I'm moving my focus away from dA and to other platforms. You may still hear from me occasionally on here, but if you'd still like to see my stuff and talk to me on a more recurring basis please follow me at one of these places:My Tumblr
- TwitterNow for the long-winded rambling about my motivation! Wooooo.
I was talking to some friends of mine about my dA account a couple of weeks ago. I was talking about how frustrated I've started to become, and I was surprised at how much I had to say. They responded by saying it sounds like this site isn't doing much for me anymore, and perhaps I should move on, which I think is some good advice.
Now, don't get me wrong, "move on" doesn't mean abandon my account in a rush of dArama ranting about policy violations, unfair mods, and how nobody cares before deleting every deviation in my gallery; that's the opposite of what I want! "Move on" means focusing on creating communities elsewhere, and showcasing my art in ways that feel more natural to me and which provides me with a greater amount of satisfaction from the process.
One of the main thing I realized: dA isn't the same site I joined seven years ago. Seven years ago the site was still focused on skinning and customization, with the fine art portion of the site all lumped into one category: "Indy Art". I don't know how many of you remember that!
Remember when the site was so uncomplicated that they kept past layouts around as different CSS styles you could switch between on your settings page? Or when the prints feature first appeared only for people who paid the 1-time $25 fee, or when "large thumbnails" came out and become one of the sole reasons I wanted a subscription to dA (Thumbnails used to be 100x100px. Remember?
Then there was the jark
drama, which saw the greatest collective action of this community I've ever seen. After that they brought out scraps, critiques, gallery folders, massive amounts of profile page customization... all not too bad.
Then there were the most recent changes: "Featured" deviations, portfolio pages, llamas, the point system, Muro... all of which really don't have any real relevance to me.
Remember when spyed
made the announcement that dA was now a "Corporation", which, by definition, meant they were in it to make profit for their shareholders? What rolled out after that? Prints for EVERYONE, dA merchandise, dA meets, groups (also with subscription options), the point system, "badges"... again, none of it had any relevance to me, someone who was here to interact with friends and share my art.
DeviantART has turned more and more into a place meant for consuming rather than communicating. Remember the Main Page Shout Box? No? They got rid of it a few years ago, but it was always fun to go there and refresh the page, watching this highly random conversation take place. But even so, I've noticed a change, and when I used to feel like an active member of a community who was participating in this place devoted to art; now I feel like a client, a customer they're continually trying to get money out of with their massive "sale!!" spam over Christmas. The amount of people asking for point donations on their main page in lieu of comments/thank yous is another example.
Anyway, these are just my personal opinions, and I don't mind if you disagree. Things change, especially when you grow as big as dA has become; I don't think they would have been able to survive if they had remained grassroots. They need the massive amount of money they make to pay the people who man the help desk, and to keep all the servers running to store and deliver these millions upon millions of pieces of art. It's quite an accomplishment these days to take something that is provided for free online and make money on it, through subscription sales, overpriced prints, merchandise, print base price gouging, etc.. They deserve a lot of credit.
But with the shift come the feeling that I just don't matter so much anymore. I used to feel secure in the feeling that, if I ever had a problem, all I needed to do was note a gallery mod or a help desk operator and I'd be spoken to one on one. Now I feel like another bunch of numbers in their database, someone they need to placate if they worry about me at all; which of course, comes with the territory.
I am annoyed with a few things. Policy things, transparency things, motivations, favouritism, all the stuff everyone else worries about when things grow too big. But when it comes down to it, I just don't really feel welcome here anymore. I upload my art, and I feel it just gets lost. I lost a massive (rather surprising) amount of my audience when I turned away from "OMG UNICRONS PONIES WOLFIES DRAGGIES LARFLARFLARF" round about 2005/2006 and started doing new things that made me happy, and I haven't really gotten any of that audience back. Of course part of that is my fault; perhaps I don't put myself out there enough, or I'm not active enough, or or or...
Well, I tried to fix that. I figured, "Well, *my* watchers don't seem to like my stuff as much as they used to, perhaps I can try out these new Group thingies I've been hearing about and send it to people who subscribe to seeing such content". So, I did that. However, I was shocked when I signed up for a couple of groups and suddenly my inbox was being flooded every day with dozens and dozens of uploads from people ALSO submitting to those groups. I realized my deviations were being lost in those floods, and that anyone who was watching these groups would be skimming over them just like I was having to do every day. I didn't have the time to go through that many deviations every day, so I had to cancel the Deviations feed on them; which made me feel like a horrible, horrible leecher. And to boot, the only increase in exposure for my art were a few faves and a couple simple comments, but no new watches or anything permanent. I realized to keep up that level of new feedback I'd have to keep doing this with every new piece I upload, which was such a daunting and depressing task I stopped rather quickly. I guess some people are more comfortable watching groups catering to genres they enjoy, rather than using them as a platform to find artists they enjoy and watching them.
Anyway, despite my whining, I do love dA for all the things it gave me when I first joined. I know that moving my focus away from this site and to another platform, like my Tumblr, is going to lose me what small amount of audience I have left on here. But I'll feel better, I'll feel more free to share anything I make, and hopefully I'll be able to build up a new audience over time of people who genuinely like my stuff. It's a lofty goal, and I don't really expect myself to accomplish it, but at least I can focus on art again and communicating with others without having to deal with my lingering annoyances with dA.
I'll keep coming back to view my messages and keep up with the many people I watch; I love their art, and as long as they keep posting I'll come back to see it. And you can still reach me here if you need to, since I'll probably log on at least once a day. But as far as uploading art goes: unless I deem it's worth it to upload (which for a long time now hasn't been worth the effort based on the reception I get), there probably won't be much art of mine showing up here anymore.
Right, I should probably wind this down... I sincerely doubt anyone has actually read this far, hehe. If you have, thank you so much for reading, I really appreciate it! I have to get back to work.
Again, if for whatever reason you still want to follow me in my journey of discovering what kind of artist I want to be, by all means follow me at any of the links at the top of this entry. You have no idea how happy I'll be if you do.
Have a good one!
~ Rheall (aka. Heather)