LeonieUpdate! I’m back with updated plans to future posts, why I’m quitting my instagram + facebook page and interesting finds!

In this long LeonieUpdate:

  • No new art because this is a long post already ;P
  • LeonieUpdate:
    • why I’m quitting my instagram and facebook page,
      • of course goodbye facebook!
      • Why am I quitting instagram? (notes & thoughts)
        • First, I don’t really use my phone
        • Secondly, the truth in how difficult to even get seen by your own followers or get new followers on the platform hurts
        • 3) How the algorithm works and how it is essentially for brands and influencers, not for artists
        • 4) Negative effects to mental health & if it’s worth the time and investment
        • 5) Striving for creativity, focus and control over my time and life in a noisy, attention economy world
        • 6) It’s possible and how other people didn’t depend on social media to thrive
      • Reflecting on my use of instagram overall
      • Wait why aren’t you quitting twitter too?
    • changes on blog posts and my rss weekly newsletter in the coming months & reflecting on these decisions
    • interesting finds on beauty standards, stage shows, games, online boundaries, parasocial relationships, culturally not belonging anywhere and more from over the break

Much warm hugs your way! Yes this is a repost of my Cat & Love piece from last year!

Originally I was going to have a new piece here but this post is already a lot to take in so I feel like it deserves its own dedicated post.

Plus we need some wholesome cute cats and love sometimes :’)

Final public Monday LeonieUpdate!

I played a bunch of games and have been nursing my sensitive, dry, irritated, painful, eczema thumb :’)

Games I finished, played, still playing or tried: Vitamin Connection, Swords of Ditto: Mormo’s Curse, BattleBlock Theater, The Adventure Pals, Cat Quest 2, Pikmin 3, Knights & Bikes, Animal Crossing (finally something new this month), Part Time UFO, Picross Season 4 and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.

Lots of reading, testing, thinking, consuming and researching as I figure out my art and posting schedule for this year too!

My January was almost all a dry period in terms of freelance work so I got to focus on reflecting and making my buffer at least! Lots of stress sometimes on a day to day basis, some miserable, grumpy days, unproductive heatwave days, stressing out over rat droppings and some overwhelming days. And someone invading my personal space and creeping me out. I’m managing too and continuing to be frugal since I invested into some learning resources to dig into this year :’)

PortfolioDay happened last month ! I got existential and depressed seeing all the incredible art and work other artists have done; feeling like I’m not at “standard” to get jobs, haven’t been progressing with my career plus I’ve been taking things at a super relaxed pace during my break. I feel a bit guilty for not being super productive :’)

The mixed feelings eventually passed, I’m appreciating art again, checking other people’s art less and minimising the “art quality, skills, success” self comparison thing. It is an incredibly saturated world of wonderful, passionate artists out there after all! This cycle repeats itself whenever I feel down and doubtful with myself; just got to acknowledge and accept the mixed feelings, keep trusting in my own values and journey.

Striving to focus on what’s important as I figure things out along the way! Protecting my joy in learning and creating best I can, even though I struggle with it :<

My fanart got featured on the Kirby subreddit last month!! (A screenshot in memory!)

It’s such a wholesome, sweet honour to have my Kirby & Sephiroth fanart featured in the Kirby subreddit during January! 😊🍵
(realised I couldn’t see it for a while because I was on the new layout haha)

⭐️ https://old.reddit.com/r/Kirby/ 🌠

The mod who reached out was super friendly and asked for permission when I first posted it. And of course I said yes! ;D

Quitting my instagram and facebook page; focusing on my blog, art, learning & special behind the scenes for patrons! [Leonie rants about social media again]

Bear with me, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about social media!

So I’m quitting Instagram and facebook, letting them rot and not use them anymore. I’ll be focusing on my blog, art, learning, twitter, pixiv, artstation and occasionally reddit. Yes that’s still a lot on my plate!

Also I am happy to be corrected, discuss things and am open to differing opinions and approaches. If you enjoy and thrive using instagram and/or facebook, that’s great! Just not for me because I have an intense, tunnel vision, anxious personality sometimes :’) I’m just talking about what I’ve learned and what’s best for me after some considerable reading and reflection. I’m not saying I’m doing things right :0

Goodness since my last ramble about the discouraging things about instagram, I was considering quitting it but I was anxious and scared of not doing enough and not putting myself out there enough as a little freelance artist who’s not ready nor brave enough to directly contact people. Yes I’m a coward and I don’t really feel like I fit into most people’s projects :’)

Yes I know some recommend casting as wide a net as possible, create like a consistent art machine and post everywhere when you’re a freelance artist, just for that tiny slither of luck with getting noticed by the right people. That’s advice and experiences I’ve heard from current successful artists!

When luck/opportunity + preparation + timing comes together it means you get that next job, offer for that book/merch/product/course or get funding on an independent project.

But I don’t think posting everywhere is necessarily the best and healthiest way, now that I have read more experiences.

I’ve been on the fence while writing this very post since December; went from feeling like quitting instagram could be a big mistake but now I’m glad to leave!! :’)

And here we are, I’m finally leaving them. Bye instagram. Bye facebook. You’re ghost accounts from now on.

Of course I’m quitting facebook!

In reality it’s not really a big decision, given that I’ve been on/off this page for 5.5 years, it’s not worth my time, my posts don’t reach most people and I haven’t been using facebook for several years anyway. Essentially I was hanging onto the handful who actually clicked through to read my blog posts.

I should have let go of facebook completely a long time ago and saved my effort & time :’)

That said I was really happy to finally get 100 likes after several years of what felt like pulling teeth and I appreciate the rare few who still liked my posts! Thank you for the kind reassurance and all the best to you, facebook page followers! I hope I’ll catch you around! :’)

I’ll be deleting my facebook in a few days so that would be interesting :0 Will I be locked out of some facebook content because I won’t have an account? Yeah probably but I wouldn’t know anyway!

Why am I quitting instagram? I actually got a surprising 200+ followers in the past year!

