I've been thinking recently about how artists (and musicians and writers) use social media, about how nearly every “how to use social media as an artist/writer/etc” article talks about your “brand” and finding your “market”, framing everything in the perspective of neoliberal capitalism.
It’s not surprising since everything is now framed in that same way: not just your day job, but also your education, your healthcare, and every other area of your life. Students are customers, hospitals have targets, news media is driven by click-throughs. And every statistic is recorded, measured, and found wanting because, in the doublespeak of HR, a “satisfactory” rating is never satisfactory in a system of stretch goals that demand everyone “give 110%” or face a performance improvement plan.
And so artists are told to build a brand, to concentrate on gaining followers, likes, and retweets. And then to measure themselves against other artists in the same market segment. In the fight for the limited resource of people’s attention every other artist becomes a competitor to be beaten otherwise your business will suffer.
This is, undoubtedly, the shittiest system ever.
Another approach must be possible: one that feels satisfying, one that feels right.