Platforms like Instagram put pressure on creatives to feed the content machine, by building follower count and creating their own ‘brand’. For some people – such as Andreas Wannerstedt, who’s found viral fame with his looping animations – social media is an essential, but for many others, long-term success has been harder to come by.
In a recent Twitter thread, designer and illustrator Rob Turpin shared his frustration with Instagram, which, a few years ago, had been providing him with 99% of his commercial work, despite a relatively modest 7,000 followers.
“I got book illustration work, T-shirts, concept design, plus the usual private commissions,” he wrote. “Now, with over 53k followers there, I get almost nothing. Engagement, for me, is half what it was a couple of years ago. Likes and comments are way down, follower growth has slowed to a crawl. Being new to illustration (I’ve been drawing about six years, and only started to think I could make money from it three years ago) I naïvely thought that I could just rest on social media to get work.”