One thing that’s common among many creatives is a desire for an audience, or even better than that, fans. Not ALL creatives, granted, but many indeed. We can spend too much time online chasing down likes, follows, and potential fans.
But sometimes it’s nice to take a break from that. Instead of social networking for exposure, you may want to consider social networking for fellowship. Find other artists who share your passions, your goals, and yes, even your doubts and insecurities. The enthusiasm, guidance, and commiseration that you’ll find can work wonders for your creativity — especially when you’re feeling blocked.
And this is true whether you’re a creative writer, photographer, digital artist, graphic designer, or musician. Convinced? Great! So here are the largest and most effective social networks for finding other like-minded creatives.
For Creative Writing: Goodreads
Goodreads is clearly the #1 social network for avid readers. It’s packed full of features that make it easy to do things like: find new books to read, track and organize all of the books you’ve already read, and even get notified when books on your wishlist go on sale. Any bibliophile who isn’t using this site is missing out.
But Goodreads is also great for writers and authors, too.
Remember, most writers love to read! So even though Goodreads caters to avid readers, writers comprise a large subset of this social network — especially if you include all of those folks who haven’t yet published anything but have works in progress.
Goodreads makes it easy to find and follow authors, create public and private groups and communities, and even if you don’t want to befriend other writers on a personal basis, you can always take advantage of the Ask the Author and Reader Q&A features.
For Photography: Instagram
I firmly believe that photography can improve your personal life, which is also why I stand by those who say that everyone should learn a bit of photography. And on top of that, photography is one hobby that really benefits from shared learning, critiques, and discussions.
That’s why it’s super important to plug yourself into some kind of photography-related community as soon as you can — and no other social network is as large or as active as Instagram. Ignore this social network at your own peril.
The nice thing about Instagram is that you’ll also be exposing your work to millions of non-photographers in the process, meaning you can expand your potential fan base while networking with other photographers. So even though most people look to 500px as the social network for photographers, Instagram is usually a better use of your time (and isn’t as easily gamed as 500px).
Start by following these amazing Instagram photographers.
Bonus Tip — Supplement your Instagram activity with these photography-related subreddits. In fact, I consider Reddit a must-use site for photographers. No other community has proved as instrumental to my growth as a shutterbug as it has.
For Digital Art: DeviantArt
This oldie-but-a-goodie probably fell off your radar years ago. Launched way back in 2000, DeviantArt remains as one of the longest-surviving communities on the web today. And yes, even now in 2016, it still draws in thousands of submissions every day and millions of visitors per year.
You’ll find more than just digital art on this site, but digital art is certainly its forte. It contains everything from in-progress works from amateur learners to professional-grade concept art from well-known artists like Luke Mancini (who worked on Starcraft and Heroes of the Storm).
And DeviantArt truly is a community. You can comment on any piece of work that gets uploaded, making it very easy to reach out to other artists — especially those whose works you really admire. Many artists have found long-lasting friends through DeviantArt, so why not you?
For Graphic Design: Dribbble
Dribbble is a relatively young site — only launched in 2010 — that managed to build a community of thousands using nothing more than an invite-only membership system (but that system was discontinued a while ago, now anyone can sign up at any time for free). It competes directly against Behance, which is another notable social site for creatives.
First and foremost, Dribbble lets you upload, share, and promote your graphical works to a broad base of other designers who care just as much as you, if not more, about quality. Conversely, Dribbble makes it easy to explore and discover the creative designs and illustrations of others, many whom you might consider as your peers.
The community aspect of Dribbble will probably excite you the most. You’ll find hundreds of meetups across dozens of cities around the world, though most are located in the U.S. and Europe. Visit the easy-to-use Upcoming Meetups page to get started.
Or use the Designer directory page to search for other designers by location, skills, availability, and more. Or simply browse through the latest and most popular uploaded works and reach out to designers by leaving comments. Whatever works best for you.
For Musicians: SoundCloud
Social network may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of SoundCloud. It’s more of a distribution platform for independent musicians, but it serves the purpose all the same. Mainly, it makes it easy for fans to follow artists and for artists to interact with fans.
Does it have all the trappings of a social site like Facebook? No, but SoundCloud is very much a “DeviantArt for music”, if you’ll allow the comparison.
Use these three methods for finding new artists:
- Use the Charts page to explore tracks by either Top 50 or by New & Hot, which you can further filter by genre.
- Use the Popular Searches page to see what everyone else is looking for, which you can use to find new songs and artists that you might like.
- Use the search feature, whether by artist, band, track, or genre.
Individual tracks can be liked, reposted, shared, and commented on. Artist pages have feeds that show their latest uploads and albums as well as spotlighted tracks, and you can follow them for updates. And since SoundCloud requires artists to maintain their own pages, you have a greater chance of actually getting in touch with them directly.
In all, SoundCloud can be good for finding potential collaborators. The downside is that it focuses mainly (but not exclusively) on hip hop and electronica. Artists in other genres can be a bit harder to find.
Which Creative Social Networks Are You On?
Once again, I want to highlight how great Reddit can be for creatives. Participate in hundreds of amazing subreddits where you can discuss topics, ask questions, share news, collaborate, find encouragement, and more. I would honestly be in a creative stupor were it not for Reddit.
But don’t neglect these other social networks!
What kind of creative hobbies or work do you do? Are you involved in any social networks, and if so, which ones? Or do you think social networks are a waste of time and energy? Share your thoughts with us below!