I’m not gonna lie. I’m fuckin tired. I don’t mean physically tired, although I’m absolutely that as well; no, I mean I’m mentally exhausted.
I despise social media. I always have, even back when I was really good at using it for customer acquisition. Fuck, I built my entire career on social media. That doesn’t mean I hold any love for it.
You don’t have to love a system to be reliant on it. Basically every government in history is proof of that. The same thing goes for the seedy worlds of Instagram and Facebook. When I first downloaded Instagram in 2011, I thought it was the answer for every tattooer out there. Instant access to countless portfolios AND clients.
Over time it got watered down, and then the algorithm, and then fanboys for garbage tattooers, and then complex ad campaigns. Now your options have become severely limited for exposure, and you either need to learn the system and dish out the cash, or you need to understand how to create viral content, which is a complex art in itself. Real, hard working artists get buried by over edited portraits and trash “blackwork” bullshit outline tattoos with shitty one liners in basic sans serif print.
The third option is to carefully ingrain yourself within communities online, and through repetition of appearance and thoughtful insight, you gain trust. This is actually the best way to do things, even though it’s by far the most time consuming. This is how I built an audience back on MySpace and InkedNation.
But god damn it’s tiring. I don’t want to spend my time doing that bullshit, because I’m an artist, and I want to create. The problem is, why create for no one to see?
It’s a dilemma that’s simultaneously fueling my hatred for social media and my desire to master it. It’s both feeding my creativity and sapping it. I lose fucking sleep over this.
I mean, why would I lose sleep? Why should it bother me? I maintain a strong client base. The relationships I’ve built are strong enough to completely bypass social media and still keep me working. So why does it bother me?
Because I’m insecure and want validation. Because I want some visual sign showing me that what I’m doing is reaching someone. Because I work my ass off, and I’m not going to be overtaken by dumb fucks who can’t hold a tattoo machine just because I’m an old man and can’t keep up with the pace of technology. Because I’m real fucking stubborn.
I’ll continue to grow myself and my businesses in the most grassroots, organic way possible. Sure, I will spend ad dollars and try my damnedest to create shareable content, but my strength lies in actually talking to people one on one. So Instagram can go ahead and change the algorithm again, and further restrict my already restricted reach. It’s totally their right, and after all, it IS free, and I’m not required to use it. It really does suck when people who actually want to see my posts don’t see them for days, but I can’t argue the reach of a free post.
Look, I’ve talked in length about me being on the outside of every group of cool kids for my entire life. It continued into tattooing, and I’ve never been able to sync with any clique. I came to terms with that shit a long time ago. That black sheep syndrome created the man I am. A man who will claw his way over everything thrown at him in a bitter refusal to take second place, even if he’s never actually been in first.
Fuck Instagram. Fuck Facebook, fuck Twitter, fuck TikTok, fuck whatever pops up after that as the app du jour. I’ll be there because in todays business landscape, you don’t have much of a choice. That doesn’t mean I have any love for it.
This post is my attempt at bitching about social media in a graceful way. The truth is, I’m bummed my engagement tanked and I’m not looking forward to basically starting from square one again.