Social media LIKES are useless

I visit the Artist Lounge subreddit often and it's common to see people talk about the few miserable Likes they received for the art they post on social media. You can sense the dejection from those posts and it's depressing.

Let me share some insight that I've gained from the 27K followers on Instagram and 286K subscribers on Youtube that I've amassed over the years.

The likes are absolutely worthless.

Likes may not even mean what you think they mean.

People may hit the Like button because they have seen the post, or out of habit, or just because the Like button is there, or for whatever reason. Yeah, sure, some people may hit the Like button because they do like your work. So what? So what if there's a Like or no Like? So what if you get 10 likes or 100,000 likes? How would your life change?

Understand what's happening here. Your focus on meaningless & useless numbers is making you feel depressed for no good reason. Getting 100,000 Likes is not going to make your life better, but getting 10 Likes will make you feel depressed. Snap out of it.

The only number or metric you should care about is how much time it takes to scroll through all the work you have created over the years.

I shared these thoughts on Facebook and someone commented that Likes and subscribers "can actually mean income". True. But that income will come at a much later stage, which could be months or even years. And that income will most certainly not be consistent and not significant unless you know what you're doing. It is your work that will translate to income, so keep working on your art. Stop distracting yourself with useless Likes.

And don't be distracted by the number of Likes and followers another artist has. Instead imagine the work that's required to make that happen.

This article is part of the Internet Marking for Artists series that you can follow at



THIS. And also: for the love

THIS. And also: for the love of Pete, stop whining about your number of likes on instagram itself. Nothing will cause me to unfollow an artist faster than a bunch of self-indulgent whining about "the algorithm" or how all their best stuff gets the least likes.

If I actually like something, especially enough to buy that thing, I don't want to be told by the artist that I'm dumb for liking it. Which is exactly what you're saying to people when you say "only my worst stuff gets likes" or "my best stuff never has enough imaginary hearts on it".

Feels like your time would be better spent making stuff than complaining about things you can't control.

(By "you" I mean the general you, not *you*, Teoh, in specific. Obviously. But just to underscore the point.)

It's important to remember

It's important to remember that the 'like' button was created to make you crave that reward, and return regularly to feed your craving, so social media becomes a habit at no additional expense to the company.
It manipulates your emotions just like a slot machine: you pay with your attention, and sometimes get a big or small payoff in others' attention. It's a sick system with minimal rewards in return for huge time expenditure.

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