First of all, I don’t really use my phone much nor do I want to use my ipad like a phone anymore.
  • I do not like being forced to use the instagram app to post things, reply and use its features. I want to stick to my desktop thank you very much!
  • I don’t want to be stuck on a phone or ipad for social media (which is why I don’t use tiktok, snapchat, etc either).
  • I think this is a huge personal reason for me; I don’t want to use instagram anymore
Secondly, the truth in how difficult to even get seen by your own followers or get new followers on the platform hurts.
  • Read this recent New York Times Article on “The Secrets of Instagram Growth/Is there a secret to success on instagram?” with input from some great artists
    • these are apparently not secrets and what you mean by “success” is defined by the individual
    • how it’s better to let the platform go if you don’t want to become a full time “instagram artist” to earn a living :’) Whelp! Not me since I don’t have the personality nor energy for it!
  • I’ve been stagnant most of the time. It’s generally difficult to get engagement or exposure thanks to the AI algorithm’s need for free, consistent content for their platform
    • I suspect my 200+ increase in follows is only because I did a lot of “engagement” friendly activities which are not sustainable for me
    • examples: I did a few redraw challenges and pushed for posting Animal Crossing fanart almost daily during December (only because I wanted to get the fanart out of my system haha). I probably won’t do that kind of thing regularly though ;P
  • There’s lots of artists on instagram (either with small or huge followings) who are suffering from substantially lower reach to their own followers (as dead accounts/bots are deleted).
  • Julia had 4k instagram followers and 5.5k facebook followers and even then, it wasn’t much since most won’t even see her posts
    • she doesn’t get much business and engagement from it either!
    • it was here where I put my arms in the air in resignation and frustration because I am not even close to her numbers and she says it’s not much and how she’s not getting any business :’)
  • two weeks of daily posting art (average of 20 hours a week posting, making original work) will make the AI algorithm not ignore you (even if you don’t engage with comments, stories, reels)
    • Whelp I’m going to ignore this information and quit instagram anyway ;P
    • I hope it helps you if you’re going to keep fighting with instagram; good luck!
    • I don’t really do personal projects for “engagement” but because I *have* to want to create such a project as well
      • example: I did want to make lots of Animal Crossing fanart during December and I burnt out on it because of my intense way of working ;P
  • Iris van den Akker and Loish also discuss with other artists about how confusing, hopeless and frustrating instagram can be and they themselves have huge, gigantic followings already :’)
    • instagram is not a good, sustainable, healthy platform to grow a following/audience (especially now)
    • how less than 10% of your followers can see your work
    • artists are moving to twitter or tiktok (nope I am not doing tiktok!! That’s also mobile focused and video heavy too, nope!)
    • how you can’t reach new people, build a community
    • it’s difficult to inspire interaction when you’re shouting into your own bubble
    • apparently making cute colourful work, catching trends on time or portraits of girls consistently is the secret haha
    • for me it doesn’t matter if I post or not; I don’t expect to get follows every time I post ;P
      • I didn’t know that was an established expectation for the popular artists haha
    • instagram wants you to pay for promotion and some who tried it have said it doesn’t work :’)
    • it feels like wasting time, energy and effort into nothing (cycles of gaining and losing followers) so you’re stuck and stagnant around the same follower number and fighting to maintain and compete for engagement
    • hard to get any clients from instagram as most people want free content
      • you need to do giveaways or smart marketing shenanigans to make it work perhaps? Or you’re thriving in the educational/teaching space for other artists (selling courses, tutorials, patreon, books, merch etc).
    • instagram is made for influencers so it’s not sustainable, realistic for artists to post everyday
      • (art quality declines as a result too)!
    • some hashtags actually get deactivated or get lost in time :’)
    • generally people get more engagement and interaction on Instagram but it depends on how often they use it
    • tumblr is still a huge favourite among artists (not mine though)
  • there’s a handful of artists too who don’t even use instagram for art or at all! They do exist but not many are known in online spaces (:
3) How the algorithm works and how it is essentially for brands and influencers, not for artists
  • an in depth set of instagram tips by zuzzaism a social media person & artist on instagram [part 2] [part 3]. Please do read if you’re planning to keep using instagram as they’ll probably share more tips in the future! I’m just taking notes on what stuck with me:
    • algorithm is AI based, designed to keep people on the app with whatever works
    • you are rewarded more attention and exposure if you engage more on the app:
      • with comments, replies, watching stories, reacting, likes, saves, follows, posting regularly, lots of stories a day,
      • making carousel posts, posting natively on the app, posting during times your audience is most active through the insights feature and using relevant hashtags
      • (no wonder I’ve been stagnant for so long; I don’t really want to do all of that stuff nor use instagram too much )
    • carousel posts give more exposure as instagram shows your 2nd slide of the same post again
      • (yeah I knew this and it does show your post twice in someone’s feed with a different slide)
    • use new features like reels for exposure boosts
    • use stickers on stories for viewers to engage with sometimes
      • (yeah asking questions there was fun sometimes, I usually get 1-2 replies :’) )
    • they have measures against bots if you have irrelevant tags, give too many likes, give too many follows too quickly, emoji comments, repeated comments
      • the algorithm punishes things like group chats/engagement pods to collectively share posts to create “false engagement”
      • (yeah I remember some artist acquaintances organised this kind of thing to support each other ages ago)
    • stats and metrics do not reflect your art quality
    • the older your account, the harder it is to get new followers and you get less exposure
      • (whelp why even fight and try anymore)
    • instagram needs money; it’s designed like this so that users have to buy ads to get exposure (like facebook!)
    • you see someone’s posts more in your queue if you engage with it more (likes, comments, stories, dms )
    • organic/word of mouth reach is best for the long term!
      • But it takes ages to build, need lots of shares, and taking breaks will keep you off track for the same amount of time
      • example: taking a year off instagram; takes almost a year to get back on track with growth and exposure again :<
      • reading this just makes me feel drained, overwhelmed and chained to instagram :/
  • Later’s The Instagram Algorithm in 2021, the algorithm depends on:
    • how your consistently use, like, comment, interact, reshares, view on instagram
    • you get served accounts from friends, family, people you have private conversations with, people you search for, people you engage with the most
      • (so you are stuck in your bubble, rather than reaching new people)
    • use mid-range and relevant hashtags, what people will actually use to search with and having good captions
      • (to drive conversations and connect with people)
    • having the latest post, using the best times to post when your followers are most active
    • how often people use instagram; the less you use it, the less it’s chronological because they want to serve you new things that interest you to stay on it.
    • inactive/bot/ghost followers are removed automatically; there’s a lot of them! Occasionally follow and unfollow cycles happen too.
    • if you follow a lot of people, you won’t get everything on your feed so the more you use it, the more posts from new accounts you’d see
    • stories is always about timeliness, consistency and if people engage with your stuff (with stickers, polls, questions); then you get more exposure
      • post 3-5 stories a day?! Ahhh! D:
      • for me, stories has been fun as I get answers for silly and casual questions I have and back when I was showing my initial experiences with Animal Crossing haha
    • explore page is a huge thing for relevant, best content. Plus keywords are important
    • use IGTV and reels and make previews to them at your main feed; use all the latest features!!
      • cross promote from your feed, stories, IGTV and reels @___@
      • they later did argue that you don’t need to use reels but hmmm
    • keep up to date with your direct messages, use analytics to see what works too
  • Once again, you essentially take the part time job of a social media manager and video creator as well :’)
4) Negative effects to mental health & if it’s worth the time and investment
  • social media is more of an advertising platform and people promoting themselves nowadays; sometimes the mix between personal and professional posts become emotionally confusing, draining and blurred
