I’ve been thinking a lot about audience recently. Particularly in regards to the reach of ideas and my ability to make supplemental or total income from my creative endeavors. I noticed a button on imgur.com the other day that shows the view count on images and some basic analytic information. Turns out a few posts I put up way back in the height of Minecraft mania in 2010 have been kind of popular. Almost a collective quarter million views popular. Ongoing popularity appears to stem from occasional threads like this one from a year ago: https://www.reddit.com/r/Minecraft/comments/2fxado/complete_environmental_overhaul_19_idea_thread/
I was a little dumbstruck to discover that the most seen of my creative works is almost certainly fan concept art for Minecraft.
In order the posts were:
I think I can claim partial credit for at least some of the many ideas shown above that are now ingame. At the time I was very active in the r/minecraft community and the enthusiastic response to each image fueled fire to create the next. Eventually I tired of that game and have only recently reinstalled Minecraft to impress the three year old L with. The amount of new content is pretty staggering. I no longer feel as inspired to spend hours creating virtual sculptures or exploring the endless random and repetitive landscape.
My previous blog still draws views, much to my shame as of the 365+ posts I am proud of about 60 and embarrassed by closer to 200. Even so the views trickle in 3 to 20 a day, mostly drawn by the papercraft R2D2’s and the zombie Pikatchu, Sonic and Mario. Sometimes a more specific search for creatures from Bas-Lag or one of the many other appropriated characters lands someone among the virtual tumbleweeds.
Since 2011 I’ve had four classes of my own and two more shared with a colleague. I’ve generally engaged regularly with between 50 and 120 students each year. This audience is amazing and I learn a lot from them in return. A lot of my creative energy in the past four years has been channeled into the day to day tasks my students undertake. Last year I told my graduating year 6 students that they could count me in their fan club, that when they earnt masters, published books or got jobs at NASA I would be delighted to hear about it. I am confident that I can count at least a few of my students in my fan club.
My Instagram and Twitter followers are mostly robots, what they get out of it I do not know.
I am convinced that the Facebook filter bubble doesn’t know me as well as it thinks it does and therefore the people who see my posts on Facebook are probably not the people who most want to. I see a lot of content from distant acquaintances in my feed, I seem to develop ‘liking’ relationships with people I barely communicate with because we share links that entertain each other. Yet even when my feed is supposedly set on “Most recent” – And I check regularly because it reverts of its own accord- if I go to the profile of good friends I see posts that have not shown in my feed. So the value of FBook as a social communication tool is limited as there is really no way of knowing if the people that count are seeing your content let alone engaging with it. Add to this my disquiet at growing toxicity of the FBook platform and you can count me happy to jump ship if ever a reasonable and open competitor begins to develop market saturation.
Summer is coming up and there are big changes afoot. Typically as long as I am somewhere I can work it takes me about two days without work before the creative urges become overpowering. So I think it is about time I set about cultivating 1000 true fans by finishing, funding, making building and publishing some of the ideas and projects I’ve got kicking around. Because all to soon I will return to the classroom where all my energies are funneled back into keeping our space the best place I can make it for my students to learn and grow.