For some time I have wanted to write about ideas that I have as to why we don't get the likes and favorites or followers that we see others get.
I want to rule out the obvious things like acting unpleasantly (which I think we have all been guilty of doing at some point), having little skill, and not having high-level clients whose product spreads your name
1. Language Barrier- You might not have thought about it, but if someone doesn't speak your language there is no way they can comment on your image. In some cases, we are completely segregated from other
parts of the net in different countries depending on how you type in the address, meaning you don't get search results for anything but your country. Hopefully that helps to illustrate that few people outside
of where you live will see your images unless specifically searching for them. I have an uncommon name, and still when I search myself it barely finds anything about me except this profile.
2. Fans- Some people are not general art fans, but fans of a specific franchise. These users will only like something if it is their absolute favorite thing. If it's not SSJ Goku 4 from DBGT they are not going to
favorite that image. These are usually teenagers, and as they get older their tastes will broaden and they will start to like many more styles.
3. Reputation- This one is a bit tricky to think about, because of course we can never be sure. I think that many of the high-level artists will not favorite things because they know that social media pushes the
fact that someone liked an image or comment to other users. So basically you like an image and now everyone that follows you sees a tweet that you liked it. The high level artist may think that liking a low-skill
piece of art will make it look as though they approve of having a lower standard, thus affecting reputation.
The reason this theory is only half-hearted is that I really believe that these artists are so good that they just genuinely have a high bar, which is not only ok, it's great. It's probably a mix of both honestly.
4. Communication- I don't mean how you act, as I prefaced earlier, but the fact that you need to communicate regularly. This is one of the biggest things I've learned lately. It is a lot of work, however, and
will take a long time before you connect with those really good people for you. I still have not done this. This is a good place to tie in algorithms. I didn't really believe the stuff I had heard before about algorithms
making it difficult for small time artists/business owners to become well known. After studying on it for some time, I have lined up the timing in my own life and realized how my likes/etc. have been affected.
I took a long break from social media and it happened to coincide with the algorithmic crackdown. This made it hard to notice, as I thought the downturn was due to my absence. I'm sure that was part of it, but
there has been an absolute nose-dive on every site for me and many others. It's pretty undeniable.
Here's the big one. Because if you're like me, you don't assume that a high amount of views means it was a good image. If I have a high amount of views but low favorites I assume it was bad. It's sort of confusing. Did they look at it because it was so bad? Most likely, no. It was probably the next point.
5. Unregistered (ghost) users- DA is a good example of this one-if someone is using a search engine or an app not signed-in, it will count as a view, but as they are not registered they cannot favorite or comment at all. Some people just will not be bothered to make a user account, and they don't need to do so as they do not actually practice art but are a fan of it. So now, when the same user goes back to look at the same image again, it counts as another view with no favorite. This is where you may see the download amount increase. I've noticed on much of my art and other artists' that the most common ratio of views to favorites is ten percent. If a ghost user downloads your image from google search rather than from DA it will not count the download, however, I'm not sure how views are affected if the user only clicks on the image but does not actually go to DA. I'm fairly sure that it does count. If you are using Instagram to share on Twitter, it posts a link where the user must click to even see the image. This draws traffic to IG.
The bad part is that many users are registered on one platform but not the other.
6. Platform-specific concepts- Different social sites have different reasons why you may not be seeing favorites.
Tumblr- I think many have abandoned it, but mostly it is ruled by very cartoon styles (like Calarts) looking very much like Cartoon Network animation, and most users are female. If your style isn't this exactly, don't bother.
Twitter-Twitter is a big subject. Art world famous doesn't compare to total world famous. On Twitter you are not only competing for attention with your own fans and your own heroes, but you are
competing with the big name celebrity rappers and actors. Beyond that, it is not an image-only platform, and images are very much the minority compared to text tweets. It's just too big of an ocean. You need to gain a fanbase on other sites first. Probably not until you are really well known and getting regular work, so then what is the point of trying to attain fame when you are living comfortably?
Deviantart- DA is getting harder to understand by the minute. My likes and views are a small fraction of what they were five years ago. I think I've gotten more skillful since then. Definitely communication matters
here. Posting in groups and doing fanart seems 100% necessary in my mind, as I get almost nothing on original art, usually literally 0 likes. Hastags are completely useless on this site. Many times group
administrators make it hard to get things done, especially as many times they completely abandon the group, as they are not usually artists and eventually lose interest. DA has a noticeable bias towards liking
anime, again likely (definitely) to teenagers.
Instagram-This one is huge on the algorithm. Since it is connected to Facebook,(which was why I didn't use it for years until recently) advertising is a big deal for that site, and they are going to steer towards the big names to make money. You are also in a huge ocean here, competing with the big world fame. Hashtags are an absolute must just to get a small amount of likes. compared to the 0 likes that my images
get on twitter ten on IG seems amazing. The upside to this concept is that once you do get well known your business/popularity will benefit more than it would otherwise and grow faster.
Artstation- Artstation is the easiest of all to understand. Are you world famous? Are you one of the best artists in the world? No? Then don't bother with Artstation. It will only crush your soul. If an artist is good enough to be remotely successful there then they are already so well known that there is no point in them even making the account. It is strictly a very professional portfolio site that limits your interaction with
other artists in an effort to promote harmony between users. Only post your very best work and be extremely careful what you comment to people.
Many of these things are out of our control, and it's frustrating, but I detail these ideas in the hopes that it will make you feel better that it's probably not your fault, and that you're better than you think you are.
Feel free to tell me what you think about these ideas. They are only my theories and by no means am I ready to defend any of them to death, and therefore there can be no arguing etc. Especially comment if you have any ideas to add to this.