Making Friends on the Internet!
as an illustrator
My answer is No. At least not for me.
Not when we have the ability to make friends on the internet. I noticed a lot of people have anxiety and all kinds of unhappy feelings about social media. But what if we stopped measuring likes and follows and views, and instead measure friends made on the internet?
Here’s how you make friends on the internet.
Find a piece of the internet that suits you, and there’s a place for everyone. If you like writing, maybe that’s Medium or Substack, if you like videos maybe that’s TikTok or Youtube, Then there’s Twitter and Instagram where it’s really easy to just jump in and talk to strangers.
Put yourself out there. Fill up your profile, sure you can try to be an enigma, but I find having a clear picture of yourself smiling in the profile and a short clear description of who you are to be the most helpful. You could say something like, “Hey I’m (Your Name), and I’m really into (Your Thing) right now.” Try to narrow the scope of your thing, focus on your ‘biggest thing’ so you’ll attract others who are also interested in that thing.
Find the others. Who are the people in your thing? Follow them and interact with them. Pay attention to them, and show that you are paying attention by leaving good comments, answering questions, and recommending them to others.
Articulate what you notice. You occupy a unique space in the world, and you have a vantage point that no one else has, if you pay attention and articulate what you notice, you are creating a surface area for others to start interacting with you.
Value those interactions. Continue the conversation, acknowledge their attention learn about what they do, and comment on that.
And if you’re doing all that and nothing happens, just keep doing it, making friends is a skill and you’ll get better at it. I find that the more you put yourself out there, the more you have to attract people to you and your thing.
There is a way to supercharge making friends on the internet, but it works better when you’ve done all the above for a while. And that way is to find a community or group around your thing. Maybe it’s a class or a Patreon or a Discord group. These are places where people congregate around their thing. Go make friends there, remember not to make it about the numbers, but about making friends.
My name is Adam Ming and this is my little place on the internet, my thing is taking notes about the things I see from my vantage point of being a picturebook illustrator. I share those notes here and enjoy discussing them with my friends. Join us if you’re not already subscribed.