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Ugh.  2011 was not what i'd call a particularly good year.  Figures that it was the 10 year aniversairy of MT and stuff, too. ^^;;  One casualty of the year was a lot of BS with my host and the loss of the server containing the Fredart and Sarah's Origami websites.  I have backups, so i can put things back together, i just haven't had the time yet... that and the fact that i really want to change fredart itself into a site i actually use to post and organize stuff rather than an older, rarely used repository of my older work.  

When i built the site back in 2000, non-static websites were kind of the new thing, sites that built themselves, parsing themselves server side when someone visited them.  Up till then, updating a site was usually a manual task, editing the code to add stuff, tweak things, break things ^^;;  Of course, the kind of interconnected social platforms like DA and Pixiv and Facebook and Twitter and stuff were not something to really worry about integrating.  I was proud of the fact that i had a little codebit on fredart that allowed TINAMI to index any new art i posted.  Back then, your homepage WAS where your work went, and the goal was getting people to your page to look at your stuff.

Today, things are kinda different.  The weird thing is, most of what i do and post and share can be (and often is) shared via the various active social network style 'enclaves' and in the case of Fredart, having the site be offline for several months is barely noticed.  I post art here on DA and on Pixiv, something things on Tumblr, i link things in Twitter and Facebook, and (way too rarely) on the Megatokyo page itself.  In what was a very disorganized and messed up year, it probably helped that all of this was plugged into neetworks (<-- that was totally a typo, but i think i'll leave it) so a lot more people saw stuff i was able to post and share than would if they just got tired of visiting my cricket-infested webpages.  

There are two kinda negative sides to all this, i think.  The first is that while each of these social networks (Facebook, Deviant Art, Tumblr, etc) are quite large, they are in a way like a gated community.  People have their favorite haunts that they tend to spend most of their time.  It sorta feels like it has compartmentalized the internet a little bit too much, imho.  The second thing has to do with what you have to do to reach everyone in this compartmentalized social networking age - you can't just post stuff to your homepage and know that people looking for your stuff will find it there.  You have to set up shop in each of the various social networking enclaves you have readers/fans/followers.  If i was a more organized person, i'd have a much better system for posting things cross-enclave.  As it is now, i post some stuff here, some stuff there, the result being that people often miss some things i post.  Since people usually hang out in several enclaves, you have to worry about spamming them too (i don't like the idea of bothering people too much).  When done well, you can reach a lot of people and keep people pretty happy.  If you flub it (which i am prone to doing) you will miss out on sharing your stuff with everyone.

I dunno, back in the 90s when i first got on the internet, i think the thing that was exciting was the idea that things could be in one place and everyone could find it there.  That idea is a bit fractured these days, but i guess it was inevitable in a lot of ways.  The net is vast, as they say, and content is not the problem - finding it is.  Fredart was a PHP coded website that i did myself that was remarkably archaic - all of the data was handled with flat text files (no databases for me, hacking around with PHP was hard enough to get my head around) and it was a massive pain to update (i had to create a txt file with the data all in the right places, and the site would count the number of files in the directory to determine how many elements were in the gallery, for instance).  It was kinda cool, but nothing like the things you can do with DA and stuff.  The trick for the new Fredart site will be that i want it to be a go-to point where all the different places things get posted will be shown and organized properly.  A place where i can start posting things, something idiot proof (a requirement) where i can start rambling on something (like this rant that sorta came out of nowhere) and be able to share it wherever i feel it should be shared.  

I totally passed on Myspace when it was the thing, but i was an early adopter on Twitter and a begrudging user of Facebook (where i probably reach the most people with the Megatokyo facebook page) and i still have no idea how to use Tumblr properly (who does?).  I still have no idea what im going to do with Google+, and like so many 'companies' you can only be active on so many social networks.  For instance, what about the people?  I have friends who use that, but i don't post anything there.  It makes you want to tear your hair out sometimes, and frankly... i'd rather be drawing or writing than fiddling with this stuff.  It used to take a long time to update - editing text file, making thumbnails, uploading manually, etc.  But now, having to cross post in so many places, i think it actually takes longer to post new artwork than it used to.  Odd, really.

