An Uphill Battle: Making Your Content Visible (End of Year Analytics, 2017)

This year I started the On Doubt project - a multi-channel interview platform documenting creative endeavors of any kind, independent of its field. The interviews focus doubt as the connecting element of all our efforts - as the underlying human constant: Independently of the fields we are in, we all doubt what we do, how best to do it - and eventually, how to make it seen.

I reached out, travelled and interviewed 26 people since July, a fraction of whose interviews were published on YouTube. Over the months, this project embraced another aspect of creativity: the quest for how to get visibility as content creator, how to embrace a holistic, ethical way of marketing one's work. Because of this, the project now also produces podcast episodes, blog and vlog posts.

I wanted to use the end-of-year metrics to dissect social media channels and offer my experiences about 

  1. How to find audiences for your content, and 
  2. How to create engagement for your content.
(Disclaimer: I'm not a social media expert - don't blame me if things go wrong.)

Table of Contents

Main Timeline, Basic Statistics & Finances

  • I conceptualized the On Doubt project in the early days of July 2017. The intention was to find a content curating format that
    1. natively offered digital distribution, and
    2. didn't discriminate any form of creativity: a curatorial format that didn't put Fine Arts above other modes of expression or thinking - that didn't think too highly of fine arts.
  • I decided on (and ordered) all recording gear on July 9th.
  • After several tests, I recorded the first interview in Vienna, on July 27th. Since then I recorded 26 interviews: in the US, England, Sweden, England, Scotland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria.
  • While 26 people were interviewed, I actually reached out to around 50 individuals. A lot of interviews are scheduled for 2018, but obviously some people never replied, and others did but were not interested. Always remember: a lot of things need to fall in place for a new project to spark interest and have interviewees trust it enough to collaborate - especially if you don't have a strong social media voice established.
  • I recorded roughly 2000 minutes of video footage, which by now resulted in 33 YouTube uploads, and about 15 video uploads to Facebook and Twitter - as well as two (unpublished) podcast episodes.
  • Between September - December 2017, the project's content was viewed about 50k times cumulatively.
  • I spent about $6000 on the project ($3500 for gear, $2500 for travelling). Between September and December ,the project's Patreon brought in exactly $67.46 (total sum), which resulted in Patreon themselves earning $2.9 so far (total sum).

Main Challenges & Strategy

With this project, I wanted to make sure the content gets seen by those people who might benefit from it. The main challenges were (and still are) as follows:

  • Project Scope: Since the project's scope is inherently diversified, I couldn't target a specific niche (e.g. game developers, oil painters, character artists, neurosurgeons etc.): any kind of niche-audience might ultimately become frustrated with the project's scope constantly shifting away from the last upload/expectation.
  • Unclear Meta-Audience: I also couldn't target any kind of meta-target audience (creative entrepreneurs, creativity folks), since the YouTube clips themselves didn't give enough context to make the target vector transparent.
  • No Business Experience with Social Media: I had no professional experience with social media or digital marketing. Instead, I have a 10+ year history of not engaging with these platforms, misunderstanding them as our era's background noise.
  • (For what it's worth: Weirdly enough, I never saw my entirely non-existent videography experience as a challenge: I knew that over time, I would be able to handle it gracefully, just as I did with any other creative craft before.)


I couldn't count on anyone to push this project for me, but had the advantage of specific people with extreme social media reaches to collaborate - people who didn't know me (thanks to each of them for their trust). Over the months, and with feedback from some tremendously talented and open-minded people (Patrick! Siolo! Max! Fabbs!), I gradually developed today's strategy - one that's essentially based on experimentation and accepting failures as growth opportunities:

  • Content Contextualization: I wanted this project to exclusively feature the portrayed individuals - to show them talking, and not show anything else. This would result in everyone being depicted the same way, independently of whether their work resulted in physical products: the viewers simply would never see any depictions of interviewee's works.
    This created viewer frustration and disengagement: an unknown person discussing their process is way more interesting if you can see the awesome work they've accomplished. Because I didn't show these works, I created a situation where only those videos were watched that (1) showed someone with a pre-existing, strong social media voice, AND (2) where these people actually shared the content to their followers. Obviously, this created a discriminative dynamic based on the interviewee's social media reach.
    I decided to strengthen my own social media voice, to eventually be able to autonomously push any project content equally. It took me about half a year to understand how best to do this, and get beyond my basic anxiety of putting myself in the frontline: by now, I "simply" add my own thoughts through vlog episodes. When you visit the YouTube channel, you see me a lot: because of content contextualization. Creating this website here happened for the same reasons: to have my own contextualization platform.