    • I’m not even going to talk about the stalking, getting too much information from people you have only met once and so on; online boundaries (personal and professional) need to be set that’s up to the individual
  • Cal Newport interviews about managing social media and the more in depth, clarifying digital minimalism interview; the latter link is a really insightful and great podcast on doing deep, focused work
    • not let platforms get you addicted and go through the cycle of the 20 websites you visit in the mornings (email, instagram, slack, discord, twitter, facebook, forums, junk food media, reddit, youtube, twitch, etc) before you actually start focused, solitary work mode
      • oops I’m guilty of this since mornings are busy with housework anyway so it’s full of interruptions!
    • there’s a lot of switching between manager mode and creator/maker mode (especially if you’re independent and/or freelancing)
      • how there’s too much focus on unstructured and constant conversations throughout the day when working in teams (like slack)
      • in an ideal world (for me), I’d also like the majority of my time (later afternoons & evenings) to be left alone to allow me to focus on reflecting, processing, doing my job, learning and work at my own pace
      • life is full of surprises as much as you strive to establish structure and protect your “do not disturb” blocks of time
      • he talks about figuring out ways to minimise context switching (between tasks and communication methods, etc)
        • he’s been testing how to best establish roles and structure that respect psychology, communication, management, how the brain stays productive, focused and keeping up our cognitive skills
      • he talks about how creative workers can focus and be more effective on tasks and problem solving by delegating managerial tasks, interruptions, communication to other people through established roles or by designating certain days of the week or times of the day for it
    • how social media is designed to be psychologically addictive and a timesink like gambling slot machines and they actually batch and delay notifications so you keep checking for likes and replies until they update it for you
      • it’s nothing new and it’s subtle and sneaky – making you check out of habit and addiction to validation even if there’s nothing there
      • yeah that’s me too. I’ve been conditioned to look for likes & replies :’)
    • email can seem like a hyperactive hive mind when you are constantly checking emails and having ongoing unstructured conversation
      • perhaps a delayed, digital version of open office workspaces?
      • it forces you to context and cognitive switch between communication tools and deep, focused work
      • you tend to become stagnant, scattered and unproductive at doing focused work
      • anxiety increases and is ongoing while cognitive/processing abilities and concentration decreases due to constant communication and interruptions going on
      • this is why I personally don’t like text messages, never use fb messenger, close my email away sometimes and I’m not often active on discord ;P
        • if you’re cool with letting me reply in my own time (but not taking unreasonably long and/or over a week) then it’s cool for me to do the same for you too
      • we do not need to know what everyone else is doing in a given moment
    • attention residue happens too
      • this is where the mind is scattered as you context switch due to how distracting things get
      • it takes a while (20-30 minutes) to get back to a focused, concentrated state of mind
      • focus and concentration is definitely a skill and something to manage!
  • Oh another interview with Cal Newport Destroy Your Social Media Addiction | Cal Newport on The Debate Without Debate Podcast since I went into a rabbit hole with this
  • social media especially fosters that kind of feeling of not being enough and keeps you checking for the dopamine and attention hits
    • unhelpful feedback loops when it’s just likes/comments/shares and fighting for attention
    • often you’re feeling inadequate, doing what other people are doing and “shoulds” rather than develop and struggle with your own sense of identity and thoughts
    • when something is not doing as well in terms of metrics, you experience social failure (aka you care too much and taking it too seriously with your self worth)
    • this all distracts your emotional headspace, time and from what’s really important if not managed consciously against these social systems that are intentionally and psychologically built for their benefit and not yours
  • I logically know it’s possible and doable to not let social media control the direction of my work but it’s a constant, exhausting battle of willpower and fortitude whenever I try
    • I don’t want to find myself making art and content for the sake of growing my audience and getting likes/followers too often; trying to keep my own sense of identity intact
    • I find myself thinking about it unconsciously as I look at my little feed and eventually it gets me back into that headspace when I see, check and compare myself with what other artists are doing with events, trends, challenges, approaches (because naturally I want to do better, stay relevant and keep up to date)
    • it happens especially when I have to make additional instagram carousel slides, story images and free, multimedia content for their different feeds when I could be spending time doing something else
    • scaling down on social media platforms will hopefully help!
  • I keep getting influenced by what the platform wants and getting addicted to what little interactions I could get from it again
    • the feedback and “engagement” loop doesn’t help me in the long run and I find myself settling for any likes, views and follows (even if it’s passive, minimal interaction)
    • plus doing too many things, trends and challenges takes away from my learning journey; I need to be more careful :’)
    • likes/follows are not meaningful interactions in the end
    • I feel like my mind goes numb sometimes when I’m on these platforms
  • social media is mostly about passive consumption, quick scrolling and ads and it’s not about slow, considerate, reflective processing and understanding
    • genuine recognition from others is super rare where viewers take the time to reflect and understand what I’m doing and writing
    • instagram, twitter, facebook, etc are not great places for this
  • my work is mine so I would like to streamline and control where I post it
    • at the least I would like my work to be searchable (and it’s not the case on instagram or facebook)
  • once again, I realise that I don’t have a personality that suits social media because I mostly want to share and connect through what I’m *already* doing haha
  • marisol’s why I deleted my social media and should you quit social media?
    • she mentions how there’s lots of fake, passive aggressive niceness on social media while real friendships are offline and they are willing to dedicate time to call and talk with you (even if it is inconvenient for them, especially in a time of need)
    • social media can be full of misleading, confusing emotions and connections when “everyone is fake with a persona on social media”
  • Thomas Frank’s How to Break Your Social Media Addiction
  • another interview with Cal Newport On Why You Should Quit Social Media, ‘Digital Minimalism’ + More (Breakfast Club Power radio)
    • this one is more conversational. How we need to break out of our addiction, drama, stresses and toxic mindset about social media and establish better boundaries
    • focusing on the important things in your life, family, loved ones, friends, community and living in the moment better
    • protecting our headspace from constant noise, anxiety, worrying about what people see you & expect of you and fighting against expectations to always be present on social media (you don’t need to be always accessible)
    • not let social media use you and use it only as a tool and for personal growth (with self discipline)
  • The Financial Diet’s 6 Ways Instagram Is Making You A Worse Person
    • 1) toxic comparisons but it’s not “normal”
      • a tip is to only follow people over 50 (or older than you) so you’re not focused on youth; ooh this is a good one :0
      • comparing lives and nurturing envy
      • presenting yourself as how you’d want to be seen and your looks
    • 2) questionable health treatments, dangerous diets & unqualified advice
    • 3) Ads vs reality/authenticity with products
    • 4) normalising unregulated child labour, getting kids involved when they can’t give consent
      • how kids want to be youtube stars/streamers nowadays too
    • 5) impulse shopping through scrolling on instagram, feels egocentric with plenty of materialism
    • 6) confusing parasocial relationships when you don’t know them beyond the persona
      • the brand does not equate to real life
    • social media as a business, is not about improving your life but to look at ads, scroll and buy things (their own self interest)
    • the illusion of keeping in touch with friends and family when people are lazy and not bothered to actually have conversations, reach out and put in effort (they’d rather just passively scroll past your posts ;P )
      • social media likes, follows, intermittent interactions alone are not good ways to develop genuine, consistent connections and interactions; they’re casual and fun perhaps!
  • also no one really cares if you’re on hiatus, people are too busy with their own lives ;P
  • Julie Nolke’s skit: Do we hate the new Instagram update?