Finally, before i shut up, i'll note one other casualty of this social networking enclave thing - the web pages themselves.  Now i know you can customize things like DA and Pixiv to an extent, but you are still working within a framework that is exactly the same across the network.  Its sort of like the difference between an older neighborhood with lots of different kinds of houses that look different and unique vs. a gated community with rules about what your house can look like and what you can do in your front yard, etc.  I'm a contrarian by nature, i guess, and i miss the fact that in the past most people had to cobble their own websites together.  Sure, the results were often horrific, but they were still unique.  It used to be a lot of fun perusing japanese websites looking for artwork.  You can say that its much better this way because it's like seeing artwork on gallery walls and much easier to find and share them, and that you can still have your own website to present things in a creative way.  Thing is, most people's experience of your work will be in these social networks, not on your website.  

At least with Deviant Art and Pixiv and stuff, your art itself is your expression and says a lot about you.  The site itself is tuned out, mostly, and your work is what people look at.  Also, DA and Pixiv and the like are actually not bad to look at.  The thing that really grinds me, though, is Facebook.  Has it really happened that the way almost everyone these days presents themselves to the world is via a website that is really that... fuggly looking?  Sure, myspace was hellish, but facebook is way too restrictive and ugly.  But they didn't ask me about it, so what can you do. :)

i'll shut up now.  Sheesh, i was just gonna write a quick 'blah blah here, im posting some more stuff' post and it turned into this.  Maybe it should be a rant?  I wonder where that button is that will cross-post this to the Megatokyo site and... oh, i don't have that yet.  Maybe someday.

  • Listening to: Light Colors by LIA
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fenrysk-art Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
i miss those older simpler days (complicated in different ways). Instead of being on dA all the time and other social media, MT:A&D was my art social media haha
ArynChris Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012

watashi-metan Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012
Hey, I've noticed that Fredart is gone (and btw I've liked the look and feel).

I too remember coding my own horrible web pages back then it was fun. Now that everything grown big, complicated and professional well it's at least different and perhaps not as fun.

And for me the same goes for fiddling with computers and various (obscure) operating systems. The computers got almost too complex and the operating systems as well. Not that I've stopped to do that, it's just not the same anymore...
CaptainNerd Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Late to the thread, but what about hosting your own Wordpress site? I've been using it for over a year now, and the ability to do themes and customization without needing to rewrite big chunks of code is a godsend. Depending on the theme, you can have a lot of control over placement, formatting, image management, the works. If you really want to, you can hack into any of the PHP that you want, if you don't like how something is done, either customize a theme or write your own or change some underlying piece of code. I'm trying to use it for my "central location" and link off to other sites of mine from there.

Just something to think about.
noisybubbles Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2012
The building of a website compared to the usage of Facebook is like comparing a homemade roast to a frozen meal. An actual website takes time, and while it may not look perfect, can be tweaked and improved and customised to one's own tastes. Facebook is the same for everyone, and while it is very user friendly does not have the same satisfaction as one's own creation.

It's funny, isn't it - we have so much information at our fingertips, yet so many of us do not go beyond Wikipedia or the usual haunts in order to find it. Thank you for your "rant", Fredrin. It's always good when such things provoke actual thought.
alanjcastonguay Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2012
The only thing that makes this problem worse is Reddit. But now I have to follow you on DA too? That's ok, I suppose.

- codepoetica
ArusiaSotto Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, what I would like to see is DA or FB to use skins kinda like a wordpress site. All those sites are basically the same, with drastically different themes applied. Would make it more bearable.

I did find something that may help.
This could let you hit the major social sites with one post. Try it if you feel adventurous. I only have DA and FB, and keep the two completely separate.

Give my regards to Sarah.
DJ-Zephyr Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Funny how all these networks that are supposed to bring people together still end up keeping them apart. Facebook does have some nice synching features, tho- logging in to other sites and posting with your FB acct, for example. But the layout was never really geared towards artists. And now that you mention it, it IS kinda homely. But then, I guess with DA, you've got several million artistically-minded users providing input and ideas. Zuckerberg isn't known for being an artist, now is he?

Was curious about not being able to get to Fredart earlier, but at least now I know the problem isn't on my end... like every other connection difficulty I've had lately. *aims sledgehammer at router*
sindaran-ainu Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I can't wait for the day when people stop using MySpace.

Every time I log on for whatever reason, the only thing I can think of is "GOD THIS IS UGLY".

I still have my website with my art...

I should probably update that soon, too XD
Im-still-not-emo Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Student Writer
I agree with quite a lot of these xD I feel the internet's slowly going to get smaller and more restrictive in feel, maybe the word I'm looking for is segregated? Sooner or later the net will get regulated, although obviously not with the SOPA-type crap everybody's talking about.
cutelildrow Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Totally hear you on the sheer time-consuming effort keeping up with the social networks takes - and away from the art and the writing.

