Numbers Are Running My Life and I'm Sick of It.


Instagram likes, YouTube views, website clicks. For the past year I've been agonizing over strategies to increase my influence, clicks, and interaction rates. I trawl through marketing strategy blogs and sift through hashtags to plaster under my Instagram posts. 

I'm sick of it though. It stresses me out and keeps me from focusing on what I love to do. I want to go back to basics.

There's usefulness is focusing on analytics. Certain times of day to post, moods, hashtags, and of course the quality of the work all come into play with how way a post or video performs. I have to ask myself though if that is worth the investment?

My Instagram has a meager 300 and so followers, despite campaigns to post daily and max out my hashtags. I've never got a huge job through my social media, all of that came from word-of-mouth. I've had success on YouTube before when one of my videos (you can see a version here) went viral on a small scale. I even made money off of that video, but it's not a situation I could replicate again.

This is mostly me justifying to myself that I don't need to focus on these things anymore, and instead need to focus on creating and sharing work that I'm proud of.

Nikon F100 Nikon 50mm f/1.8g Kodak color ISO 400 film

I vented about this issue recently with my friend Sydney and she linked me to several other creators and bloggers who have been expressing the same displeasure with social media. It feels too much like all hustle and no soul. It's okay to make work that no one sees. When I started sharing my photography 10 years ago on Deviantart, I was lucky to get more than a few views on my photos. I didn't enjoy photography any less because of it, and I shouldn't now.

The Bucket List

My interest in creative work and art really started in high school, and back then I used to tell myself: "Eric, someday you are going to write a book, film a movie, record an album, get art in a gallery, and own a website." I wanted to do a little bit of everything in life, and so far I've already checked off a website! Back then I also thought I'd have to go through a grueling amount of work to achieve everything and that scared me from even starting. That's changed drastically after college though. After I finished school at Behrend, I was a little lost at first. Everything I had done in life up to that point was on a prescribed plan. Go to elementary school, go to high school, go to college, get job, take these classes, join these clubs. Once I was at the end of that list though I was suddenly hit by that terrifying question - Now What?

Nikon FE2 Nikon 50mm f/2 - dual exposure Fujifilm ISO 400

That ended up being the kick I needed to start tackling this bucket list though, cause the answer to that question was whatever-I-want. So I started YouTube channels, I started blogging more, I picked up my guitar again. These are stepping-stones to my bucket list. Some of the stuff isn't very good, my blogs aren't written well, and my videos look amateur. Everyone I do gets a little better though. My first mini-documentary gets released next month as part of a film competition, and the first parts of my book will be coming as blog posts in The Creative Process of Photography. 

None of these goals include thousands of Instagram likes, none of them include subscriptions and follows. 

If you feel like social media is holding you back from anything, don't let it. Working towards your goals should be enjoyable, and you can get started right now.