Like lush, I’m tired of algorithms

Lush UK are closing down their social media accounts

I was thrilled to see that Lush UK, the bath bomb and cosmetics company, is leaving social media, saying that they are, “tired of fighting with algorithms” and did not want to “pay to appear” in newsfeeds.

Sadly this is not the dawn of the fightback, but the start of a new social media approach. It looks to me as if they are creating their own in-house personality influencers. Splitting a corporate account into many “human” faces. It also looks as though they are going to be paying influencers to leverage their followers and ability to drive views.

I was really hoping that they were the sign of an advance guard of a social media rebellion, but no. They are using this moment to gain a bit of quick publicity before they dive even deeper into the gravitational swirl of the social media black hole. If everyone else is doing it so do they.

Personally I am so tired of it all. I was hoping, since I was an early adopter, that maybe I’m early to the desire to leave and get a real life back.

It’s not just that we are being played in a giant game by uncaring mega corporations but, as we post and share, we are under surveillance, having our data and our lives blatantly stolen and sold to the highest bidder in microsecond auctions, by Facebook, Google and all the others. Now everyone is at it. Anything that is called smart and connected to the internet is not for your convenience – it is designed to gain extra data sourcing revenues for the manufacturer as they observe your habits.

We are not the customers – we are the fodder from which the corporations grow fat, selling us and predictions of our behaviour to their real customers the advertisers.

That is the real reason why Lush is leaving – as they post on social media, they are not marketing their wares to their potential customers, they are providing data that is instantly analysed and sold to their competitors – it’s almost industrial espionage – certainly self-sabotage to continue.

Is it really possible to withdraw from social media or have we crossed the event horizon of social media, beyond which there is no return?

What does it mean to be a teacher?

I’ve been struggling the past few years, and particularly the last nine months or so, as I’ve been going through a pretty intensive process of business analysis.

The problem is that I’ve built two, full-time businesses alongside each other, by mistake – children’s author and illustrator (that’s actually two jobs already) and YouTube Drawing Instructor. Obviously I only really have time for one of these jobs.

I contemplated giving one or other up for good, but I’m vocationally drawn to both, which is why I’m in this position in the first place!

I love to create illustrated children’s books. I also love to teach drawing and have found a whole new demographic in, how shall I put this, more mature students.

My Problem is the term Teacher. I hold that word and position, unlike many do these days, in some reverence. I feel that a teacher has a responsibility to their students beyond just showing and telling. Apart from setting work, marking it and feeding back, there is the element of pastoral care too. With 300,000 subscribers on YouTube I can’t do that!

If I look after my students as best I can, that leaves no time for creating and very little income. It just doesn’t work.

So I enrolled on a business course and have learned a huge amount about business. I’ve accepted that I am a business and need to be business-like to earn enough to achieve my goals, and have learned a huge amount about myself and what those goals are in the process.

My aim is to be a successful self-published picture book author and to continue teaching drawing skills. To do this, I’ve committed myself to building a membership on Patreon.com. I’ve arrived at a formula of words that satisfies me:

By sharing my practice and process as an independent creator of picture books, I help my patrons/members/students/followers to learn to draw and illustrate, then to design and ultimately publish their own picturebooks.

But that doesn’t quite work! It’s so much easier to say:

I teach drawing, illustration, design and picture book publishing skills.

It all comes down to this word, Teacher. Am I being too hard on myself? Can I call myself a drawing teacher without setting homework, marking it and reflecting back to students. Are there levels of responsibility available to a teacher – especially a teacher of adults, who are working at their own pace.

Hang on… in writing this, I think I may have got it!

I create drawing, illustration and self-publishing tutorials by sharing my practice and process and life as a children’s author and illustrator.

Wow! That is pretty clear and simple. I cannot tell you how many times I have written and re-written a pitch to clarify to my self who I am and what I do.

I was going to ask advice of those reading this post, but I think I may have found the answer! I’d still be interested in knowing what you think.

How to draw a Labrador

Learn how to draw a labrador real easy watching this simple video.

My new book, Walker – the boy who can talk to dogs, coming out on March 14th, (pre-order here on Amazon) So I am drawing a lot of dogs at the moment. Here’s a nice and easy how-to-video for you on DrawStuffRealEasy.

If you were to join me on Patreon, you could watch it free of adverts, and you’d also get a copy of my eBook everyone can draw as well as access to all my drawing courses – what are you waiting for? Click here to find out more.