Bit of a depressing thought really, but I have been a member here for a decade now and over the last year or 2 I have slowly begun to get the impression that it's no longer the vibrant community it used to be. I usually logon once a day to check the daily deviations, watch lists and notifications from favourite artists and see birthdays etc.. but it just does not seem the same anymore...
To illustrate my gut feeling....
- Every day I find less and less new artists that I would be interested in following. I don't think it's because I have a limited art type that I like. My favourites are covered with everything from photography, comics, illustrations and even sculpture and cartography. Granted I have been here for a decade, but where is all the new blood? Used to be one or two new artists a week that I would follow... (I follow almost 1000 with almost 4000 favourites) but now its down to maybe one or two a month if that.
- Artists I follow are posting less and less or have simply stopped. Was looking through some of my old favourite favourites (couldn't resist) and realised that a lot of the artists I really enjoyed no longer post here... Most are now on instagram or facebook (arggh) or even places like ArtStation. I realise that a lot of people are also now trying to monetise their work through things like Patreon (no problem with that) but even the casual / non-commercial artists have stopped posting here.
- The daily deviations are becoming boring. The same types of images in the same categories, one illustration, one photograph, one anime style, one computer generated... Occasionally something really good, but generally what is supposed to be the best of the day is just lacklustre and not worth more than a glance... It's almost as if the curators have stopped trying to find something really interesting/brilliant/cool/creative or they having noticed the same lack of new art and are just sticking to a tried and tested recipe in the hopes no-one will notice.
- Browsing whats hot, undiscovered etc, all seem to show images getting tens and hundreds of favourites/likes rather than the thousands they used to get. This may just be me. But I could have sworn that popular images used to get thousands of likes... not hundreds... Is this because the art is worse than it used to be? Or is it just that people don't use the site anymore - even to browse art?
- Site Design & usability. Seriously... I am all for not fixing what is not broken but DeviantArt is one of the most old fashioned websites around... What are the people behind the scenes actually doing? Yes, Yes, I know they are supposedly working on something new, but that's been years (Like Steam games that stay in Early Access forever).
I am sure that there are many underlying reasons for some of my observations. Art theft, better alternative sites, commercialisation options and various other things but DeviantArt really isn't what it used to be and I don't think anyone running the show is actually doing anything about it... at least not demonstrably so.
Anyone else feeling the same?