  • Cross-Media-Hopping: I play around and experiment with the content a lot. I create videos, podcast episodes, blog and vlog entries, as well as "long-form images" (I wouldn't know how else to call these), where specific text snippets from an interview get transformed into (hopefully engaging, beautiful) images, to be posted on the project's Pinterest page.
    In a way, the content always stays the same - but it also permutates with every new medium. A vlog holds the same content as a blog entry, but they are different experiences nevertheless, targeted at different personae: people's general interests might be the same throughout, but their media biases won't be. So I try to adapt constantly - sometimes writing a blog entry and then recording a vlog, sometimes the other way round. It feels like a messy process.
  • Cross-promoting the content: I try to post the content on all channels - but it's effectively impossible to do this all the time (I'm still a one-person team). I'm on the fence about posting automation and scheduling tools - which I didn't use yet. I need more information about which are legit, and then still, which are actually allowed by the platforms. Going beyond these risks penalties, which feels way too risky to me..

  • Social Media Platform Expansion: I try to get into one new social media platform each month. So far that includes Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Behance. When looking into the audience numbers for social media platforms, you can easily see that there are millions (actually: billions) of people on these platforms. Every time I approach a new platform, I see the potential of reaching new people, who didn't have the chance of seeing the On Doubt content yet.
    (I don't succeed in all platforms I touch, obviously. That's not the point though - the point is to understand today's digital world, and find more people who's lives will benefit from the specific content I have to offer.)

Social media is a multiplicity - it's not just any one thing. You see this easiest with people who are tremendously successful on one platform, and don't have any visibility on another platform. I think that they like this situation - it gives them some anonymity, which humans probably need to rest. Anonymity as rest periods. The result is that a video might generate 9k views on one platform, and only 120 views on another platform. (Katie Mack; Claudia Six). You can't ever know where your audience is - so my strategy became to try and embrace them all.

  • Paid Advertisements: Since my social media reach is so low, I'll also have to invest in paid advertising. This is a huge topic in itself, that I'll cover separately one day. Here, I just want to make it clear that as a business, using ads is important, and has never been as measurable as today. Also, using ads on specific social media platforms results in them limiting your audience to paid audiences - again, the topic is quite a big one.

  • Focus my own Attention/Energy: It's always easy to kick something off - the challenge lies in understanding how best to pursue whatever part you kicked off. The most important idea to let die was Project Monetization: I naively thought that something like Patreon would result in (a) good content to be seen, and (b) for it to be financially rewarded. That's not how it works: Patreon only works for people who have established social media voice: for example, Dwarf Fortress get two thirds of their monthly 6k donations from Patreon - but that's a project that exists for 15 years, and has its own forum with 4mn posts by 50k subscribers - my project obviously can't compare with success like that.

    As a result, I decided to disregard monetization as source of income - it's not the right metric of success for now. The magic advice from the all-knowing Siolo Thompson, made me understand that me goal has to be to foster my own brand, to eventually (a) become an influencer that other brands want to invest in, and (b) create a product that people want to buy (this will most likely be a book that I'm working on nearly every day, as well as a video documentary). These are not the major goals though: the goal is to make the already-existing content seen. Becoming a paid advisor and influencer is a side-aspect really.

This changed a weird despondency (about there being so little engagement) to a positive surprise every time someone did engage (liking, sharing, commenting, getting in touch etc). In a Zen-style way, the project now wasn't about anything but the exact moment I was in right now: since there aren't any customers, I can relax and enjoy learning the variety of crafts, working towards the ultimate understanding of process, content, audience - and myself.

Meta: Why We Keep Pushing

Don't get me wrong: while this project makes me cry out of joy or frustration at least once a week, it's also one of the most rewarding I've been involved in yet - keep in mind that I've worked for Rockstar as programmer on the GTA and Max Payne ports, studied Fine Arts, finished a PhD thesis, managed a huge artist-run space and later on a fine arts gallery - while also producing my own paintings and exhibit them internationally.

