Happy Hunter S. Thompson’s Birthday Day! He was born in 1937, so he would have been 81 years old today! (I wish we still had his WIT to help keep us sane…)
In unrelated “news,” I thought I’d write a little bit today about my recent online activities, and maybe try to get a feel for what’s working and what’s less than useful. As anyone who has looked at the P.E.W.’s “Connections and Links” page knows, I’ve tried to use a variety of online tools to spread the DEEPLY EXCITING WORD of PRIMITIVITY (as well as a handful of “out in the REAL WORLD” techniques, but I’m waiting to discuss those experiences on a different day.)
The main site I use, my HOME BASE (if you remember playing tag as a kid), is still WordPress. I paid the hundred bucks back in December for the “Premium” plan, which took away the adverts and gave me a lot more SPACE for uploading images and such, and I’m pretty happy with all that. At the moment, The Primitive Entertainment Workshop has 6,571 posts (6,572 after I post this one); 1,563 followers; and I get somewhere between 50 and 80 or 90 views per day (sometimes as many as 100, but not often.) I think I post 4 or 5 things per day, maybe more, and most of these posts are sketchy artwork, photographs of events or junk that caught my eye, stories and poems, and the occasional rant or personal essay. On this site, most individual posts will get around 8 or 10 “views,” and maybe 4 to 7 “likes.” Sometimes fewer, and every once-in-a-while, a post will get some traction and get a dozen or two dozen “likes,” and sometimes a secondary web service (like StumbleUpon) with grab one of my posts and it will suddenly get 30 or 40 views—in a few cases as many as a couple hundred, although most of these “views” don’t turn into “likes.”
Also strange, it seems pretty RARE for a post that is more than a few days old to get any attention after the first 48 hours of it being posted. This MIGHT be because I post a lot and stuff gets buried, although I do TAG my posts, which is supposed to make them searchable… But with a few odd exceptions, once a post scrolls off the bottom of the page, it’s pretty much gone and forgotten. Does this happen to everyone, or is it just me???
There are a few other sites that I post to, almost as a matter of habit (and to spread the exciting word), but which almost NEVER garner any notice from the world. Sites like G+, Pinterest, and Tumblr just don’t seem to like me. Twitter is just a bit better for me, but not THAT exciting. And then there’s also Blogger.com, which I stopped using, even though I’ve had several blogs there over the last 15 years. I just never got any traction there. Massive effort with almost ZERO return.
I HATE Reddit. (I used to post to Reddit, but I kept getting banned for weird things, like posting abstract art in an abstract art thread or for posting cartoons to the cartoons thread. Fuckers.)
Facebook is a weird one. Most of the people who I “follow” on Facebook, and most of the people who follow me back, are family or friends. I have a handful of people I’ve “met” through online artistic endeavors that I’ve connected with on Facebook, but it’s not really much of a CREATIVE site for me. I can take a picture of my daughters and get 40 or 50 “likes” and such, but if I post my stories or drawings there, I get zero likes, maybe 2 or 3 with a real big “hit.” It’s funny, as a lot of the articles that I’ve read online say that Facebook is essential for an artistic career, but I guess I’m not using it right. (I sure don’t have an artistic CAREER…) The same thing with G+ and Tumblr and so on. I guess I just don’t know how to WORK those sites.
I’m pretty new to Instagram, but I kinda like it. It’s weird not being able to post from a computer, as you are supposed to use a “mobile” device for the service, but I’ve currently got 220 followers (although that number tends to fluctuate, up and down, almost daily.) I don’t know how many “views” each of my posts get (or how many views I’ve had overall…I guess that’s not important for Instagrammers,) but the average drawing or photo that I post there gets anywhere from 5 to 10 “likes” and a good post gets as many as 20! (That’s more positive feedback than most of my work gets on WordPress.)
StumbleUpon, which is supposedly closing its virtual doors soon, is still a big one for me. That service has sent literally hundreds of views per month in my direction (some months over a thousand), which is a pretty substantial number of people for me. (When it closes, my WordPress numbers will drop.) StumbleUpon is also still suggests that it’s users move over to Mix.com, and I have done that, but it’s still a fairly new service, so it hasn’t got very many participants yet (If I’m not mistaken… I honestly haven’t done any research to back that statement up.) I like the service, which allows you to make “collections” of different posts about whatever topic you’re interested in. Unfortunately, though, I’m not real sure how to view other USERS’ profiles. I don’t have any followers, nor have I followed anyone, and this is because there isn’t an intuitive way to look for other users that I can see. There is a “search” field for people, but you have to know a name to type in for it to work. (I think.) Maybe as I use the site more, it will make more sense to me.
My favorite non-WordPress site at the moment is Ello! I like the layout, it’s got a lot of art type junk for me to enjoy, and the layout of the individual user’s portfolio-style home page is pretty cool. Plus, I get anywhere from 60 or 70, maybe up to 150 “views” on an average post. A popular post can quickly reach 500 or 600 views in just a week or two. I have several posts with more than 1,000 views each. You don’t get “likes” very easily on Ello (I’ve looked at other people’s pages, and even posts with thousands of views will sometimes only have 8 or 10 likes.) As of this moment, I have 79 followers on Ello, 851 posts, and over 300,000 views!!! I don’t know exactly how long I’ve been using Ello, maybe a year and a half, but it’s been pretty good to me. Other positives with Ello include the fact that I’ve had a few art pieces and several written works shared and highlighted by Ello staffers. I’ve also had two different pieces accepted into contests on Ello, which is pretty cool (and which pretty much guarantees that those bits will be seen by several hundred more people than just posting to my own profile.) Ello is cool. I like it, and I plan on continuing to use it.
The other sites that I’m using quite a bit are Redbubble and Threadless, both of which are PRINT ON DEMAND sites that let you upload images or your work, so they can be transferred onto products, like t-shirts, coffee mugs, posters, stickers, pillows, postcards, and so on… If nothing else, it’s another place where people can see your work. I’ve been on Redbubble for a LONG time, and some of my stuff on there has been seen by hundreds of people. Not every piece is a hit, though. Threadless, on the other hand, seems less interested in my stuff. (I’ve noticed that BOTH of these sites tend to like polished, commercial looking artwork. That’s not really what I do.) Still, I do sell some stuff from time to time on Redbubble. Not much, but every once in a while. (Maybe six bucks a month worth, if I’m lucky…) Zip on Threadless, so far. (Luckily, I do pretty good selling stuff in my front yard when I do my ART SALES, or I might not make the $100.00 that I need to pay my WordPress bill!)
Overall, I’m having almost no luck cracking the “monetizing” my work element of the internet. I believe it’s possible, somehow, I just don’t know how to do it. I’ve got Ko-Fi, I’ve got a Facebook store, I’ve got tons of print-on-demand materials ready to go, I used to have a Patreon page (but I didn’t like the “every month” element of that site,) and nothing seems to be working. Oh well. I’m still a compulsive creator, and I couldn’t STOP making art or writing stories even if I wanted to. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, making this giant archive of weird stuff that very few people seem interested in, and filling my days (and nights) with the joy of creation. There are worse things that I could be doing…
(WARNING – SELL OUT SECTION BELOW!)
Here are my most recent art uploads for commercial purposes:
“St. Snakus Maximus”
And that’s all the whining and complaining for today! Now go out into the REAL WORLD, so you can come back and report (and tell the rest of us what it’s like out there!)
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)
SUPPORT INDEPENDENT FOLKS WHO ARE JUST MAKING STUFF BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT!!!