How social media destroyed the web's art communities

Kelsey Ables explains how social media killed art communities. It's not just a statement of fact, but a history of the parts of the web that mainstream users might have only seen in the periphery as it happened, but whose loss is now keenly felt.

And while artists have made their mark on all of the major social-media networks, these new, bigger sites have changed the way we communicate and consume. Algorithms steer us back to similar content in echo chambers that inhibit both critical and creative thinking. Platforms incentivized to keep users scrolling discourage long-looking and render users as passive consumers, rather than active seekers of inspiration. They aren't a space for productive feedback, either: Art takes on a different tone when it's surrounded by dog GIFs, political memes, and your cousin's baby photos.

The blanding out of art hosts like DeviantArt and ConceptArt are the big ticket items, and the decay of tumblr into a "joyless black hole" exemplifies the process. But I feel things on a smaller scale are more instructive. Left unsaid, but also important: when audiences migrated to Facebook and other social media platforms, what was left behind on once-vibrant small community sites often went toxic fast.