I'm still trying my hardest to avoid Facebook and forget Twitter and Plurk 95% of the time. FB, from every single account I've heard, is a MASSIVE timesink that can frequently be worse than being sunk into a MMO. I wonder though if it's because most people don't know how to code websites to do what they want them to do, or look how they want them to look (I certainly know only the barest html required for blogging and linking) that the popularity of places where you don't have to worry about the code and just pick out a template makes it more convenient to use those sites.

The weirdest thing is, these were supposed to be time-saving conveniences... and now they eat up more time than before. I wonder if there's a way to simplify it all, or somehow just integrate everything into a Homepage again (and I do mean EVERYTHING - just have one's social networks, gallery, blog and EVERYTHING accessible from one website...)
missyellowlove Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012
I heartily agree.

MT fan of 9 years (since 2003), by the way. (:
Badjawe Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012
You're right, Facebook is totally a gated community. And since I'm getting tired by all its late changes and their rules in general, I figured that the best way to use it for the benefit of your site and your content is to feed it strictly like an RSS thread, and block the comments on FB itself. People share links, and after all, that's the only thing that matters.

Now stop talking and start rebuilding your *website* ;-)
kittyocean Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
...I have to admit, I didn't notice fredart was down *shame* But just like maintaining social networks, following them is just as troublesome. I have to check facebook (I don't even have an account!) to see if the artist that made me draw posted something new. But she could also post it on the forum of her website. Or even her website! Or even twitter! And I think she has myspace too...

Internet is chaos. Not even organised chaos. Luckily Geocities shut down, because that was the hyve of abandonded sites (with a few exceptions). I loved geocities, even hosted my own website there, but it was filled with people who didn't know a thing about building a website.

I'm glad you're on DA. But I also daily check Megatokyo's Facebook daily. And of course the website itself. Plus I follow you on Twitter. I feel like a stalker XD But your art inspires me and if I want to see your awesome art, I have no choice but to check so much daily.

I feel too old for the internet XD
forgottencake Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I really miss personal websites. People were so creative with the designs; they just did their own thing, even if not many people visited. Though for those of us who did visit, it was always so interesting and inspiring to come across those obscure little personal art sites.

They were much more memorable than any DA profile I come across, even if the art wasn't nearly as good.

Maybe you could just boycott these social networking sites? I mean, I'm sure some people would complain--but if they really care to look at it, it really isn't that much of a bother to go to your website, especially if you've got the RSS feed set up.
shirowwolf Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
As much as I hate to admit it, it seems that social networking sites like these seem to be the ways to build fan bases, these days. I suppose that's good because it gives you a way to reach out to a lot more people who use these media; word can spread better through the use of 'reblogs', although then again...all one would have to do is just post a link anyway. People also love using these sites, so it can get fans excited to interact with them through these networks. I've seen people VERY active and...dare I say, addicted, to Tumblr.

The bad thing is, like you said, compartmentalizing the internet. To me, it often seems like a chore to make sure you're on all of these things, let alone trying to keep up with everything, and I also feel like it it's often unnecessary.... It also feels like you almost 'have to' get on ALL of these sites, or most of them, in order to attract any followers at all, if you're just starting out. I don't use many social media networks right now because I...just don't want to. I started a comic on Tumblr, finally, because I thought it might at least be some good way to hopefully attract some sort of readership? But again, unless you really keep up with these networks, it often doesn't feel like they'll do much good. There's only so many hours in a day! I don't know how to keep up with all of these even if I was using all of them!

I'm not saying all of these networks are 'bad' by definition; hey, if it allows for better connections and interactivity with fans, I'd say they're good things. But....oy, there sure are...issues to be had.

Still, cheers to 2012! I hope you have a great one! ^-^
Valforwing Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012
I used deviantart as my facebook page.
because the people look at my artwork not who I am.
which is how I like it.
The-Pastel-Witch Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I was never into social networking myself, the only reason I ever bothered with facebook was for the megaman legends 3 campaign over there. I find twitter pointless personally.

Tweet: Having a shower right now.
Tweet: Finished my shower.
Tweet: Eating my breakfast, its eggs and bacon.
BlizzardTerrak Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I kinda feel the same way.

It's true, you can reach out to more people on Facebook and DA, but like you said, they all have their own places within these sites that they'd rather be in.