I'm still nobody. We all are. But it's because I know this, that this project matters to me: 50k views in four months, are you fucking kidding me? With all the money I made through selling paintings, they probably weren't seen by 5k people, over the last ten years. This project made me understand how uploading a painting of mine to r/Art results in 200 views - more attention than any solo exhibition's opening of mine ever attracted. It's an exercise in staying humble: because no ReddIt user will buy your works. Also, for the longest time, noone who watches the videos cares about this project, or even knows about it being a project, with a real person behind it.

Which is the point: none of us matter, but we still produce. For whatever reason, as a species, we've been creative for eons. Even in the future, with UBI established eventually, this will be true: none of us will be seen. We matter by not mattering. So we continue, pushing, for weird reasons that only humans can ever relate to.

End-of-Year Statistics (2017)


YouTube is the biggest content platform out there, with 1.3bn users (more statistics here). When I planned this project, I knew that my next project would be natively digital - why else leave curating art in physical exhibition spaces! My idea was to never again be limited by geographic and physical realities: limited audience attendance, exhibitions being limited by time, etc. As a result, using YouTube was obvious right from the start - given my very limited social media reach, it was clear I wouldn't hit the ceiling anytime soon.

While I created the YouTube channel already in July, the only published video there was the initial Patreon-Introduction (Sept 25th). The first interview video was uploaded on October 4th 2017, the first vlog episode on Nov 12th. Between October-December 2017, this project's YouTube videos have cumulatively been viewed over 30k time, which roughly translates to 52k minutes of channel content having been watched. 

This shows how view count is a symbolical metric mostly: it doesn't tell you how much of a video was watched. In my case: short videos win, if winning is about making sure a video is watched from beginning-to-end.

On Doubt YouTube-Stats 2017: Note that the channel lifetime starts in July - but the channel was dormant until I started publishing content there in October 2017
On Doubt: all YouTube channel uploads (2017)
On Doubt: Youtube: Most-watched Channel Content

Note that one specific video has been watched more than 10k times, generating a third of the channel's views. This video was not ever shared by the interviewee though, and wasn't found organically (meaning: people didn't get to see it because they searched for that person). Instead, these views were generated by Yours Truly placing it strategically on a variety of forums and ReddIt channels.

This has become a huge part of what I do for this project: making sure the content doesn't only get produced, but to try to find the right niches to make it actually seen. By those who care. This obviously is challenging when having clips with lesser-known interviewees - but it's still never easy, even when offering content with well-established individuals.

There are a variety of things to learn from this.

  • Content showing well-known people doesn't automagically result in higher view counts. This was to be expected, and luckily someone's visibility wasn't relevant to why I wanted to meet up with them. I still wanted to mention it: any kind of content is difficult to make visible - who you collaborate might be relevant to get going, but ultimately it will always have to be you that creates momentum.

  • Individuals with strong social media voices might collaborate, but won't always share/talk about these collaborations. Well-known people have loads of stuff to do. They might be happy to collaborate for an interview, but this doesn't mean they're eager to share that content. If they do share the content, their followers will be interested. In the case of Siolo Thompson, it meant the difference between 1.5k views (this video, which she shared), and 150 views (this video, which she didn't share).
    Note that for the first video, approximately half the views were generated by me strategically posting it on forums and subreddits. With the first video being more uplifting than the second, it was possible to post it to a more diverse set of channels. I didn't yet succeed in finding platforms that care about non-uplifting but deep content, and also offer subscriber counts in the millions.)

  • The YouTube channel has about 550 subscribers. YouTube is a platform where subscribers rarely leave, so this feels to be a nice number for the three months the channel hosted content. Contrary to common believe, there were nearly no abusive comments so far.
OnDoubt: YouTube Analytics 2017 - Most Watched Video vs. ALL OTHER channel content
On Doubt YouTube Metrics 2017: Geographies

YouTube Demographics

  • Gender: The channel lifetime stats show an audience that's predominantly male (93.2% male, 6.8% female viewers). This makes me sad, because it means (simplified) that I don't reach half the population out there, where I know that the content is not targeted or intended for a specific gender.  This will be one of the main issues to tackle in 2018.
    A small sidenote: at the beginning of the project I didn't yet upload to YouTube. Instead, I used Facebook and Twitter video hosting. Many of these videos gained momentum on these platforms - and this momentum obviously isn't reflected in the YouTube metrics. Take the clips of Katie Mack (detailled info below), which I uploaded to Twitter: Katie shared them with her audience, and they each were watched over 5k times within couple hours (it was situations like this that made me understand social media as currency). I'm sure the viewer's gender metrics would be different, if I could include Katie's viewers here - Twitter analytics don't offer me these insights.

