Several months ago I was approached by a woman on Instagram to a join an online group she was starting. This was a group of female artist, and the group was established for us all to help one another gain more exposure and followers. We have all heard about the complex algorithms of social media, the thought was to play into them by liking and commenting for one another. I thought it over for a bit and decided to join, as I was quite intrigued.
At first I saw this as a chore. Ok, one more thing to add to my- to do list! I would sometimes dread when I saw I had a direct message, because I knew what it meant, someone wanted something from me. I have no idea what my attitude was about, I mean it’s just a simple double tap and a short comment.
The numbers geek in me decided to track followers and likes on the posts I shared with the group against the ones I did not share. After a few months I really didn’t see any difference and I was going to let the group know that I just had too much on my plate, and I would have to leave the group and wish them all well. I am embarrassed to say that I was looking at this group like a business transaction. (Sorry ladies, please forgive me, I have changed my ways. And like always I use the term “ladies” loosely HAHAHAHA) But something kept me from leaving the group. I felt once I left I could never go back, was I ready for that? I sat on this idea for a while, and then really thought about this group. The truth is, it felt really nice to get comments about my work, even if I felt they were only doing it out of obligation. It also felt good to give other artists nice comments as well.
I decided to stay in this group and stop tracking and worrying about the numbers or what I was getting out of it. Just do it, it is a nice thing to do. Then everything started to shift. Little by little we all started to share more than just our posts. We began to share a little about our lives, and our journey, and why we create art. We found out that we all had so much in common. That is when I realized I gained so much more than followers, I have gained friendships, advice, and encouragement.
These amazing women have encouraged me to post more videos. I see them trying new things and it has inspired me to step outside of my comfort zone and try some new glaze techniques. One of the painters in the group uses color so boldly and freely it gives me the freedom to boldly mix colors as well. I am so grateful that I was invited and included among such amazing artists and women. I am grateful for that little voice in my head that told me not to leave the group, and I am grateful that I listened. I have gained followers from this group, but it is because of their guidance and encouragement, and not from any algorithm.
This is what social media should be used for, to really connect us to all kinds of people who lift us up. It should not be used to make us feel we aren’t good enough or thin enough or all the other things people feel after scrolling for hours. If someone encourages you with their story, let them know, connect and keep following them. If someone makes you feel bad about yourself, whether they mean to or not, unfollow. It’s time we stop torturing ourselves with social media and start to use it to enrich our lives.
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Artist and Owner of Off Your Rocker Pottery