Is this era of when our everyday lives are being funneled through social media, it leaves me to wonder if as a culture, we’re getting off track. Hear me out.
There was a time when being “liked” as the artist meant that people had a real and genuine connection to you and your music. In the world of social media, to be “liked” can be as meaningless as receiving a birthday card from a stranger who randomly pulled your name out of a hat. What they both lack is an emotional investment.
I’d be the first to admit that it does feel good when that uploaded picture to Instagram receives 50 "likes" in an hour—not that it happens often. It makes you feel like you’re making a real connection to a large group of people—maybe even growing your fanbase. But are you, really? Probably not.
I’ve found that the effects from this type of social interaction dissipate like a consumed plate of white rice during a strenuous workout. I call it the Chinese Food Effect because an hour later, you’re hungry again for more attention.
I propose this: Due to the shallowness of social media connections, maybe our goal shouldn’t be to be "liked," but trusted. To be "liked" can simply mean that someone randomly came across your content, and hit the “like” button for no other reason than it was there, or because everyone else did. Trust, on the other hand, is a lot more involved. First off, trust is built over time. Secondly, to have earned it means that you made a genuine human connection.
There’s also an accountability factor tied to being trusted. Meaning, you must be persistent with what you do, and you must be consistent with what you do. With trust comes a set of expectations that others have of you, and hopefully, you have of yourself.
As I see it, there are no real core set of values tied into being “liked.” "Whatever it takes" seems to be the shared sentiment. This is a dangerous place for artists. Whenever you attempt to win folks over with anything other than excellence, it will ultimately have adverse effects on your work.
Playing well and composing great music will take a backseat to spouting outrageous things and posting inappropriate pictures.
Going back to the Chinese food reference, being trusted leaves you a lot more spiritually satiated, with no desire to consume another bite. The effects of it run much more profound. One bond of trust is worth more than a thousand meaningless "likes." Quantity over quality is an age-old sentiment, and one I think would behoove us to revisit during this age of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and all of the online meetups. I think we’d all be better off if we put a little less media in our lives and a lot more social.