  • Age Group: The content is predominantly viewed by age group 25-34 (53%), followed by 35-44 year-olds (21%) and 18-24yo (16%). It also has 13-17yo (0.4%) and 65+ (2%) - apparently, further dividing up the age groups beyond "65+" is of no interest to Google yet.
On Doubt YouTube Metrics: Gender

I started the Instagram profile on September 6th, and uploaded 120 posts since then - which shows a very traditional, non-agressive Instagram use. The channel has about 500 followers, who subscribed organically (no paid advertisements were used so far).

I call this strategy "non-aggressive" because:

  • I post nearly only original content
    • The agressive approach would be to take ("steal") high-performaing content from other accounts (which of course would be a copyright violation, but one that Instagram seems to tolerate without complaints): screenshot the most beautiful images from other accounts, optimize the hashtags, and you will get insane channel growth. This is unethical on so many levels that I get dizzy.
  • I roughly post once per day, 
    • The aggressive approach would be to post at least every hour, using scheduling tools. Each post is a news beat: the more you have, the more people get to see these beats. By only posting once per day, you implicitly limit your reach.
  • I didn't use advertisments so far.
  • I didn't use any of the ghost/unfollower tools out there.
  • I use hashtags a lot, but never optimized them perfectly
    • The aggressive approach would be to follow the implicit Golden Rule of using 23 general channel tags, plus 7 specific post tags for each post.
(With Instagram being Instagram, daily fluctuations go up to 70 people: you go to bed with 370 followers, and wake up with 300 followers. You wonder what you did wrong, for days. You get frustrated. Then you realize the economics, and that Instagram is, in that way, an inherently abusive system. You think about leaving. You stay, telling yourself to treat this professionally, in a calm and concerted way. You read up and continue enjoying the ride. It really only was a minor hickup along the ride - more are bound to come).

Apart from being a photo-hosting platform, Instagram also is about each user's follower/following ratio, which took me a while to understand: some people out there there want your attention (so they follow you), only so they can unfollow you at a later point: they have one more follower, and bettered their stats. There are even tools out there to automate this. You are treated as an object, and Instagram is OK with that.

Instagram Stats Summary
OnDoubt: Instagram Analytics 2017 - Main Stats (via

Detailled Info for professionals: The pros out there will notice immediately that I don't use Instagram Insights here - but a free third-party tool ( Instagram Insights require an Instagram user to switch the profile from "personal" to "business" (a free operation). This then makes it possible to link your Instagram to your project's Facebook presence. This all sounds awesome, and gives you the impression you treat your project more professionally - until you realize that from now on, your Instagram posts will no longer be shown to people who are not your followers: where previously Instagram made your channel grow for free, my channel growth came to a near-total halt. It took me a while to understand the connection, thanks to a very helpful ReddIt conversation.

TL/DR: I'm no longer an Instagram business user, and therefore don't have access to its analytics.

Dedicated Content Authoring

I produce video clips specifically for Instagram, because it has a 60sec video limitation, and the famous square aspect ratio (which doesn't have to be used, of course). Most of the videos on Instagram have been viewed about 100 times, with a few exceptions going up to nearly 1k views. 

Instagram is (a) a walled-garden platform that (b) doesn't offer content sharing - in addition, Instagram users in general don't leave the platform. This sounds like "marketing bla" until you realize its real-life consequences: a video that generated 1k views on Instagram, and which explicitly is offered as a tiny snippet of the actual content (which is hosted on YouTube), does not generate any views on YouTube. This is quite crazy, considering walled-gardens are most likely the future of the Internet. It also shows why unique content for specific platforms is not wasted efforts: you reach different people this way.

