Last year Artfol debuted, positioning itself as “a social-media network for artists.” Eschewing the traditional algorithm approach, it promises an improved platform for creative people. On this day in 2021, I (correctly) gave Artfol a high probability for failure. Understanding why is an important part of understanding social media in general.
What’s so bad about a social-media app for artists?
It’s the same problem we see on social media all the time. A cartoonist wants to promote their new comic, to what do they do? They find a Facebook Group for webcartoonists, and they start posting “Hey! Look at my comic!“
They might even get some engagement. The first few times. Some nice people might even tell them nice things about the comic.
But this is — in no way, shape or form — going to build the readership this cartoonist is going to need to take their comic to the Next Level.
What does this have to do with Artfol?
They’re marketing themselves as social media for artists.
See the problem?
If you jump onto a social-media platform for artists, you’re engaging in the exact, same pursuit as the person who posts “Look at my comic” on a Webcomics Facebook group.
Everyone on Artfol right now is an artist. And everybody using the app currently is very concerned with one thing: Posting their art and acquiring new readers. But there are no readers there! Only artists. (And other artists make lousy readers!)
That’s why engagement is going to be zilch. The users are not there to engage. They’re there to be engaged with.
That’s why Twitter, for example, is so effective. It’s a place for content. That’s what brings in people who are likely to be future readers. What’s the most engaging content? Images and video. In other words — art.
Do you want a social-media platform that’s preferential to artists? Several already exist. Take your pick among the three top choices: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.