“Social media has given us this idea that we should all have a posse of friends when in reality, if we have one or two really good friends, we are lucky.”

Brene Brown
5) Striving for creativity, focus and control over my time and life in a noisy, attention economy world
  • striving to exist in more meaningful internet spaces, nurture some more creativity, focus and quality interactions/conversations!
    • I want to have more quality & meaningful interactions in my life and not care/stress too much for the superficial, low attention span social media ones :’)
  • summary of Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work (Success in a distracted world). In other interviews:
    • he talks about not using it for 30 days so you’re not as addicted and anxious about it, not using your phone all the time so you can focus the important things, health, life and loved ones better
      • then if you still need social media for business, use it for those purposes only with restrictions (example: only on your desktop)
      • delegation to assistants/colleagues (example: social media 1 hour a day maximum and/or limited to certain days of a week)
      • you don’t have to share everything with the internet; it’s good to just experience things in the moment
    • a lot of about managing all the constant, shallow distraction and noise of the world and internet to protect times of rare, calm, quiet solitary reflection – an intentional life! (:
      • having an intentional life over a reactive one
      • true, I’d want to have more time for deep work, productivity, reflection, thinking, processing, solitude and calmness too
      • it’s hard when I usually have a youtube video, podcast, stream going on :’)
      • hey when I do focus, I am able to zone everything out and will pause things for complete, important, quiet, solitary thinking space :0!
    • how one needs to establish a value based approach to using technology, emails, social media, youtube, the internet
    • since visual artists depend on instagram, he suggests:
      • only use it on the computer
      • curate who you follow to 10 artists
      • keep it to 30 minutes as a schedule, one day a week
      • (well I decided to quit instagram because I value other things! So I guess I’ll apply some of this to twitter )
    • You can do this! Establish your values and own social media boundaries if you’re an artist or person who still wants to use internet spaces in a more intentional way!
  • I do want to improve my creativity, art skills, sense of purpose, peace of mind and mental health
    • be more in control from the pressure of creating content and I can also exist as an artist, outside of this social media hamster wheel
    • I enjoy blogging here the most anyway since I have the most control here ;D
  • I want to better focus, learn, share and express myself through my art and blog posts
    • these are my preferred ways and long form content feels more fulfilling for me
    • I am personally drawn to consuming long form, focused content myself with youtube, a few podcasts and blogs so this all feels right to me as I go deep into my own headspace, ramble and reflect away :’)
    • learning to better embrace my own pace, personality and lifestyle
  • having less noise, voices, echo chambers, anxiety and distraction about what everyone else is doing is great
    • more free time to be more calm, bored, focused and be creative!
    • I want to control how I spend my time and energy
    • I don’t have to worry about instagram hashtags!! Or tiktok! Or facebook! Or what instagram stories I need to make! How instagram doesn’t let you have links in captions! How facebook makes you essentially invisible unless you pay them to be promoted! The four different feeds to check on instagram! Making video content for instagram or facebook!
    • less things to worry about woo! (still got twitter to manage ah well)
    • less anxiety about being the “best” version of yourself, insecurities flaring, not limited to your echo chamber of endless content
  • striving to minimise following personal accounts and focus on business, art, professional stuff and other shenanigans
    • hey I have a few friends but I don’t often check and/or follow their social media platforms; I message, talk and catch up with them instead because those are the true, casual and/or good friends ;P
    • get depth in conversations, connection, true feedback elsewhere
  • Jason Vong’s Why I Quit Social Media
    • Why are we trying so hard to maintain shallow connections?? If we vibe later in life then that’ll be fine but at the moment, we don’t know each other :’)
      • unfollow if you don’t know them! Who cares he says! I hope I will be that brave one day!! :0
      • I agree but this is hard to do; I stress over these things a lot and I think if I was really thorough I would be following a much smaller handful of people on twitter :< I don’t have the courage to go that far…yet.
    • not care about engagement and metrics when you post; working to not let it emotionally impact you (which is difficult because it’s addictive)
      • keeping a good emotional distance, know when to stop with self discipline
      • let go of toxic mindsets towards social media
      • I wouldn’t know how to do this aside from hiding the metrics from view :S
    • follow people for their content that you are actually interested in, regardless if they follow you back or not
    • strive to share when you really want to share as an outlet, get it out there and move on and not obsess about the grind!
  • How craving attention makes you less creative | Joseph Gordon-Levitt TED talk (2019)
    • getting vs paying attention
    • not create in order to get attention
      • creating to get attention makes you more unhappy and stress out about not getting enough attention/metrics
    • social media is about selling attention; metrics, inadequacy and insecurities are what they thrive upon for you to post more
      • it’s never enough attention
    • you decide to give and pay attention to one thing and not get distracted by anything else – this is the flow of creativity
    • see collaborators in other people, not as competitors
    • so you can just focus and pay attention to them
    • not about how you’re not enough and competing with them for attention
    • this it doesn’t always work because desires for attention come up again and you get sucked back in the cycle :’)
6) It’s possible and how other people didn’t depend on social media to thrive and enjoy creating art
  • This inspiring YA fantasy illustrator seems to be wonderfully thriving with her twitter and curated newsletter: twitter.com/artofrengin
    • she was stuck at 1.5k instagram followers for a few years and has had enough of all the effort required to stay relevant on the platform :0
    • it’s validating to hear about artists who don’t want to spend too much time on instagram like me :’)
  • Julia Bausenhardt’s videos and posts (she is another illustrator):
    • Why I quit social media – my advice for artists and creatives [her blog post]
    • One year after I quit social media 🌿 Q&A pt.1: Art Business, Marketing, Audience Building
      • she recommends directly contacting people (the best way for getting clients) and picking selectively from:
        • building a newsletter (she had one before social media),
        • podcasting, blogging, youtube and/or being part of local/small communities
        • make your own website, share interesting things about your knowledge, build connections, reach out to industry people, teach if you have awesome skills
      • it is scary too when you’re weaning off from the addictive instant validation you get from social media and facing boredom
      • time investment is often very little return, especially if you’re starting out and haven’t been part of the platform during its early days
        • (that’s why some artists are gigantic because they’ve been using it for ages and a lot)
      • I feel validated when she says artist blogs are great, how you can engage with people on deeper levels and how it’s more about writing interesting blog posts
        • I don’t know if I do have interesting blog posts, but this inspires me to keep going with what feels true to me :’)
      • lots of people read and not comment or like blogs as she says
        • who knows who reads my little Leonie blog!
        • I’m just genuinely happy to still have blog readers even after my 10 years of blogging!
        • just let me know once in a while that you exist and are still around and reading please! I don’t get much comments here :’)
      • it’s not worth your time and investment if the search engine can’t even find your instagram or facebook content
        • (hey eventually you have to sign into those to even view content inside, right?)
      • email newsletters work better than social media; I hear this a lot from other business people and independent creators too

