I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I love that it keeps me in touch with awesome people that I meet, either casually or in the world of comics. I hate that we artists have become so reliant on it for everything from announcements to promotion. The social media algorithm is, in my opinion, the worst thing to happen to the internet in years.
The few conventions I attended in 2022 were full of people who were unaware that The Legacy of Dominic Deegan was a thing I’d been working on for three years. I regularly announce new pages every day they post at the very same time. But despite that, those posts get very little engagement and there are loads of people who loved the Oracle for Hire years who remain unaware that The Legacy has been faithfully updating.
Yes, I know there are ways to “boost engagement” and play the games that The Algorithm wants you to play, but it all feels so disingenuous to me that I can’t bring myself to do it. Is it bad business? Probably. But I got into webcomics to avoid doing business, and the internet of 2002 didn’t feel as corporately sanitized as it does now.
My memory is admittedly fuzzy, but the internet I remember was all about people finding cool places to go and telling one another about them. The places people gathered on the internet were proverbial crossroads, where travelers would tell others what nifty thing they saw in this or that corner of the web. Things went viral before “viral” was the term we used. Exploration and discovery were encouraged, and part of the experience.
Now? These sites are doing everything they can to keep you right where you are. Post a link that goes to another site? No one will ever see that. Mention your Patreon page? Good luck getting anyone to see that. Social media sites don’t want to be the crossroads. They don’t want you to explore. They want to keep you from exploring because they only want eyes on themselves. I hate it.
Am I sounding like an old man pining for “the good old days” while forgetting the worst parts of those days? Probably. My memory is fuzzy and the pre-social media internet certainly had its problems, but it didn’t punish you for being curious. For wanting to tell others about new places we found, or how to find us back at our corner of the internet.
If you’re here, I’m grateful. I encourage you to stick around as long as you like, but don’t feel guilty about getting out of here and keep exploring. I’m confident you’ll be back.