one to share art, especially when they started pushing people into making videos. Suddenly I saw artists making 7 seconds low effort meme videos and blowing up, and then making videos saying how they didn't expect to blow up. Things like these showed up to me every day and it really started to annoy me.

There's also another smaller social network made specifically for artists called Artfol, I've tried it but I barely used it because of the bugs, crashes and how slow it was. A lot of people I saw on there were just reposting their works from other social media like Instagram. Also the interface looks a lot similar to Instagram's and after some time they started putting more ads too. The only think I really liked was that sometimes there were events, like during Christmas, and creating a "Draw this In Your Style" was easier thanks to a specific options.
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2023 @567.19 »

This is a subject matter that has been troubling me for a while. Thank you for creating this topic!

As a user who has spent way too much time messing around on DeviantArt (I used to treat that place like my playground, both literally and comically), I miss the old spirit of that platform too. It used to be so much simple, yet so engaging. Now, the more time passes, the more uncomfortable I feel about posting my art on there. It makes changes nobody asks for and I see users complain more than praise. Though I still see the good things DeviantArt has to offer, it has an equal amount of negative aspects which puts it in a very awkward place of mixed feelings, that is, for myself. I like DeviantArt, but I do not like where it is going. I do not enjoy the ride as much as I used to, unfortunately. :sad:

I reckon Tumblr is a nice place to browse and I really like its basic concept, but I personally wouldn't use it to share my art. I find it too messy and it makes me feel stressful for some reason.
Instagram has a variety of things wrong with it, Twitter is Twitter and Artstation is mostly focused on professional work alone.

I have also used Newgrounds aside from DeviantArt, but I upload oddly specific stuff very rarely. However, I think the platform is great and really fun to browse. Then again, it is totally not for everyone.

If I were to make a full list of all the art-centered social media I know of, I would be typing forever. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, probably the best place to share your work is, well, your own (static) website. You have the freedom to basically upload anything you like without restrictions that could otherwise ban you from certain services and you can customise pretty much anything. However, not everyone can create their own site because either of lack of time, knowledge or interest, which is respectable. You cannot suddenly force everyone to make their own sites out of the blue, let alone pull them away from their beloved art-centered social media sites they have always used.

Plus, there's the problems with discoverability, because federation (or lack thereof) can affect how art reaches others.

That is what I was thinking about too. Artists who leave certain social media behind can be easily lost, unless they have a loyal following which is rare to say the least. And these artists often never get the recognition they deserve, which is really upsetting. It also makes their work ten times more difficult than it has to be. How are they going to profit from their art if people rarely see their art? Where you upload your art affects your work. It only makes sense. This applies to the world outside the internet as well. For instance, if you only show your friends your art, nobody but your friends will know about your art. If you show it to some large company, there's a high chance this company will show it to another company and the circle will continue. This is the point of social media after all: social interactions. And as an artist, you need to communicate, especially if your skills and interests go beyond just a part-time hobby. However, that is not always the case, of course. There are plenty of great ways to do art as a job outside social media. They are just a boost. It is just very unfortunate that these means of interaction are falling apart or worsen over time due to product patterns that just do not work anymore. Because some of those means are the only means of profit for some people.

I also find privacy and the amount of control someone can have over their art of high importance. Most big social media sites, art-focused or not, do not respect your privacy at all and sell your data without your consent. Why? Simple. They want to profit off of you. And if they cannot do it with some short of paid subscription or anything similar, they will do it with the data you have given to them and advertisements, which can kill the spirit of sharing art online. Basic info that everyone ought to know but actually doesn't. And sometimes, you just cannot know what you are signing into. At some point, things get dangerous, which is another reason why I am personally withdrawing from certain services.

