warning, looooong post is long
One year ago, I made a post on Google+ that changed my life.
The post itself was made in frustration. It was one of those "Can't we all get along" moments that you find yourself in when you see people arguing in real life, or online, even if it is over trivial matters.
I had only been on G+ for a relatively short time. It was in beta and I managed to snag an invite from a real life friend. After trying to figure out what to do here, I was told to start circling people and "let the magic begin." (Or something like that. The actual situation and words exchanged probably weren't as dramatic.)
So, I set out to circle people. I randomly picked someone who's profile I saw (I can't remember who it was. It might have been the friend that suggested I add people.)
A little while later, I found that I had just gone through and added about 600 people. Six hundred people that I had NO clue who they were really. It was to be my "grand experiment."
After a week or so, I wasn't hating my experience here, but I also wasn't loving it. One of the reasons I wasn't loving it was the amount of loathing and hatred I saw that people had for Facebook and Twitter.
It was all out war. It was us vs. them. On a digital battlefield.
Choose your side. Things were going to get virtually bloody.
I was baffled by this. Why so much hate? Why couldn't people just use all 3? As an artist I wanted my work out there on as many sites as I could get it on. I wanted to share my images with people.
A little more time went on and I decided to do something about it.
If they wanted to make it a war, I'd give them a war.
Drawing on the propaganda themed posters of World War 2 (for the allies) I sat down and created my first poster. It was for Twitter.
A blue bird (akin to Twitter's mascot) of prey rearing up and 8 orange birds (the same number and color of the fail whale screen birds) decorated the image. "Be Brief! The enemy might be listening in!" It stated. (Drawing on the short posts of up to 140 characters that one can make while using Twitter.)
When I finished that image, I went on to the next one. Facebook. What did people on G+ hate about Facebook? The virtual games were one thing. I ran with it. "Facebook Join the cause! Your friends' farms need you!" proclaimed the black text set against the green fields in the foreground. In the distance a farm and some trees were set in silhouette against the early morning rays of yellow sunshine. Two posters down.
Then it was on to G+. I had only been here a short time. There wasn't much to draw on since it was in its early infancy. What did Google+ want you to do? It wanted you to share things. Sharing is associated with communism. Ok, go with that idea. Draw on the striking imagery of the Russian WW2 propaganda posters. Utilize red. Toss in a +1. Make it the focal point. Add in a tag line in English using a faux Cyrillic font. "All must be shared to win the war! Google+" (Which confused a lot of Russian speakers who were trying to actually translate it! Sorry!)
Three posters done. I put them together into one image and posted it. Within moments my notifications started going crazy. People were +1ing and sharing my post like gangbusters. A couple key shares from +Pete Cashmore
and +Denis Labelle
had it sprawling out all over G+. They both had a lot of followers already and it was thanks to them that it reached a wider audience quickly.
Within a day it had an obscene amount of shares (for the time. Since then posts regularly bury the numbers that I had for +1s and shares, but I was pretty proud of what I had accomplished for someone with next to no followers, save for some friends from Facebook.) People started to follow me. Random people. People I had never heard of. Much like I had randomly started circling people a couple weeks before, people started randomly circling me back.
I decided to put the posters up on my Etsy store. I posted links here and the orders started pouring in.
I was surprised a couple days later when people started linking me to my images on sites that weren't on Google+ or on Facebook (where I had also shared them.) They were going viral all over online. I was getting emails for freelance work. People wanted to interview me for their sites. (+matthew rappaport
was the first to interview me on G+.) All based off three simple images I created because the people on G+ couldn't play nice with the rest of the internet.
My experiences in the last year are truly humbling. I have had my 15 minutes of "fame" and then some. I've sold my posters to people all over the world. My posters have shown up in print. I've crowdsourced a book of my posters. I'm still waiting for the roller coaster to stop. Much like +Daria Musk
took a chance when she did her first hangout concert, I took a chance on my art.
I honestly thank you all for the inspiration. It has led to a lot of great experience and opportunities I would have never had if I had never joined G+. I look forward to many more great times and you can look forward to a lot more art from me.
I do have a favor to ask from you though. Well, it's more of a challenge. Currently, my original post stands at 486 +1s and 3412 shares. That post was made on July 29, 2011. One year ago. People say that this place is a ghost town. I want to beat those numbers. I want to see if the community really has grown since then. Can the same art (accompanied by a rather inspired and long-winded story of its creation) garner that much attention when G+ has millions more users signed up for it than it did back then? +1 or share this post. :D
We shall see. :)
A link to that original post: https://plus.google.com/114468593663912084118/posts/dxbPTFYuiNJ
And as always... a shameless plug for my Esty shop in case someone out there actually still wants to buy these:http://www.etsy.com/shop/Justonescarf