Back when I first got my Instagram account, I was proud of all the followers I had. These folks—mostly family and friends, to be honest—would see my sculpture, and purchase my art.
I quickly found out that 100 followers on Instagram aren’t what it used to be. Today, if you don’t come into the game with thousands of followers, you might as well stay on the bleachers.
Like so many people do these days, I purchased followers from a reputable company. I continued working hard, both on my art, and on my social media presence. Anymore, your presence on social media platforms is your marketing.
The hard work paid off. My reputation grew as a serious artist. Soon I found myself making decent money for my art, but more importantly, I was getting recognized as an artist.
I honestly don’t know if I could have made it as an artist before the advent of the Internet and social media. Before the information age made the world so much smaller, artists of every kind simply had to hope to be discovered by someone from the big-time. It makes me wonder how many Michelangelo’s, and how many Picasso’s there were out there in the world, who never got their chance to be seen, discovered, and appreciated.
With social media, a small-town artist like me—someone with nothing but dreams and talent, certainly not a famous name or a bank account—has a legitimate chance. All it takes for me to make it is for one famous media figure, one prominent critic, one celebrity to see an Instagram post of mine, and like it.
Likes lead to more likes in the world of Instagram. Just the right like can lead to just the right moment—the stars line up, a big bang thunders, and boom! Overnight, I am a star. Overnight you are a star.
With dreamers like me and maybe you, the future of Instagram specifically, and social media generally, is bright.
Instagram works by using pictures that are deeply narrative driven. As human beings, we are all natural storytellers. As long as we don’t lose that characteristic which we have had for millions of years, Instagram is safe. We all have stories we want to tell, in pictures, in snapshots of wonderful moments of joy, beauty, fun, meaning, and emotion. Instagram gives us a wonderful way to tell our stories.
Social media isn’t going away. Oh, if left up to the elderly, and the middle-aged generations, it could possibly fade away. Today though, the generation occupying early adulthood, and the next generation approaching it have grown up with social media. They can’t recall a world without the Internet and smart phones. They certainly won’t abide a world without them, either.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media sites are as much a part of our lives today as Walter Cronkite and the morning paper were to earlier generations. They aren’t going anywhere.