Another important factor is the "language" of each of these sites. Returning back to the good old pre-Eclipse days of DeviantArt, the "language" was amateurish and messy, which was the reason so many users enjoyed the site. Now that the site looks more professional as others have stated, that "language" is slowly swapping with a new one that pre-Eclipse users do not like and therefore decide leave in search of something similar. Little do they know, there's almost nothing like the old DeviantArt out there (well, unless I am missing something). And even if they find a place somewhat similar, that place could also quickly change its "language" and loose its appeal. And now, artists have no clue where to sign up next because things change too quickly, too unpredictably.

Half a year ago, I made a Mastodon account because of the more trustworthy logic behind the Fediverse. Plus, I liked its "language". So far I have posted whenever I had new art to share and things are pretty chill. But if I had to make a living out of this account or, let's say, become well-known for example, that would be merely impossible with its current state.

I think it is only a matter of time before things improve again. I still have hope. I do not believe that some perfect art-related social media is going pop up out of thin air any time soon, but hey, never say never. :eyes: But what I do believe is that, at some point, people are going to realise what they are doing wrong and seek to improve with one way or another. It is surely not going to be the easiest thing ever and it will require a lot of time, but it has to happen, right?

Wow, what a rant. :ohdear: If you have something to add or go against, I would love to hear it. I am not some kind of expert or anything, it is just how I see the situation myself. I do not want to group and give these social media sites bad impressions, since some of them truly have good features and can improve.

Also, I would love to hear more about your views on both old and new art-centered social media. I am very interested in learning more about them. :grin:

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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2023 @598.53 »

This is a place to discuss all kinds of social media geared towards the arts. For fandoms, professionals, and hobbyists.

Something I haven't seen yet here is TikTok. It doesn't immediately strike us as art-centered because it is not static images, but back in 2020 when I tried it out it had tons of art content and I think it still has. In my view it has a unique position because instead of just presenting static images, artists can show their whole impressive process in an engaging way, with cool music, narration, popping colors or ASMR like visuals. People watch and wanna know what the final product looks like, so they stick through the whole process to be rewarded with the amazing result at the end.

I think even the most mundane and easy art process can be really hyped up on there, which can help artists make more money. Of course, the platform has a lot of other issues (privacy, an especially bad problem with some problematic content, potentially increasing depression and decreasing attention span, a discriminatory algorithm, issues about its continued service in countries all around the world whenever they wanna ban it or have banned it, censorship..) and if you wanna make money off of it you have to wrestle the thought of being one part of keeping people on a service often described as generally toxic, but otherwise, it holds up.

The downside is you really have to get into presenting your art right, interrupting your art process to film, potentially do multiple takes of the same action to get it right, and it can ruin your art process or relationship with your art. It can feel performative and like you are under constant self-inflicted surveillance while you make art, as opposed to just presenting the final piece. But it also can have the effect of making art more fun for you and giving you even more reason to make art daily or at least regularly.

I would love to hear what other artists think of using the platform for their art :smile:

I miss the early deviantart culture, tho. The stamps, the cute pixel art, the llamas, the journals, the emoticons... all the different kinds of artists, good or bad... it was eclectic, but thriving.

This is something I also miss. Entirely subjective, but I have the feeling that hobby artists and professional artists used to get along better on shared platforms. Nowadays the relationship seems tense; professional artists can feel threatened by hobby artists outputting a lot of stuff for free and driving down prices or demand; people are really stingy with paying artists as is, so hobby artists giving away things for free can feel like it is driving the point home that art should not be paid for and artists don't deserve to be compensated. All while hobby artists can get tired of having their art judged as if they wanted to sell it or build a portfolio to make it into a job later down a line. It is hard to publish casual art not meant to get you anywhere and the first lens people see it through is marketability, or if anyone "would pay money for this", with stuff like "who would even want this?" or "if you would do x instead, more people would wanna buy it" when you did not even ask or wanted to sell it in any way.
I feel that used to be better back then, and a bit more supportive relationship between the two.

