Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

close up photography of smartphone icons
close up photography of smartphone icons

The allure and future amongst the manure of Meta

But first, Fendi is a precious commission I did as a gift from the Grandparents of a first time dog owner. Fendi is much loved and supremely adorable. I will be opening my calendar for commissions in January, so think about it! In the meantime, keep an eye on my art website at

Facebook and Instagram are amongst the royalty of positive reinforcement. But what a lot of people don’t understand is that positive reinforcement isn’t always good. In addition to being an artist, I’m a behavior analyst. I am not certified, but I know stuff. Magical stuff. Well, that’s a lie. I know science stuff about behavior and I know people I can ask if I’m not up to snuff on anything.

People tend to think of positive reinforcement as a reward for some behavior, like grades at the end of a semester or praise for having nice hair. There’s more to it than that in the behavior world. To make sure we’re speaking the same language, when I say positive reinforcement, I mean that someone does something, that thing they did is followed by something that has value to them, and then, in the future they do more of that something in hopes of getting that valuable thing again. This is not something that only happens in dog training, although it can be easily illustrated by:

Dog hears the cue, “Sit” >Dog Sits >Dog Gets Treat >Dog sits more often in the future
Fancy Dog Sits Chart

This also happens with people using social media, but with more complexity.

Person looks at phone and sees Facebook LogoPerson clicks open FacebookPerson gets social interaction, plus visual and auditory entertainment, and possibly escape from other activities they don’t want to do or feelings they don’t want to havePerson clicks open Facebook more often in the future, and stays on the app longer based on the activities that are most valuable to them on there
Fancy Person Gets Addicted to Facebook Chart

The complexity can be hard to decode when you’re the person who sees that Facebook Logo. You may not realize this is happening, especially at first. Even if you are a behavior analyst or a psychologist or a neurologist, or a freaking IT genius, you may not see what is happening to you, or to be more precise, to your behavior. Even if you are the smartest, most insightful person in the world, you may not realize where all your time is going, where your thoughts are getting stuck, and even where you grow your opinions about stuff. You’re under the control of one of the most devious, completely natural scientific processes in existence. And you didn’t see it happening.

And when I say “you”, I mean me, too. This is where I am right now. I am under the enthrall of some social media reinforcers that are really hard to ditch even now, when I realize that some of them aren’t helpful at all in terms of my business growth. As I’ve discussed in previous posts I know that Instagram doesn’t get me any business. After getting ditched from Meta Products for various cat videos and Monty Python memes in Late September, and starting to rebuild in October, I still only have a whopping 58 Insta followers, none of whom are really in my niche. They’re not my customers. They’re not going to buy shit from me.

My online behavior has been somewhat responsive to that. I know that when I post something on Instagram I might get a like or two, but that’s it. If I get 4 likes that’s huge on my current state of Instagram. So I’ve downgraded Insta as a behavioral priority, but guess what happened?

In general, if you get rid of one behavior, another behavior is going to take its place. And the more like the first behavior the new behavior is, the easier it is for that switch to happen. So, what happened to me is that while I was Meta-free I started spending more time on TikTok. And guess what? On TikTok I get hundreds of views, dozens of likes, a few comments, and even some shares and saves. That’s apparently reinforcing for me, because now all the time I used to waste on Insta, I now waste on TikTok. I check TikTok a billionty-eleven times a day. I’ve fained about 300 organic followers in roughly the same time I was working to rebuild those 58 followers on Insta, but I get tons of views from people who aren’t followers. That’s all good in terms of building my TikTok behavior.

But guess what? They’re still not my niche. They’re still not my customers. They’re still not buying my shit.

Now, for some background, Facebook has long been the best place for me to sell stuff in terms of Social Media. Hell, in terms of everything, that’s been my best platform for selling art. Now that I’m back on there, they have launched a new feature in which they stop trying to make you keep your business stuff and your personal stuff completely separate, and they let you switch to a Professional page. It’s exactly like a personal page except that they nudge you to switch between private and public for different posts. I kind of like that.

Further more, Facebook told me a couple of days ago that because I’ve been an awfully good girl lately they are going to pump up my stuff on their algorithm a little bit as a reward. I can’t tell that this has actually happened nor if it is worth my while to stay, but I do know that Facebook is where my people are, not only my customers, but my friends, so if I’m able, I’ll stay in Facebook. Unless they kick me out again. And I’m not convinced that won’t happen.

So for right now, through the next week while I have guests and plumbing problems (yeah, don’t ask), I’m going to coast. I’m going to play on TikTok (play, not work), look at peoples’ artwork on Insta, and think about how I can maximize stuff on Facebook without setting myself up to fail when they pull the plug again.

But my big goal for the first quarter of 2023 is to build my dang email list. Everywhere I look, people who are not bragging about making a million bucks in their first month on whatever scam of the week art marketing business I’m getting ads about, are saying that their consistent, reliable business is succeeding because of their healthy email list. I haven’t had a strong email list in 17 years, since before social media was a thing. And that email list was for a completely different business. But I grew that list in old school ways, so if I have to resort to old school ways to grow this new one, I’m not above doing it that way.

I’ll let you know.

Onward and Upward,


Rating: 5 out of 5.

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