Likes and followers are a distraction

The Sparkle Experiment small creative play equals connection

If you make some art and share it online, seeking approval from your peers or via social media can be seductive. The ding of acceptance and seeing rising numbers makes the ego/mind happy. The approval is shown in a physical, measurable way so if the numbers are high, you feel good. And higher numbers are better aren’t they??

“Fame in a world like this is worthless.” — Marcus Aurelius, 121-180 A.D

But those numbers are a distraction, empty of real meaning and approval. We chase the numbers because we believe they can evaluate our art and give us external validation – the permission to continue to make if the feedback is good. But if the numbers are small, or the feedback is not so good, does that mean you feel disheartened about your art? Do you judge your own enthusiasm, enjoyment and self-approval on the judgements of others? And if so, why does their opinion count more than your own?

Seth Godin argues “The narrative of social media grooming is a seductive one, but it’s as much of a dead end as spending an extra hour picking out which tie to wear before giving a speech.” Spending more time grooming an online image is time and energy consuming and can keep you from making the art. Creating art in secret may be a more nourishing way to tap into creativity by distancing yourself from seeking others approval or permission.

But if you do decide to share online, know that the numbers can never make you happy. They will never be big enough for your mind to be content and the joy comes from the physical act of making your art.