Reflecting on my use of instagram overall

When I first joined instagram, it was due to peer pressure and because it’s a visual platform that lots of famous, successful and independent artists use. Share your work everywhere as many say! I didn’t really enjoy using it due to having to use it as an app and its fleeting and curated, perfect content pumping nature but I used it anyway and warmed up to it a bit. It took me ages to even consider using stories but it became too time consuming for my liking to make them. They don’t even last if you don’t save them!

When it turns out using reels and countless more features are required to be seen and get more exposure in the platform (and it’s pretty competitive too), I had enough. Why do I have to be posting on my main feed, stories, IGTV and reels now?! I have to do native video content too?

I’m exhausted and drained. Instagram increasingly demands too much of my time and they prevent personal & creator accounts from completely automating it. They allow this only for business accounts but punish them from reaching most of their audience until you pay them to get targeted promotion like facebook :/

I am not a social media marketing company nor am I trying to be an “influencer”. I am not an art content machine, I don’t like being expected to do daily posts. Seems like instagram values influencers, celebrities, ads, sponsors, short attention spans and business over everything else. It doesn’t feel like it’s healthy for me to use. I don’t want to simply scroll through highlights of people’s lives, work and studios either.

I am just a human and I have been distracted too much from my focus in learning and making art. I don’t even get jobs at instagram and it’s so hard to reach followers and new people so why do I even bother?! Why is it increasingly so time consuming, overwhelming and draining to post and interact on it? I don’t want to be forced to use mobile apps to post. I don’t want to make videos, streams, stories and share/perform everywhere about my life.

I take considerable time to repurpose my writing and art for the platform as it is and it feels incredibly empty and pointless when most people simply scroll past it :’) The several ways to post on all these different instagram feeds, just to get along with the constantly changing AI algorithm is too much of a waste of time for me.

If most of my efforts are sinking into a void of nothing and for people to consume and interact with within seconds, then it’s time for me to put my efforts and time elsewhere that’s more sustainable, thoughtful, kind and fulfilling to me.