I'm a cosplay photographer, so I'm practically forced to use both sites (and a few others), but I'm worried that when I create a webpage for my work, people won't go to the webpage and just stick to the Facebook. or DA.
hudsonvisual Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Hobbyist Interface Designer
I feel your pain... I'm on tumblr., facebook, twitter, google+, dA and umm... yeah, okay I think I passed my point. I have several of them linked to each other, so when I post on one and share it, it'll share to everything and my FB is slamed with the same post over and over. I will apologize for the posts. I love to share my work but it's been hard for me to want to finish my own personal site because of all the social networking.

I want to setup and good website for myself but it's just making me feel blah to want to post it. The way the internet has changed over the last 5 years has made me very discourage.
MirrorandImage Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I sense and approaching rant of my own...

Mirror and I have always been a day late and a dollar short with our internet. Back in high school we designed a website for a computer class and kept it running for over a decade (which may or may not indicate our age...) before we closed it just under two years ago. It was run completely on html and css; we never incorporated php or asp or any of the other "bells and whistles" because, for the longest time, we were on dialup and the speed of loading the page was important to us. We would update that page every month.

Just thinking about it brings up fond memories of coding, notepad, refreshing to check viability, creating tables etc; but we eventually got to the point where we realized nobody, but nobody, was visiting the site anymore, so in 2010 we moved over to livejournal and photobucket.

Then I lost my job and decided (in a fit I sometimes label insanity) to start up an art business. Cue dA. I've come to love this site dearly, but I'm learning the hard way that getting noticed is difficult. I'm not blessed with having Penny Arcade posting my work and making me an instant hit - in that sense you're lucky because you already know you have a lot of followers and it's just a matter figuring out how to communicate with them.

The problem is that there's so MUCH out there. I've come across hundreds of people on dA who also do commission artwork and and THEY don't have a problem with getting hundreds of watchers and setting aside time for the "commissions open" window. The gated community analogy seems pretty accurate because I have no hope of my work getting noticed unless I submit it to dozens of groups. If I don't do that I'm just a random doodle in a crowd of random doodles, and there are more than a few times I wonder why I have to climb so many freakin' gates in the first place.

Whenever I pick up a book on advertising or ask advice everyone always says "embrace social networks." I have yet to get a facebook account because everyone I know says it's a pain in the ever loving rear, and twitter, to my limited knowledge, is meant for little five word blurbs of "this is what I'm doing today." I don't have time for that because what I'm doing "today" is trying to earn money by drawing. It's an extra layer of effort, like you say, to manage all these accounts and in the end I always wonder what the gain is.

Is it really a numbers game, where if I have XX watchers on dA and XX friends on facebook then that means I'm popular enough to be commissioned regularly? How does that figure to a normal business model (that I've yet to fully comprehend) so that I can make a living off of this? What happens when the next "big thing" comes out and I'm (once more) late in joining the bandwagon - does that hurt me?

And that's circle of thought will always talk me out of getting a facebook or twitter account, and I'm left wondering if I'm being smart or stupid.

Er, I've gone way off topic it seems, but the point of it all is: I hear your.

~da twin
Pompi Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012
Ah social networks. I'm not too fond of logging in to so many accounts either, but sometimes my friends move on to a different network and end up following them... I guess it's a different motive as an author. I think they're good for publicizing to maybe reach out to a wider audience, but having a homepage still gives a more solid footing. Like say if dA is under maintenance or tumblr's servers are overcapacity, there's always a nice warm home to come to when people start feeling numb from all the snow. :P

I do miss the days when I would hunt homepage after homepage, simply clicking links posted by other artists. It's like back then, people created their own networks.

And layouts! I even used to revamp my homepage about twice a year but now I only do that maybe once every 2 years. But hey, I'd love to see a new and improved Fredart up and running. I remember like almost a decade ago when I was 13 or so, I remember wondering why your web layout was sorta different from the other artist web galleries out there and I ended up teaching myself html.
Leokingdom10 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
sounds like your busy on everything, do you ever get any breaks or have time to draw?
SteveComics Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"For instance, what about the people?"