Artists who leave certain social media behind can be easily lost, unless they have a loyal following which is rare to say the least
That is definitely a big problem. Out of sight, out of mind, when they disappear from feeds. I also think though that even artists who stay on all these platforms sometimes make it hard to really gather all they release. I see so many that are on Instagram, Tumblr, TikTok, and release other stuff on Patreon. So some stuff is only on Insta and Insta stories, some other art creation stuff is on their TikTok, their old archive is on Tumblr, the paywalled stuff on Patreon, and then some even have a YouTube for longform tutorials.. stuff like that. Sometimes they try to do everything right and be present everywhere to get the most exposure in total, but it can feel like they are not fully there on each platform, burn out quicker and harder, and it is hard to support them that way. :sad:

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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2023 @647.89 »

I last used it years and years ago but Toyhouse skewed very much torwards young and hobby artists-which is a good thing for me, since I'm both of those :b But the site only has a single admin who's barely active in moderation or development and the overall UI is not to my tastes. It's also geared entirely torwards people who draw recurring characters and that's just not something I do a lot, and you can't just put up 'general art' unconnected to any characters on there, so it's not much good.
I dunno about any of the others. Inkblot is new to me and looks alright, maybe? I've wanted to hop on Newgrounds for ages but haven't gotten around to it just yet.

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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2023 @684.83 »

The death of artist-centric social media with DeviantArt is genuinely so saddening. I miss so much about DeviantArt culture. Sure, there are different "sides" of social media, including art "sides". But there's no big, popular sites that are solely dedicated to art anymore, no spaces specifically curated to artists and art-enjoyers. Back in the day, if you saw an artist, they had a DeviantArt, because that's just where the artists were. We're more spread out than ever these days.

Of all of the social media you listed, I like tumblr the best for my artist experience. Posts that are years old still get notes today! Meanwhile, posts on other social media platforms die within a few hours...

As for other artist-centric sites, Toyhouse is actually pretty good for this, but it's not for posting art, per say. More like... Storing it. It's meant to be an easy way to store and organize your art for your OCs, and it is super good at that! And it also has a thriving adoptable and design-trading community! But, on the other hand... Most people don't get commissions and/or requests via Toyhouse, and Toyhouse's TOS prevents anything fanart-y from being posted. This even includes "alternate" designs of canon characters. (Though obviously that doesn't stop others, and myself, from using Toyhouse for our alternate designs.)

Upon thinking about all of this one day a few months ago, I decided to look into what I think the best current art-based community is, and, after a lot of looking around, I came to find out about Artfol. It's very straight-forward to use in its layout. Everything about it is tailored to art, and you can tell. Its category and tagging system helps artists get their art seen reliably, it doesn't crop your work unless you ask it to, and you can host and enter art challenges easily (a built-in feature). Its community is on the smaller side compared to how giant DeviantArt was in its hayday, but the community is super engaging and supportive. The algorithm is clear and fair, as well, which is way more than you can say for certain other apps.

Granted, I came to this conclusion before I knew about Inkblot, so I'll have to look more into that before I can once again say that Artfol is the best current art-based platform in my opinion. From a first glance, though, it seems rather promising... I hope that an art-centered platform can once again rise to the ranks of the likes of Twitter or stuff. Hey, maybe if we promise the non-artists DeviantArt-level dramas ripe for 2-hour video essays, we can manage it, right? ;P


« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2023 @699.03 »

It still surprises me that through sheer change, Twitter, of all platforms became the main hub for art on the Internet. Yet again there really wasn't many places for artists to go to with Tumblr's NSFW ban, DeviantArt's bad decision making, and Newgrounds at this point not having its second rise. Not to mention the size of Twitter's userbase made it easy to get enough money from commissions and Patreon subscribers. But now with Musk making Twitter an ever growing military burn pit, it's making me and others wonder where artists will migrate to because with how it's going Twitter will collapse in the near future.

Tumblr, as mentioned in previous posts, is still around though AFAIK the NSFW ban is still around which I'm sure will prevent some artists from using it. DeviantArt I highly doubt given their pro AI art stance. Mastodon is one I hope artists move to, but as Daryl Sun put it best:

There's Mastodon and Pixelfed, but Mastodon has that same issue as Twitter, and I haven't tried Pixelfed long enough to judge it yet. Plus, there's the problems with discoverability, because federation (or lack thereof) can affect how art reaches others.