Yes I know I could just treat instagram as another image feed that notifies people about my art and blog posts. But I’ve been doing that when I was a studio artist years ago and my instagram didn’t grow much at all! This is because I didn’t use it and play their game like they want me to and because I enjoy my time elsewhere! ;P

From experience, it’s best to tailor your content to the platform to get good feedback, engagement, reach or you might as well not bother splitting your focus at too many places. To even know how to tailor your content, you’d have to actually use and keep up to date and relevant with instagram and trends (but I don’t want to!) I’ve already got lots of places to post to and instagram to me is the most demanding and least rewarding in terms of effort & time (especially if I’m trying to focus on being a better artist and not get sucked into spending lots of time trying to reach people and keep up with events as it constantly changes).

Sure I generally get more likes and engagement on instagram but when I look into the future, on whether I want to keep this particular hamster wheel spinning? Nah I’m good.

If people with at least 10x more followers than I do say that it’s always “not enough”, a constant struggle, workload, they’re stagnant (the follower cycles), they’re burning out and how it’s hard to grow an audience even for them – then I’m good and healthier without instagram.

Now if I were to use instagram as a personal thing, I wouldn’t be analysing things like this but I’m not. I wouldn’t even want to use it for personal purposes because I don’t use my phone much and posting bits and highlights of my personal life on social media is not my kind of thing. I have my own personal boundaries and I’d rather share my stuff at my blog ;P

Goodness. I just wanted to keep people up to date with my art as a professional artist, especially when my freelance income depends on whether people find my work on social media after all :<

Honestly I will somewhat miss the validating 20 or so likes (definitely designed to be addictive) and the few kind people answering my little questions at my stories but there’s a lot more I don’t miss and I don’t want scrolling through and posting to instagram to be part of my lifestyle anymore.

Finally I would like to thank the small handful of kind instagram peeps I interacted with in my private messages and comments as they were rare and cheered me up sometimes. They were the reason why this decision was difficult! Anyhoo, I will delete the instagram app from my iPad this week and I’ll just leave it as a ghost, private account!

Thank you and for all those who have followed me! I hope to catch you around elsewhere! (:

Wait why aren’t you quitting twitter too?

I did consider it at times. Maybe I will someday, who knows as it has its own similar problems with metrics, it’s harder to get engagement, there’s lots of short attention spans, it doesn’t show all your tweets (it has its own algorithm) and constant noise. And getting follows and likes on twitter seems even more difficult. Indeed it has its own set of depressing, complex flaws, issues, addictive qualities and no platform is perfect, especially when it’s free.

But I don’t want to quit twitter yet.

I know artists don’t necessarily need social media to earn a living but personally I feel like I do as an autistic art hermit, freelance artist and blogger. The creative and entertainment industries are unstable and you can’t depend on anything to last forever after all.

I don’t feel like I have to jump through as many hoops and it’s what I personally prefer out of the 3 big mainstream platforms. Thanks to a kind recommendation, I use an extension that hides all the likes and follower metrics on posts so that helps me focus more on content, detach myself from the social media “game” a bit more and to take things less seriously too :’)

Hey twitter feels more open and easier for me to use. I like using it better, given that I restrict what I look at and not let things become toxic for my mental health. I don’t really have a favourite social media platform but this is the more tolerable one for me :’)

I use twitter as a tool, post updates and lurk. I don’t check my main feed, try to not take things too seriously, keep things casual and professional, block twitter most of the time, don’t follow many people, clean out my list, don’t mind if I’m out of the loop, stick to the web version and keep curated private twitter lists so I’ve made my consumption “feed” more manageable, simple and less overwhelming.

I’m also juggling with a bunch of other websites on my plate so I’m just quitting instagram and facebook because they give me the most grief :’) I’m also trying out and blocking youtube and twitch during my mornings so I can focus better! Cutting things down so I can focus on what works for me.

I’ll do the “post and hide away” approach a lot! ;P I’ll actively limit myself and make sure I don’t distract myself for too long :’) Thank you for your patience for my delayed responses!

At best twitter is my little public art & blog feed! ;D

I’m just working out and testing what works for me so I hope my super long, repetitive rambling helps you reflect and reevaluate about your use and consumption of social media and online spaces too!

I reflect and attempt to summarise in this 13 minute LeonieArtRambles

Updated plans & changes to future blog posts!

Turns out that after attempting the plan I set from last year, I can’t switch gears and alternate effectively between studies and finished illustrations on schedule. It’s too much pressure and stress on my plate and I will probably burn out fast and wouldn’t be able to focus on the important things :’)

Eventually (at the latest during April) I’ll be doing regular discreet patron-only sketchbook posts with occasional, bonus art posts and shenanigans on the side.

I will scale things down further by striving to blog post at least 2-3 times a month (if there’s any more, then it’s a bonus)! If I do manage to keep a more regular schedule, or post little studies on twitter, or even 1-2 blog posts a week, I’ll stick to the original plan of taking a week off every 2 or so months.

Hey I need to force breaks upon myself so that I have breathing room to slow down as I juggle things and work. I want to take some time to practice, not rush and make quality things after all! :’)

Plans from here onwards! [edit: updated 15th Feb 2021 see this post on changes]

For all supportive blog readers:

  • occasional, little art posts of illustrations, polished studies, process steps and rambles!
  • previews of my patron sketchbook blog posts on twitter
  • little LeonieUpdates with interesting finds, thoughts, feelings & summary notes about what I’m learning & doing at the moment (like what you see in this post)

For my generous patrons, they also get exclusive blog posts with:

  • special, reflective, process posts for some of my illustrations & polished studies (tested this and it was too much work)
  • Sketchbook blog posts with:
    • early previews to my “not as embarrassing”/ polished studies
    • rough studies, sketches, experiments, timelapses & creative process thoughts I don’t want to show anywhere else
  • bonus little reflective LeonieUpdates too

And I’m probably going to not do regular LeonieArtRambles podcast videos because I need to simplify and narrow down my focus to learning, creating and sharing at my blog :’) I don’t want to overwhelm myself with too many projects and ways to share what I do. As much as Youtube is both great & difficult in many ways, I’ll mostly keep it to my blog as that benefits my mental health the most. I accept that I can’t do everything.

