A deep dive into the pros and cons of open and closed social media platforms, and the importance of having goals as an artist. ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ ͏ ‌     ­ This newsletter is about drawing. It goes out every Friday. Want to draw? Then check out my free workbook!

#1 - Why I Am Now On YouTube, Some Thoughts On The Relative Merits Of Different Platforms For Artists

A deep dive into the pros and cons of open and closed social media platforms, and the importance of having goals as an artist.

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You need to set goals in life, but the thing is, which goal you choose doesn’t actually matter as much. This is because actually reaching a goal isn’t that much fun. I mean, it feels great for a short while, but then you feel empty inside and you’re rudderless, without direction. What to do now?

Goals are a way to gamify your life.

Goals are like a beacon you can aim your efforts at. It’s like when you play a computer game: you set yourself the goal of completing a level--a completely arbitrary goal. But it is an excuse to do something you enjoy doing: playing that game. When you complete the level, when you reach that goal, then what? The game quickly provides you with a next, slightly more difficult level to sink your teeth in, so you can have more fun playing the game.

That’s a role goals can play in your life too: they can be a guiding light, showing you a direction, while you get a chance to do something you enjoy doing on the way to achieving that goal. It can give you an excuse to do something fun.

Goals are a way to gamify your life.With my Instagram, I had originally set the goal of understanding how growing an account worked. It was fun, and I learned a lot! It did grow to 39k followers at a point--it has dropped a bit since. But I had achieved the goal. Now what? Also, posting wasn’t as much fun anymore as the statistics can really bring you down if you let it. So I mostly stopped posting on Instagram. Incidentally, the Instagram CEO said that their platform is going to shift from being photo-based to being video-based, so if you want to reach an audience there, you’re probably going to have to switch to making IGTV or Reels.

I switched to YouTube. The next beacon! Is YouTube different?

Yes! Yes, it is. Considerably.

It’s massive, it’s enormous. The second-largest search engine on the web! And there is such a thing as an evergreen: if you make a really good video, there is a chance YouTube shows it to people years later. And making these videos is more fun than I had expected. In addition, you get way more statistics. Seeing how long people keep watching, and where they stop watching, was particularly enlightening.

Stats there are going down and I think that is because I had scheduled posts, and it just shows your posts to fewer people if you do that. So I guess I have to stop scheduling posts.

There is a Creator Academy where YouTube tells you exactly what you should or should not do. This was a breath of fresh air for me. Instagram does not tell you, and tries to work against you growing your account. If something works for a while, and people find out it works, Instagram moves in to make sure it doesn’t work anymore. YouTube does actively try to help you grow your account, if people watch your video for a long time. This is of course in their best interest: they can show more videos.

But I did learn some disturbing things. There are disadvantages to growing on YouTube that aren’t there on Instagram, mainly, I think because Instagram is a closed system and YouTube is on the internet, in the open.

For one, if your account becomes big, hackers will befriend you and get you to click on a link eventually--and boom, they hacked your account and have taken over. They hide your videos and ask for ransom money. This is problematic also because your YouTube account is linked to your general Google account. I don’t relish the thought of hackers going after me.

And really large YouTube accounts sometimes have stalkers, which sounds scary to me and would be a threat to my safety and the safety of my family.

And if you are a big account, there will be people who will start to impersonate you to get your fans to send them money and that sort of thing. Not something I look forward to.

You don’t get those on Instagram because it’s such a closed system. If you want to stalk someone, good luck finding out in which country someone lives even. If you are a hacker wanting people to click on a link, good luck even creating a link people can click on.

So I was thinking, should I even continue to try to grow my YouTube channel?

The answer is yes, because it is fun, and it will stay small anyway. Who am I kidding.

A new thing I am trying: YouTube podcast videos. The idea is that you can draw while listening to them. It is fun to make these and it feels satisfying to complete them. Like completing a computer game level.

Gamifying my life!

Do you have goals, and do you experience the road toward it as being fun?

My Favorite Drawing Exercises

As a fun challenge, come up with a campaign: a campaign has a start, an end, and an activity with the intent to work to a certain end goal.

The activity can be related to an artistic goal. For example, you can draw one hundred heads to become better at drawing heads. Or you can draw comics for one hundred days.

The activity can also be related to a commercial goal. For example, you can try to post on a social media platform to see if that attracts an audience.

One important part about it is that you set an end date after which you can evaluate the campaign. How did it go? Was it successful, and if not, why not? What do you want to change? Or do you want to try something radically different?

The duration of the campaign can depend on the goal. You can have a campaign for a day, week, month, six months, or more. However, I would suggest starting with short campaigns.

By setting an end date, you make sure you don’t keep going down a wrong path. Learn from it, adjust, and try another thing.



I wrote this on whether you should specialize, or become a generalist.

I also wrote this on gamifying your art creation process.

This article dives into how to create habits, where a habit can be seen as a campaign too with a start and end, after which the activity is evaluated, and a decision made on how to move on.

In this article, I dive further into what we artists can learn from making YouTube videos.

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