Newgrounds is the only platform that I can see that has a good chance of becoming where online artists move to. It has a userbase, it's designed for art, and it's currently independent. Though whether or not artists choose to move to it is another question. I've also seen several other art platforms I've never heard of before from various people in this thread. Some of them sound great but it has the same issue of it artists will move to them, even as a precaution given Twitter's actions.

On a somewhat related note (and slight rant), does anyone else wish more artists would offer contacting them via Email for commissions? It's really annoying that few artists do this because it makes it so I have to sign up for a platform I might not want to sign up for just to even contact them.
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2023 @725.23 »

This topic has been on my mind for a long time now since I set foot into digital drawing. As others have pointed out, there is a clear divide between professionals and hobbyists, and it's unfortunate that people have to navigate this odd binary. New plattforms all struggle to give both kinds of artists a home to post their art on. I believe that none of the plattforms were created for, and even with hobby artists, which is a shame. Whenever I enter one of these spaces, there is this urge to present myself as marketable as possible. Others thrive on this idea, but I certainly don't. I wish there was a public space to actively engage with personal experiences with art regardless of the produced artwork. Something that takes the focus away from the finished drawing, for instance. I hope that digital movements like the web revival may spark more ideas in that regard! To rethink what we value in a virtual art experience!

Since TikTok was mentioned, I'd like to point out that funnily enough, I feel like the first hours on ArtTok felt a lot like the old DeviantArt days. People posted the most wonderful things, and there were great intersections with other communities. Just thinking about DabloonTok makes me very happy. However, as soon as the algorithm kept introducing more people into this type of content, the bullying became unbearable. I saw so many people calling out artists who drew their characters in a way that didn't cater to the market gaze. Hell, when people made fun of old manga I was so upset.The moment people openly voice their uncalled takes on "what art should look like", are great indicators of when things are becoming weird, I believe.

As for myself, I never clicked with any art community online, unfortunately. I put way too much through into everything I posted, and caught myself wondering about what would be popular among viewers. It all hindered my process, and the only thing I really got from it were a couple of wonderful friends, and a second social media addiction. I did not like it. Toyhouse especially felt very uncomfortable to me, and it was not the fact that people over there are learning bootstrap. It's the lack of moderation, pricing of characters, and prevalence of something like a closed species which really rubs me the wrong way, unfortunately. But that may be an interesting topic to discuss in another thread!

I would love to encourage everyone, including myself, to take a look into local artist groups. I feel like, especially with out art, we should appreciate local communities much more. It might be worth embracing a less competetive environment with actual face-to-face feedback. I really don't want to "blow up". I just want to art and it with people who appreciate it!

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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2023 @60.64 »

Ahhh art sites... I've been bouncing around a lot lately and it feels like everything has something that turns me off. I'm currently the most on Furaffinity, and for the most part, I think it's the best thing I have right now as all my favorite artists are on there and I can post the occasional adult art on there if I want to. I understand that a site known for adult furry art is not everyone's cup of tea, though, and I do wish for a more general art site. But this came after a few years of bouncing between different art start ups and seeing them all fail.

My favorites were SheezyArt 2 and BuzzlyArt, but SheezyArt2 was shut down and BuzzlyArt became a pot roast of controversy and the devs started deleting anyone who disagreed with them. They were very much like old-school DeviantArt and, in my opinion, are the platonic ideal of an social media gallery site. It's frustrated me endlessly that all these other gallery site start ups try to reinvent the wheel, focus primarily or entirely on mobile users, or have sites so poorly coded that they crash even a gaming computer's browsers. That, or they have some rules I am very opposed to and don't want my art on a site like that. It's very hard to find anything even worthwhile and it's why I started developing my own website, so even if I jumped sites, I still had a "home" of all the art I've made and can showcase.

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