I don't believe the statement, "Make a better mousetrap and the world will beat a pathway to your door." It's old, outmoded and never was true in the first place. Here's why I think it's total BS, especially now with how social media is so driven by popularity contents:
To win the game, you either have to be in popular circles or you have to have some degree of luck of being in the right place at the right time. If you aren't in trending circles, people will pretty much ignore you. My past experience with my own art pieces has demonstrated to me how easy it is to be ignored by the community audience.
I've worked on a few pieces (artwork as well as blogging) and received some amazing comments in person from people who take the time to look at it. Not that I've created anything spectacular, but it does indicate my work isn't useless. Yet it receives almost no interaction from the online communities I've shared it with. Hell, I've even created articles talking about how to build tools like a fully adjustable art easel (with tilt and up/down work piece adjustments), a decent light tracing box and a variety of other unique content but it barely raises an eyebrow. I have had a few people ask for instructions on the tracing light box but that's about it.
In regards to art work, the wire Godzilla sculpture I posted here on DA, my personal blog and a number of other places didn't fare well at all. Sure, the pictures of the sculptures aren't anything special but they do give a hint at something very cool. It's even on display in the art gallery at school. I do realize Shoreline Community College probably wouldn't have turned down anything so this isn't saying much but it will be on display in their art gallery for about three months. Even with work worthy of being on display in a community, when I look at my art submissions here on DA, well the busiest one has less than 50 reads. Nothing to write home to mom about, that's for sure.
Then I went hunting to see how other wire sculptures fared. Many were in the ether like mine. No attention, no love and no comments. But then there are some that have high view counts. Go figure? Why do some classy works get ignored? Poor presentation? Maybe, but then I found a link to a piece that was a simple shot of the piece. No fancy lighting or anything else and it had a lot of traffic. I'm not going to give a link, because it's not my point to compare one piece to another, but rather to point out how aesthetically pleasing pieces can languish while quickly put together works might garner a lot of attention. It's not that the creator of the piece I found didn't try but it looked to me like they had a rough time with the medium. The wire in the other sculpture looked as if the person did not have control of it. It sagged, it had surplus wire in areas where it didn't look like it should (distracting the eye). But what it did have was a crap-load of views as well as a number of comments. I spent three weeks of near-sleepless work on my Godzilla, using over 800 feet of wire and a gave it a lot of loving attention only to receive commentary here on DA from one person excluding the comments from my greater family circle. And on Tumblr, it was worse. Lots of radio silence and static. Oy! Tumblr hates my guts nearly as bad as Technorati.
Speaking of Technorati, I've never seen my blog fall so much. It rises once in a blue moon for a day or so on T, then sags more than the wire I saw on the sculpture I mentioned earlier. My personal feeling towards the developers at Technorati is that I hope they get warts upon their warts for their nasty rating system. To give an example, I recall taking a look at the 24 other blog stats sharing the same page. Of the 25 blogs, only one was rising, one was neutral and the remaining 23 were sinking like a ship that hit an iceberg. Seems to be quite common there on Technorati as they favor the trending circles. Again, it's a popularity contest, not a creativity contest. Big name sites like Gawker or Jezebel will get a shit-load of attention but people like myself, we're more transparent than a jellyfish.
It's not like I'm a Johnny-come-lately (a noob to online). I've been involved with the Internet since the mid 90s. Back in 90's, I had some cutting edge online presence with things like a "digital graveyard" where people could craft graphical tombstones with epitaphs for their friends to humorously bury them early. It doesn't sound like much now but back then it took a lot of effort to make it work including setting up my own SQL server system with an ISDN connection. It cost over 400 dollars a month to maintain the connection alone. This was back before things like CSS were supported so doing graphics was a royal pain. Dot Net code behind pages and web controls? Hah! Not a chance in those days. It wasn't so easy.
So I've had my fingers in a lot of digital pies but nothing has ever gone beyond one or two people going, "Meh! But what have you done for me today? You ain't no angry site like the 'Daily Dick Punch' so why should I care?" So it takes making people furious to generate traffic? No wonder some of the sites I mentioned do so well because they slap a noticeable percentage of the population in the face blaming some group or another for being the cause of the world's problems. Sigh! If that's what it takes, I don't want to play that game. I'll keep doing my thing like I've always done and will slide beneath the waves. But I'll still have fun along the way even if I am doomed to obscurity.
A lot of people will say, "Don't focus one the popularity. Ignore it. Just do your thing and have fun." Guess what, if you don't focus on getting your work in front of people, it's going to languish. Sure you might have some fun making it but it's going to be mostly by yourself. Not all that different from watching porn videos by yourself. It doesn't take two to tango in that case. So hey, if a porn video can do that for me so why should I bother to do art then? It begs the question, if an artists paints a picture in the forest and no one is around to see it, is it still art? Not in my opinion. What it comes down to is art has to involve others.
The way I see it, the Field of Dreams statement could be changed to say, "If you build it, it will languish unless you pay the fiddler his/her dues." Boiling it all down and blaming myself, without proper presentation to the public, it's doomed before it starts. Welcome to an early grave where your work is dead even before it has a chance to be born. Such is life.