Artists should support other artists
This is not something that is new, or revolutionary, or controversial. Most artists agree that we should support one another. Yet, I find that many artists will not do the simplest things to help one another out.
This is especially important in belly dance, where, at the moment, we have the unfortunate position of being a dance genre that (generally) only appeals to other belly dancers. Most of the general public has no idea belly dance exists, or if they know of it, they either don’t care, think it’s too weird/gross/Islamic, or haven’t seen good belly dance (and therefore don’t care for it). If we want belly dance to grow, we need to support those artists that are good enough to reach the small portion of the general public that might actually be interested in belly dance. In other words, we need to preach the belly dance gospel. To do that, we need to spread the word, and the best way to do that is through social media.
It takes one second to click “Like” or “Retweet”
One of the most confusing things to me is seeing people complain that too many of their artist friends are constantly asking for likes or retweets, and how annoying that is. Well, social media is about sharing, so if you aren’t sharing, you are doing it wrong. Is it really so hard to click “Like”?
Artists have a right to promote themselves, and shouldn’t feel ashamed of asking their friends to help (which can happen if your news feed is filled with, “Oh, PLEASE, not another thing to share from you…geez, don’t you have a life? Please don’t bother me with your attempts to promote yourself again, okay?”) Have you donated money to a Kickstarter campaign? The whole point of sites like Kickstarter (and, surprise, Facebook!) are to help people get where they need to go with the help of the masses, so that no one single person has to bear the whole burden. When you don’t like or share something from an artist friend asking for help, you are telling them that they will bear the full burden of promoting themselves. While many artists do this, and sure, it is up to them to promote themselves, it’s really rather pointless to do so if no one is paying attention because their “friends” are too annoyed by the posts. Word of mouth (which is what social media really is) has always been, and always will be, the best way to market, promote, and learn about just about anything.
To give you an idea of the impact ONE SINGLE LIKE has, I will share my pitiful Facebook stats with you. On a normal day, the reach one of my posts has ranges from about 28 people seeing my posts to about 35 people. Sad. If someone likes or comments, that may up the reach to about 60 to 80 people. However, I managed to get one more person to like my page and one of my posts, and suddenly that post reached nearly 400 people. One like = ~300 more people reached. Your mileage may vary, of course, depending on who does the liking, how many friends they have, etc., etc. But the fact is, if you want your artist friends to succeed, to really put your money where your mouth is, you need to help a girl out and click “like” a little more often.
You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours
One of the other interesting things I see on social media is when these same people, who complain about having to constantly scroll past “Please like me!” posts, then ask for the very same thing. Here’s a tip to using social media: if you like something of mine, I’ll like something of yours. Of course, it really helps if you actually like what I’m posting and want to engage with me about it. I don’t expect people to “Like” my stuff if they don’t actually like it.
I had to learn this the hard way. I’m a lurker. I’m a wall flower. Most people probably think I’m almost never on Facebook, but the truth is, I’m always on Facebook. I just hardly ever comment. But I’m changing that, because I, too, want to put my money where my mouth is. I want other dancers to succeed, because I want belly dance to succeed. So chances are, if I don’t comment or like your stuff, it’s because I don’t actually have anything to say or I don’t actually agree with/like what you posted.
If I see in my list that you like my page, I will like yours. If you invite me to like a page of yours, and you get a request to like mine, it probably means that I’d like you to help me out at the same time I’m helping you out. It is only common sense and good manners.
Supporting other artists strengthens the whole community
When an artist gets feedback about what she is doing, then she is more likely to keep doing it (or not, if the feedback is bad). If a good dancer struggles to get engagement from disinterested/apathetic Facebook friends, then the entire belly dance community may lose a good dancer. Do you really think she’d want to continue to post, to make videos, to promote events, to improve her dancing if the only feedback she gets is crickets? That’s exhausting and disheartening. Let’s not do this to other dancers, okay? Be engaged, support your friends and local dancers, and share, share, share, like, like, like!! Most dancers don’t bat an eye to support, comment, like, and share stuff from the A-list dancers…but how will we ever get more A-list dancers if everyone else is ignored because it’s just too dang hard to click “like”?
Kamrah is a belly dancer in Chicago, IL. They started belly dance as an exercise routine but it turned into a passion for dance that has not lessened, even after more than a decade. They have a powerful presence on the stage, and is particularly known for their amazing shimmies. Kamrah is also known as a very versatile belly dancer, and audiences have come to expect the unexpected from them. Performances can be anything from traditional Egyptian, to tribal fusion, to fantasy cosplay (costume play) pieces.
- Starts today! See you tonight for some fusion goodness 🖤 facebook.com/story.php?stor… 14 hours ago
- Ahsena, my student troupe, at Great Lakes Bellydance convention! facebook.com/story.php?stor… 18 hours ago