There’s that wall web content creators know all too well: The engagement void.
You’ve posted your first song, your first chapter, your first art, and it gets a resounding nothing. You keep posting, and start wondering if there’s anyone out there enjoying your work. Maybe you’ve got friends or family, but is anyone, ANYONE discovering it, discovering you?
As your work progresses, you start noticing views, maybe consistent clicks from social media. But the void continues. Nobody comments, nobody shares, nobody gives any real evidence that your work is doing anything for them. Eventually you’ll get past this, and eventually you’ll find people who engage with your work. But the void, the sound of silence, can overwhelm.
Depending on your type of work, this can last for a really long time. And depending on your personality type, this can completely consume you as well. I know I’ve fallen for that trap a few times. Back in the Home Clipart Animal Deer days, my friend and I posted for six months, five times a week, and did all sorts of viral marketing stunts. Nada. There wasn’t a single comment from someone I didn’t know in real life the entire run. There were views, yeah, since we made like forty bucks in ads by the end. But zero engagement, and it drove me absolutely crazy.
Honestly, I still don’t get huge results for web content comments. Or shares, or outside discussion, or any of that. I rambled about that already a couple weeks ago, though.
It’s really tough!
Web Content Creators & Engagement
But you know what? There’s 3 easy cures:
Comment sometimes. Send likes if that’s an option. Share the work with a friend.
Web content creators love engagement. They love just knowing someone tangible is out there enjoying their work. It doesn’t mean you have to write some 500-word essay or go out and openly shill for them; it’s perfectly okay to just send out a few nice words and then go back to lurking afterwards.
I’ve tried to live by this the past few years, especially in web fiction. After lurking for many years, I decided to make that change. Now, I like commenting a lot when I read web novels and webcomics, though it gets tiring to ovedo it.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a total hypocrite, too. I’m a rabid podcast listener, yet I’ve never commented, never reviewed, never rated a single podcast, ever. I listen to some of the most indie music out there, but do I tell the creators when I love their work? Hardly! I need to be better about sharing the work I love more often (like This Day in Esoteric Political History).
It’s a really tough job on both ends. Web content creators can’t feel fulfilled with the sound of silence, but audiences have to get past that barrier of passive consumption that has been the norm in media for centuries. Sometimes you get that perfect situation where the creator is too shy and readers are too, but it still works anyway. But that doesn’t come often.
Really, though, better engagement is the only way for work to break out these days. We know about how the Algorithm is completely broken. “Going viral” is a dream of the early 2010s, not something that can happen anymore. The only surefire way to get anywhere is to spread the word about what you like! If a bonafide creative soldier like Michael Guy Bowman can’t break out despite great music and smash hit music videos, then algorithmic success is a myth. Will commenting and sharing be enough to make Bowman a superstar? Probably not, but it can go much further than you think.
I’ll end this ramble with a Challenge:
Find three web content creators you like. Any type, any size, but smaller creators especially. Leave a comment on their work and tell them what it means to you. No matter what, it’s going to make the world a bit more positive, and THAT’S what counts.
4 thoughts on “Web Content Creators & The Sound of Silence”
(I know this is three vaguely rant-like writing-related posts in a row, but actually I wrote this one a while back and forgot to post it, I swear, there’s nothing wrong with me)
A great article, and it is definitely something most creators have faced at some point in their career, professional or otherwise.
Yes! It’s good to remind ourselves about that, whether we are creators or just fans.