Between the STAYte of the Union post and a small blurb I read authored by General McFist, I really feel like I joined TAY at the wrong time. Everything I read about the old TAY, and this change and that change makes me feel like I missed the golden age, the utopia that once was.
Yet at the same time, I feel like I this is the best time to have signed up. Not knowing what I missed out on, I I can move forward with this community without being weighed down by emotions and thoughts about the past version of this site, which is what is plaguing some of the users and driving them away.
Anyway, I'll flat out admit- The reception I got here was weird as all hell. Why are people being nice? Isn't this the internet? Isn't this a forum of some sort? Where are the trolls I see on YouTube, and IGN? The reception was unnerving because I have never been treated with such class and friendliness on the internet. And when everything sunk in, I was happy. I was excited.
I've never really been apart of any sort of online community. There was that brief stint with "Gaia Online" during my high school years when a friend of mine asked me to join up after he found a place for us to hang out in between AIM and Xanga. Remember those?
Fast forward to today and now I'm on all sorts of social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube...These places all have communities and then sub communities and it goes deeper and deeper from there. I use these sites for various reasons, but the main reason is the same across the board: as an artist, these communities represent potential jump off points to help get my name out there in the world. And that's important for me because of my craft, because of the work I produce and what it means to my future in a related career field.
As an artist, exposure is all I really want, all I really care about. With exposure comes a myriad of benefits...More good than bad, in most cases. You find people who appreciate what you do, and that appreciation then creates passion, drive, motivation. Motivation in turn allows me to create stronger pieces of work to share, and the cycle continues.
What I have been sharing with you all on TAY is not entirely a meager attempt at grabbing attention and validating my existence and/or talents. I would be lying if I said that the attention my work has receive and the welcome I've been given personally didn't add a spring in my step the last few days. I joined up to share my work with people who would actually give a damn about my work; people who would understand and appreciate what I do because although we don't know each other personally, we respect each other's backgrounds and interests in the same things.
I've been on DeviantART for 5 years, where I have been posting my art and charting my growth as an artist and I have never made any meaningful relationships with the community. Maybe I never made the effort to reach out, or maybe I didn't fit into the cliques and fandoms that are always connecting people on the internet. But DeviantART, a place for artists, did not feel like a home to me, despite the fact that all the users shared similar background interests.
Yet, when I shared my Pokemon One a Day artwork here, people were genuinely excited about the art, looking forward to the next day's work. People were commenting, chatting with me about the little things, like which starter Pokemon they chose and which games they enjoyed and so on and so forth. On Deviantart, between the four posts, none of them have comments or any sort of discussion going on. These little interactions on this site has gotten me to come back and check for notifications and rummage through TAY more often than the others sites combined in the last few days.
To me, that is a success. If people reblog my art on Tumblr, or favorite it on DeviantART, then great. Picture me standing next to my art at a gallery. A reblog or a favorite is the equivalent of a gallery goer who stops to see my work, gives me a nod, and move along. On TAY, you stop to shake my hand, and we actually converse about more than just art. It's a tiny gesture that means so damn much to me.
Anyway, I've been rambling for a bit, but I wanted to write up my two cents to all this hullabaloo going on. We are all creators here at TAY. Most of us here craft art with words, and write essays or articles to convey our thoughts, opinions, rants and reviews. Some of us craft content with paint strokes. What we present to this site and one another may differ on that level, but it adds the same amount of impact to the growth of the community.
My ending thoughts are as follows: I believe that the same members who went out of their way to befriend me, show me the ropes and understand the ways of TAY are the same crowd of people who never stopped to wonder why things were no longer the way they were. Their focus was never on what was lost, but to figure out the next step as to how to keep moving forward. I want to be a part of that crowd.
-Stormborn / Bonny John