Assignment#1 My Copious Addiction to Numbers

My current aim in life is to be a full-time artist and I think a key to achieving my goal is social media.

I primarily use Instagram and if you are an active user on the platform you may have noticed a severe dissatisfaction with Instagram’s current user interface. 

When two members of Kardashians share a post about bringing back the old Instagram then you know things have gotten serious.

kylie jenner-kim kardashian-instagram

 For me and I think for many visual creatives on the platform, I have had difficulty gathering a following. 

In an effort to compete with TikTok, Instagram is now prioritizing their TikTok equivalent, Reels over images at the expense of their non-video-making creatives like photographers, digital artists, traditional artists, long-form video makers, etc.

Unless you can adapt image content into TikTok-like short-form videos, I think that now more than ever it’s harder for me and many others to grow on Instagram.

The all-mighty algorithm favors trendy short-form videos, which is great for maximizing user experience but detrimental to creatives and their creative process.

And even if you made algorithm-friendly content you’re just one account in a highly competitive, over-saturated space with people with the same objective as you.

And this can drive people to take risks, to try something so outlandish for the sake of increasing the amount of engagement on your post even if those people do it at the expense of others and themselves. 

So why am I babbling on about all of this stuff? Well, I need to set the stage for the most joyous pastime on Instagram and all these other platforms. I need you to understand how euphoric it is to see a number that is three digits under your reels and stories.

In an environment where engagement and follower growth is everything, every little increase in any sort of engagement is the greatest thing in the world.  The thing on the internet that makes me happiest this week and almost every week is numbers.

I am addicted to numbers. 

And while you may think this is hyperbolic and dismissive, artists and content creators on these platforms depend on these numbers to make a living or even increase the chance that they can make a stable living.

Likes, comments, views, follows, and numbers have dictated my mood. And while it’s superficial and a subject of concern, it is also just a part of the job. 

Success can be measured by numbers; the number of views, likes, dislikes, comments, follows, and subscribers, all of these are considered essential to dictate our success in the real world and especially on the internet. 

Seeing the number rise is a rush, seeing the traction, looking at the analytics, and seeing results from your work gives you the impression of progress even if in the grand scheme of things you haven’t budged an inch. 

It’s a validating experience because in an environment where I have little social interaction with others this engagement acknowledges my work’s existence in a digital space, and it gets me closer to my primary objective.

This week on Instagram, the most likes I’ve gotten on a post with 16 likes while my reel with the most views of this week has 413 views, which is a reel, ironically, taking a jab at reels. 

The best part is engaging with commenters. I have received so many bot comments, so when the human commenter pops in, it feels ten times more rewarding and fulfilling than it needs to be. 

Shifting over to Tiktok is an interesting contrast. I started using the app more recently, I think almost a year ago and one of the few reasons I can use it is because TikToks are easy to convert onto other platforms. 

Since Instagram and many other platforms decided to emulate TikTok I decided to record my digital painting process before condensing it into a speed painting and posting it on TikTok.

Once I posted it on TikTok, I repost it as a reel or on rare occasions a YouTube Short.

Another reason why I use TikTok is that I heard it was easier to grow on TikTok and I personally find that to be debatable. 

I found that I got more views on Instagram than on TikTok but now it started to fluctuate, some of my Tik Toks are getting more views than my reels.

I think maybe it’s because I came in too late but like all of my issues on social media, I also shifted to the idea that my art isn’t that good.

I could wait for it to get better but that could take years and if I wanted to grow an audience, I feel like it’s better to grow an audience alongside my skills. 

The TikTok video with the most views had 186 views. 

On my YouTube, and while I don’t post on their daily I recently posted a video that has garnered 653 views making it my most viewed video on that channel. It almost felt unearned because I felt like I put little to no effort into that video.

But my main bread and butter are webcomics. I am to be a webcomic with a possible plan to print comics further down the line if my career as a film editor works out. My current series, “Infinite Circles of Purgatory” has recently garnered 47 views this week with the latest installment gathering a good 39 views. This was actually my favorite one so far. 


This fixation on numbers, while it can be rewarding, can also be a detriment to a person’s mental health. I’ve heard stories of many creators across many platforms conflating their self-worth and their skills to the statistics they see on their analytics. And while sometimes that can be an indicator of things to improve on or change sometimes these numbers aren’t fully in our control and that scares me.

While looking at the statistics and the growth of my platforms can make me happy and feel like I’m going somewhere I have to consider the possibility that I could stagnate again and prepare for that.

I think a way to make this process even better is by not fully investing in social media or even highlighting other creators that need the support. I’ve seen so many amazing artists that I feel are personally underrated so sometimes I shout them out even though my platform is pretty small. 

There’s a lot more to my career than just social media and if I keep fixating on social media engagement then my work and even my career will never improve.

But saying it aloud and internalizing it are two different things… 



2 thoughts on “Assignment#1 My Copious Addiction to Numbers”

  1. Well done!
    This is an incredibly insightful, expressive and fun first post! BRAVO!
    I cant agree with you more here, how do we keep up with the social media changes, and the algorithms that they develop so fast? We can only learn and test, experiment and experiment some more! Plus, we don’t want to sacrifice our works style and integrity for an algorithm.. do we?! Never!
    Perhaps you would consider adding a few animated GIFs to help express some of the sentiments that you feel in between the stanzas of verbiage? It will help the reader connect to those emotions.
    Great work here, and a fine example for our CT101 community!
    Thank you!

  2. Firstly, I wish you the best re your goal! Listen that’s how crazy social media is, one day your views are through the roof and the next time it’s under the tile. However, I love that you remained consistent regardless! Awesome article

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