Please note that I’m iterating, refining, evolving and testing all this so please do reply in the comments and share feedback as we go along! Stressing I am not saying this is “the way” I’ll be doing things when I’m just adapting and doing trial and error.

It is an ongoing process so thank you for bearing with me and your kindness and patience! Thank you so much for your generous and kind support and for reading as always! <3

Things will be a weird as I will be doing two versions of the same blog post a lot – one for public blog readers and another with process, rambling for patron readers for my finished art posts. Goodness I’m giving myself a bit more work but it balances out since I’m not doing instagram anymore and I’m making my blog more worth following (or so I hope! ) Thank you for being a kind reader! (:

Thank you especially for my patrons for supporting me, my art and journey! I hope to keep learning, progressing, reflecting, experimenting and sharing it with you! And make more art as I go along at my own pace! In turn my patrons will continue to see more of what I’m doing, struggling and thinking behind-the-scenes and get early access with art and studies that I’m proud of! :0

Been deliberating and reflecting on this decision too

This whole blog post was after countless hours of anxious deliberation, especially when I’ve been blogging, available for everyone to read (for the most part) over these past 10 years. It’s a huge personal change for me and this is my online home after all!

Yes I know last year I said I was going to alternate and still have LeonieUpdates for the public to see but now I want to keep things with patrons only (and maybe some trusted artists and peeps for feedback).

A lot of creators and artists do this and I want to create a little safe online space of my own too (I’m attempting again at least)! It keeps things more special and close knit with patrons!

In a way, it’s a privacy filter/barrier so that not all of my updates & thoughts are available for everyone and strangers :’) Not that I have many readers but I’m known to be too honest, I want to reduce the amount of people being too familiar with me (parasocial relationships, acquaintances, casual and good friendships are not the same) and I really don’t know who’s reading so I’m putting down some online boundaries.

The reality is that most people want to see finished art and illustrations much more, not my studies, experiments, process, thoughts, upcoming pieces, notes, personal struggles and life updates :’) Most are not interested and perhaps some others are just quiet ninja readers haha

I’m attempting to evolve with the times in a way that’s more healthy for me, keep more things within my little bubble and not show and give everything for free and/or publicly when I’m already struggling to establish myself as a freelance artist :’) This blog is my personal online home and I’m testing, pulling back and establishing some boundaries. I don’t know if this is the “right” choice for me if I don’t try it first. Maybe bring it up again in a year and I’ll let you know whether and it’s working for me.

Also as mentioned earlier I didn’t think I could realistically switch gears between public and patron blog posts on a weekly basis. This is especially when I want to seriously focus on studies and learning, on top of the additional pressure and stress of posting finished illustrations regularly.

Eventually I want to make sketchbook posts a priority and only put out finished artwork/illustrations when I’m able and not on a schedule. I definitely get carried away when I want to finish illustrations and consequently I neglect doing art learning and studies thanks to my tunnel vision :<

I want to push myself out of my comfort zone and experiment and learn more new things without having to rush on my social media hamster wheel and/or put out comfort zone art just for the sake of posting something on schedule and reaching more people. Making art content as promised on a tight schedule gets stressful, overwhelming and unsustainable, especially when (and if) freelance work and/or life shenanigans comes in and I don’t have anything of quality to post nor can I afford the time to create something! :’)

I want to be able to take my time with finishing artwork, maybe ask for some feedback from patrons and/or trusted peeps if I’m feeling brave before putting it out there publicly and not rush nor compromise my process. Again, I’m not an art machine!

Finally I want to afford and continue to fail, experiment, iterate, play around and share my art and life journey in my own slightly more private, cosy blog space before I decide to share beyond my bubble (so every little bit of patreon support helps)! I did lose a few patrons along the way but it’s for the best (:

Thank you so much if you’ve been reading and supporting! And although I’m extremely far from making patreon my main source of income, thank you so much for current patrons for their generous support towards my art journey so far!! Thank you! <3

Consider being a patron if you want to read future LeonieUpdates and about my art learning journey! Otherwise I appreciate you all the same for reading and when I’m ready, I’ll still publicly post finished art and shenanigans here and on twitter too! (:

Feel free to share your thoughts and approaches with your social media boundaries and how you manage it. Let me know if you have any further questions, feedback, thoughts or suggestions! It’s a slow transition and I’m working things out, creating my buffer and iterating along the way. Thank you for for understanding!

And yes, this means the weekly blog newsletter changed too!

I got my confused head around splitting my email blog newsletter for those who are blog readers and those who are patrons: https://bit.ly/leonieartblog! I adjusted it and categorised things so that my email newsletter caters for those who want public blog posts or patron blog posts!

Psst patrons please sign up to the newsletter, follow via wordpress or the rss feed (if you’re not already) for any future patron post! Also I’m not sure about the reliability of twitter haha

For the 4 of you already on this list, I’ve already categorised you accordingly and you’re free to alter your preferences if I got it wrong, you want to unsubscribe or if you’re changing things!

