Putting yourself out there

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Heidi's avatar
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The Internet is the great equalizer. Household names used to be people we saw on TV, in movies, or writers of the most famous books and syndicated articles. Now, it's not strange for a YouTube personality, online cooking blogger, or comedy tweeter with a 9-to-5 job to be mentioned around the dinner table.

Often these online personalities are a lot more approachable online than celebrities for the simple fact that they engage with their fans. Sure, some celebrities are pretty good about replying on Facebook or Twitter, and, yes, submitting something to an ESPN anchor might get you a shoutout on TV, but for the large part, people who are active online want to talk to you, want to converse, want your feedback, and want to engage.

Kind of like in real life, sitting on the sidelines and cruising the Internet silently is a fine way to get information, but to get that real kindred connection, you need to participate. And, better than real life, you can delete and edit your responses and include humorous and relevant .gifs, all at the push of a button. I've tried re-creating .gifs in real life. It doesn't translate.

With Internet engagement, you get what you give. The most famous artists on DeviantArt didn't get where they are today by sitting back and holding court. They do have amazing talent to back them up, but they were chatting and fave-ing and putting themselves out there just like you. Many artists and writers love getting prompts and feedback from their fans, and a lot integrate fan suggestions into future works. And still others — just like you — simply rely on kind comments as encouragement and inspiration to keep going and creating.

It's not all about "just putting yourself out there." Have you ever watched a journalist on Twitter, maybe someone who works for a popular publication, who does nothing but tweet their own articles? It's nice that they're broadening their reach by having a million fans, but why are they only watching four people? That pretty much means they don't use Twitter at all… or they like really clean feeds. Why do they never reply to tweets, even genuine or complimentary questions, or comments from their peers? It's like their editor just recommended this new Twitter thing, and they just blindly checked the box "Republish all my articles" without ever visiting Twitter again. It works, but for how long?

Even the most established artists, writers, and other creators don't rest on their laurels, awaiting the next big epiphany. They're constantly engaging with their audience, keeping their finger on the pulse of what their fans like to see from them and want to see more of. On DeviantArt especially, Livestreams and tutorials are a way they can give back — to chat with their fans, teach them, and strengthen their brand. They're doing it right.

Finally, whether you're an established artist, an up-and-coming superstar, or just someone who has interesting and evocative opinions you want to share with the world, the key is to be authentic. It's not enough to just blurt out "Like my status if you think sharks are cool" and wait for the fans to roll in. (Okay, bad example… sharks are pretty cool.) You can't sign up for a new site and say "Watch me Livestream! I'm great! Promise!" You can integrate yourself into the community, find people you look up to, who make you better, and build a fan base around conversation and trust. It works. Fans appreciate being heard, and you'll appreciate having a living, breathing connection to everyone who wants to support you in your path to success.

Added to my devWatch!  My +Watch Forever for talented deviants who are doing it right:

celesse
elsevilla
griffsnuff
kiki-doodle 
loish 
Memnalar 
nebezial
PascalCampion
Qinni
Ry-Spirit 
sandara
saniika
TsaoShin
Willow-San
yuumei 

~Heidi

P.S. - You are cool, and I am proud of you.

Comments48
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AngelSilva23's avatar
Bruh that's the hardest challenge ever
nightmare56394's avatar
It’s good to know people are willing to help speaking of which I would like to hear some feedback on my book series if anyone wants to help out give me your opinion you are welcome to do so
StarMakerNeo's avatar
It doesn't always work though... I've been incredibly interactive, and I only get 2-6 faves a picture, usually the same people. I just want people who can help me grow as an artist!! I do love those few active people, but my DA friends are the majority of my friends... ;_;
ElvinGearMaster's avatar
Well, it does take time for your art to get out there. For example. before I had a user, I found this one guy with amazing art. But he had the minimum people faving, commenting and watching him. But he kept on posting. One day I shall stumble upon his user again and this time I can tell him how great his art is.
Just keep on drawing and someday people will see your amazing art. :D
Good luck!
TheCreativeJenn's avatar
You are cool as well. :heart:
HeidiHassing's avatar
Honestly, I haven't really put myself out there online since I was 13 years old and I had a whole forum tell me my poetry was terrible and I should just kill myself... kinda scars a kid... and of course my poems were terrible! I was 13 years old! What else could they be?! Point is I haven't really interacted with people online since then even though I'm on it all day long. I have a Tumblr, but I only have 2 followers which even I know isn't good. My only followers on here are friends from school, so I'm not exactly a "member of the DeviantArt community." Maybe with this comment I can start being ever-so-slightly outgoing. Maaaybe... 

Also, you have a wonderful name, Heidi!

Have a nice day!
Goblethowl's avatar
That forum must have been filled with terrible people then. I may not know what your poetry was like then, but I do know I love your poetry from now! Keep on writing, and I do hope you get noticed for it (in a good way, of course!). :)
HeidiHassing's avatar
Thanks! I think My Generation is the only good poem on here right now, but that will change I promise! And yeah, it was a terrible forum on an unforgiving website that if I'd go on it today I'm sure I'd be fine, but as a wee 12-14 year old, I wasn't ready for all those negative comments. 
Rhyn-Art's avatar
You're awesome
LunarMew's avatar
...I'll think about it. XD

It's actually very difficult for me because I am timid online and offline. I have a hard time conversing with people, therefore I can't self advertise for the life of me.
TheGalleryOfEve's avatar
Thank you for writing this article, it's very helpful dear :iconflyingheartsplz::iconsweethugplz::iconflyingheartsplz:
Willow-San's avatar
Thank you very much for the mention! :love:
I also agree, just posting you art on the internet isn't enough. Interaction with fans, others artists or else is very important! I wish I could do more (unfortunately time is often a limiting factor :<)
Ry-Spirit's avatar
And never lose that passion! Many people give up too early or too easily if they don't get a lot of attention instantly and they feel defeated. So yeah you just gota keep doing what you do and gota keep improving yourself also :D
mikeanthony321's avatar
It can be harder than it sounds.  :/
3Ravens98's avatar
Very true. Nice article. :la:
Cimenord's avatar
That's a solid statement about deviantart and artist around this websites they tend to be more sociable and for this reason anyone can make a name of themselves if they work hard and got a good self believin' ^^ 
Great piece of mind point of view ;3  
celesse's avatar
Thank you for the mention! I'm glad to hear that I'm doing it right :) Whatever it is that I'm doing! :lol: Sometimes I feel like I have no clue! But I'm doing my best so I'm glad that shows! :heart:
Elandria's avatar
All of the yesses :D \ o /
KovoWolf's avatar
:hug: this is great and I love this article for what it presents! Great advice Heidi!
elsevilla's avatar
TsaoShin's avatar
Oh wow thank you so much for mentioning me! I'm incredibly honored :)  I totally agree with building a community based on two way interaction between creators and appreciators.  That bond keeps me here and keeps me motivated!  
Moonbeam13's avatar
Wise and sage advice! This sort of engagement is was makes DeviantArt so special :) P.S. You're pretty cool too.
Kiwikku's avatar
Great advice!
WDWParksGal-Stock's avatar
Well said. There are people I follow via Google+ and LinkedIN but after never getting feedback outside of their personal promotions, I became disinterested in their postings. True community corresponds with each other, gives back and shares the ups and downs of life :hug:
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