The other day while teaching my “how to go viral on Facebook” class, one of my students asked me what the goal of my work was: “as an artist, do you like going viral because you can see that your work is being affirmed?”
Before I begin typing my answer away, I’m going to express that I love the wordpress user interface. There is something so beautiful writing on the wordpress UI. It’s sleek, it’s sexy, it seems easier to type into than a word document. The ease of my fingertips gliding against the letters on my keyboard to the visual punch of each punctuation, each word, each sentence, is tantalizing.
I was about to say titillating, ah fuck it, it’s arousing. Watching these words form in this wordpress UI hits every every erogenous zone so much so that double entendres and innuendos don’t stand a chance.
Anyway, back to the student’s question. It was a great question because I had to pause the class for a solid 2-3 minutes to think of an answer. This is a written response of my response:
“as an artist, do you like going viral because you can see that your work is being affirmed?”
Yes & No. Affirmation is receiving encouragement and the emotional support for your work. I’m going to make it clear that I never take anyone’s affirmations for granted: I store them in the belly of my soul as gas as fuel to keep me pushing forward in this tough business called “entertainment.” However, encouragement and emotional support is something your friends, family, and loved ones give you regardless if they understand your art or not.
Affirmation is something you receive just for trying.
There’s nothing wrong with that, however, as an artist, being affirmed is feeling left to evanesce. Why? I believe artists are looking for more with their work… they’re striving for validation.
Validation is when your work is known to be worthwhile. Validation is when your art is seen to be proven as entertainment.
How does one measure that is something is worthwhile? How does one measure that your art is proven to be entertaining?
To me, it’s measured by views, shares, articles written about you, comments, and anything else where people are expressing that your work propels them to ENGAGE with your content.
Going VIRAL isn’t affirming. It’s validating.
For the past year and a half I’ve had a few wins of validation. However, it’s not consistent. And, this is when the idea of “failure” creeps into my mind. As I get older, I’m preparing myself for constant failures, especially as I venture off into new content ideas.
Yes, this answer (this post) is self-journaling and I really don’t know if it is here to entertain you. But, I think I’ll end with this:
To those artists out there who are struggling, to those artists who are working everyday to figure out what’s next, to those artists who are doing all they can to be “validated.” All I can say is this:
inch by inch is a cinch.
Time to go back to work.
You’ll be validated soon.
Thank you for listening
Some Office Space – San Francisco, CA