Not only that, but it seems like every week someone tells me about a new tumblr-esque site that does something slightly different. The newest one a friend told me about is Pinterest, and I've yet to really understand how to use tumblr yet...
GMer56 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012
I never really got internet until a few years ago, so I never got to see the "old internet", poor me.
But I still want to make myself a custom website, but I'm a perfectionist, so that may take longer than planned. If I'm not a perfectionist, I have 80 pages of writing revisions for 2 chapters and numerous mech designs that can tell otherwise.
I find DeviantArt nice and stuff, but I wish there could be more customization.
Facebook is annoying, with my "friends" posting some stupid or inappropriate stuff at least once a day... and I only have 74 facebook friends, most of who I know personally. And there's still stupidity and emo angst running amok. I find the angst funny for some reason.
Don't get me started on App invites. I hate those things.
I've never really had a myspace. Guess I missed out on that, too.
fredrin Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
my problem is that before i had the Megatokyo facebook page, it was just my personal page, and so i got 'friended' by a lot of fans - which is great, in some ways, but the way facebook works, i dont *know* most of them, and it sorta makes my personal facebook thing kinda useless in the way it was designed... which im mostly ok with i guess :P

Oh, and i certainly dont mean to imply that older stuff was better - its just that you can get by these days without really tweaking anything if you work with the structures people give you to work with. I just wish more people challenged the structures a bit more. Its really hard to do that these days...
ShadowBossEX Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Student Writer
2011 was a sucky year for all of us.
Mellissandria Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012
I feel your pain, Fred. (I remember when I called you Piro-chan on Twitter). Too many sites, not enough time to plug into all of them (plus being a writer wannabe, it wouldn't work for me to be on Tumbler or Pixiv).

What's worse is I have to be careful about how many places to follow people to. I've been accused of being an Internet stalker because I carried the follow thing too far (but to be honest, I didn't know it at the time, and the person in question had a reputation for being an arse). Now I have to question whether to connect to one more site in fear of opening that can of worms again....
fenrysk-art Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
felt like just yesterday when my friend shot me a link to MT chapter ~300 ... eons ago in interweb-time. i'll always have a spot in my heart for MT/fredart and the MTA&D subforum.
Claytorpedo Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Student
I think that is why many artists only use certain sites for specific purposes. Several will post doodles and unfinished/in progress work to sites such as Tumblr, and then post their finished product on DA or Pixiv. I personally think the best thing for you at this point would be to try to set regular intervals for you to post comics/something to the main Megatokyo page. In general, people will respond well to routine; many webcomics try to stick to a one or two days a week posting schedule, and seem to have a good turnout in audience. This of course can also work without a schedule if you simply post frequently enough that people will check your page almost every day (xkcd and such).
I would suggest choosing one or two days a week, and try your utmost to have some new material to post on your main site on these days. Then you also have the opportunity to work ahead of yourself, so that when you get busy you can keep some activity going.
You don't always need to chase your audience, give them something to expect that is reasonably dependable and they should come to you.
fredrin Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh, that's very much true. The main thing i have to do is get regular with comic postings again. The above rant was really referring more to extra material, sketches, colored stuff, etc, outside of the comic. I've had times where the single link to something was in a twitter post that most people probably missed. ^^;;

That said, i have been mostly quiet the past year because i don't want to fill people's ears with blather or filler. There is plenty to keep people entertained out there, i don't want to abuse people's attention with filler and crap - i figure people are happiest when reading good material, and when the output is good, they'll be happy with that.
Claytorpedo Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Student
Perhaps this could merely be a sign that it is time that you or someone else rebuilt your main site to accommodate different types of posts. You could easily add a section off to the side that shows sketches and such, to link to the doodles you have been up to. Trying to maintain several networks like this has to be very time-consuming, and probably not worth the bother. Instead of spreading yourself thin, simply make your site a little bigger to accommodate your needs. :)

Also if you do plan to start trying to make regular deadlines, starting off by re-vamping your site may not be a bad idea.
fredrin Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
yep, you got the idea. That's part of it.
gothikbutterfly Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I know what you mean. I hate facebook, but none of my friends stayed on Myspace (I enjoyed doing the coding and making it all *pretty*). Being half-way across the country from all my friends and family makes me kind of have to use facebook if I want to talk to them.

I also miss the old websites. I remember doing my coding for that when I first got the internet. Used to have everything saved in notebook so I could edit when I needed, and then refreshing the page like six times to see if you got it correct. I still see a few pages from back then, the same way it used to be in this age of everything having to look slick. Everything has to be so stream lined anymore, and if you use random colours or put in pictures a certain way, people tell you it looks like crap.

/end rant.

Good luck with getting Fredart back up.
fredrin Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Remember looking at a website and going 'hey, i could do that'? :P It's only natural that things got a little more complicated over time, but honestly the best thing about the net was that it inspired creativity (of both good and bad kinds of course). I'd hate to see that subjugated too much.
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