I appreciate all those who are still part of my little newsletter and in turn I will strive to post quality over quantity into blog posts. Thank you! (:

And now interesting finds: Beauty Standards rabbit hole

  • The Beauty Double Standard Between Men & Women by Salari
    • CW: Body Image
    • I don’t really bother about being beautiful, appearances, sexual appeal and attractiveness because it feels unattainable, unrealistic, unrelatable, is a moving target and feeds from insecurity and low self esteem (in which I’m managing too) to sell you the ideal life you “could” have if you could get close to looking and living like them
    • masculine makeup – true I don’t really see much ads about those!
    • I respect and admire people who are charismatic, fancy, cool, proud and flourish with their own appearance! Personally I’m just someone who shies away from attention ;P
    • sometimes we dress up and that’s great too! It’s just alien and rare to me :’)
    • I’m just focused on taking care of myself and although I need to be self aware of my internal biases, conditioning and judgement with looks, presentation and impressions
    • ultimately the character, personality, vibes and values of a person shines through the most (or so I would hope!) :<
    • things get brought up such as body hair (in which I’m admittedly still not used to but it’s super cool seeing women and non-binary peeps proudly showing them off), tattoos, piercings, body modifications, disabilities, physical features defined by race, body types, structure, facial types, androgynous features and many more that diverge from the normalised, cis, hetero, white-centric beauty standards
    • and with beauty, are we talking about people you’re sexually and/or romantically attracted to (sexuality & personal tastes on personality/physical traits) versus people you find aesthetically/visually beautiful and/or handsome (also subjective)?
  • Female Objectification in Media – A Persona 5 Case Study by Salari
    • I always wondered why high school girl characters are dressed and “male gazed” so much in this game :<
  • Ibrahim Kamit’s The Unrealistic Toxic Beauty Standard Is Deadly
    • CW: Eating Disorder, Mental Health, Racism, Body Image
    • goodness I get told off for going out into the sun too (that my skin is too dark or light?? That I’m too fat or thin when growing up??) and racism is “normal” in my culture apparently! Euro-centric beauty standards is definitely a thing :'(
    • whoa my idea of “self care” is staying clean, comfy, physically fit and moisturised haha! Make up and beauty stuff is not part of my lifestyle so I respect people who put in the effort, money and resources :0
    • I am horrified at the fact that kids are calling themselves ugly because they’re not white, people wanting to marry people with lighter/whiter skin and the unattainable, objectified bodies people advertise. Someone even removed eight ribs to get the Barbie/Kim Kardashian body?! 🙁
    • body shaming and comparisons are not cool; let’s keep striving to embrace and be mindful of all diverse shapes, sizes, features, abilities and colours!
  • Plus Ibrahim Kamit’s The Dark Reality Behind Male Beauty Standards
    • CW: Eating Disorder, Mental Health, Body Image
    • for determining self worth and goodness from within and not from your appearance, weight, body, skin colour and many other external factors
Interesting finds: on culturally not fully belonging anywhere
  • Unseen Japan’s The Japanese who Came to Call Brazil Home [article]
    • Conflicted Homecoming: How the Japanese Brazilians Returned to Japan [article version]
      • insightful history on generations of immigration between Japan and Brazil, it’s terrible how the Japanese government asked them to leave due to the poverty of the times, asked them to migrate back to work at low wage jobs when there’s an economic boom (and Japanese natives wouldn’t actually work at these jobs) and then shunned them again when it’s not convenient for them anymore
    • reinforces how people of mixed cultures and upbringing struggle, get discriminated and don’t fully belong anywhere :'(
  • Victoria Tran’s What I learned about community management from my immigrant parents
    • I relate to this so much about not belonging to any culture or community so there’s a great deal of complicated loneliness for me too :’)
    • I don’t even have any outsider friends of my own culture (as of now) because I feel alien to them
    • the fact that my parents were from Vietnam and I had to be the one to (poorly) translate things between English and Cantonese and fill in forms; language is terribly hard to keep simple
    • my patience and empathy wears thin and I relate with “losing my temper” when I struggle to even understand and communicate in Cantonese and yet I get blamed and pressured to repeat countless times in jumbled, brute forced translation :’) I’d rather get an actual translator to minimise my own levels of stress, to avoid getting insulted and the lowering the risk of miscommunication ;P
Interesting finds: on culturally not fully belonging anywhere
  • I don’t know who Ludwig is but his I Am Not Your Friend video based from I’m Not Your Friend – A Twitch Documentary from Melbourne was a wonderful reminder about parasocial relationships
    • internet people are just entertainers, creators, artists in the end and don’t really “love” you as an individual human being but appreciate you as a whole for the support towards their career, community and/or success
    • I don’t understand why the english language doesn’t have more words to describe the different kinds of love that are not necessarily romantic
    • “love” tends to be expressed and spoken and sometimes it gets misinterpreted as romantic love by friends, fans, etc
  • Sarah Z’s How Fans Treat Creators
    • her take on parasocial relationships and how it’s a complicated balance and having to establish healthy boundaries for both creators and fans
    • I didn’t know about the Brian David Gilbert mustache thing
    • I’m also tired of people calling their fans, supporters, patrons, subscribers: family or friends. They are not!
    • And in that light, a gentle reminder that you’re probably not my friend either ;P Maybe a casual, distant acquaintance or stranger at best. And that’s okay! :0
  • Sarah Z’s Online Boundaries and Emotional Labour
    • the messy world of managing and dealing with our own and others’ feelings, headspace, vents and traumas (dependent on context)
    • what does emotional labour actually mean (with nuance)
    • how friendships are not about treating people like your therapists
    • how setting boundaries are important
    • friendships should be mutual in terms of sharing our struggles, venting, listening, effort, time and so on. Sometimes we can’t actually solve each other problems and all we can is be there for each other.
    • Most people can’t even be there for each other :’)
    • how people’s expectations, ideals, standards of friendship differ
    • how people expect immediate responses for their messages and so on
    • how you’re expected to appear “normal”, accessible, open and genuine even if you’re already struggling to regulate your own emotions, can’t act fake and feel overwhelmed & guarded
    • how solitary me time is important!
    • performing happiness when you’re at certain jobs is a thing too
    • Yeah I don’t know how to respond to someone who’s super emotional :’) I tend to seem robotic and I freeze up
Interesting finds: shenanigans!

Thank you so much for reading!! Phew we made it through this long post!

I hope you’ve had a good January! I’m going to be busy with my Monday so good luck with your day, catch you around and please take care! Thank youuuu and hello February! ;D

♥ Support my art and learning journey on Patreon or Ko-fi! ♥

Thanks so much for your support & for reading! You help me keep going! ʕ ✿˵•ᴥ•˵ ʔ ♡

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