Social Media Viewer's Diversity

On Instagram, Emma Hopkins attracts the most views on my channel. On YouTube and ReddIt, that's Jonathan Blow. On Twitter, it's Katie Mack. Summing up what many know: Spreading out to a variety of platforms matters, because you can't know the target audiences you'll get to meet there. Understanding a new platform's (and target audiences) language is a lot of work, but also very gratifying: to know that your content finally GETS visibility, and as the result of your strategies (and not as result of someone else's shout-out), is the result of me making my problem (little views) into my opportunity (strategically thinking about how to expand my social media reach). 

Here are links to these unique Instagram edits. Some of them differ tremendously, from the YouTube versions:

Twitter is huge community that's used by a lot of tech-people (entrepreneurs, game developers), but also journalists and authors. Fine Arts folk (my background) don't use it at all, which is sad: as a result, a lot of amazingly inspiring contemporary art never finds its way to this platform - which in turn fosters the gap between tech and art. The consequence can be seen at other places on the web, like r/Art - which is a humble community of 12mn individuals posting impressive works that ultimately have no connection to "the real art world" (this is not meant negatively at r/Art - but rather me showing frustration about Fine Artists not participating in a global dialog).

After half a year, I still don't understand Twitter: postings don't get seen, even if you use hashtags. The only way for them to "become visible" seems to be if someone else (with a big social media reach) retweets them. This doesn't result in your visibilty to heighten though.

Although I established a dedicated Twitter account for this project (18 followers), I continuously decided against using it. Instead, I used my personal Twitter profile (268 followers) to tweet about my progress - a profile that I never used until summer 2017. I decided to rather push "me", as a brand, than a project that at this point wasn't anything real yet. This was partly influenced by people like Stephan Hövelbrinks, whom I interviewed for this project this year: he develops his game Death Trash, for which there's no Twitter account - all of its progress is shown on his personal profile instead. 

For what it's worth, here are two of my tweets that hit the roof (first tweet, second tweet): where they initially got about 1-2 likes and an engagement of 30-50 (which represents my social media reach on Twitter), a retweet by Katie generated the following statistics (all happening within approximately 10 hours) - independently of how Katie sees herself, to me this represents the power of social media influencer dynamics:

Tweet Activity (1)
Tweet Activity (2)

I only launched about one month ago. It is the project's actual home, but took a long while to get built. It was a mistake not to have it earlier, but that's how it goes. Having a website as a home lets me put out any kind of content in the exact way that I want - adding a blog, giving context beyond Instagram or Facebook posts, adding podcast hosting etc - all of this would not be possible if I exclusively used social media sites.


  • Since Nov 26, it attracted 752 users in 861 sessions.
  • 317 of these came from the US, 126 from Austria, the rest from the UK, Germany and Canada.
  • 56% of these used mobile devices, 39% desktop, 4% tablets (the website is optimized for all of these). Four of these users found the site through organic search; all others got there through direct links that I spread on Facebook, Reddit, and your backyard.
  • One thing that makes me happy: while the YouTube gender stats are totally imbalanced, for whatever reason the project's website is in balance here. I have no clue why. Maybe because YouTube traffic is generated mostly by me posting it on ReddIt and Twitter (predominantly male platforms)? - Audience overview - Gender - Age

ReddIt is used by millions, and offers a very unique situation: people who don't have a strong social media voice (meaning they don't have a huge number of followers), can try posting high-quality content in the appropriate sub-forums there (subreddits). ReddIt doesn't offer business profiles: instead, everyone can register the same way, and participate in discussions anywhere. Everyone's profiles are visible, and their complete posting history is visible too - which makes it easy for others to see whether you use the platform solely for self-promotion (which is discouraged), or interact more holistically with the site (which is encouraged).

Some of the Reddit forums have over ten million subscribers: you don't usually have access to such numbers. ReddIt can be a difficult place to navigate, because every subreddit has different rules, which to me often felt counter-intuitive: forum regulations are not enforced at the time you post - instead, you post something and are warned afterwards about having done something wrong. It seems like such an easy change to make people simply not post if they do something wrong - but that's not how the platform works. So you learn by a lot of trial-and-error. 

Also, probably because of loads of abusive practices, it's a strict platform: you do wrong, and risk getting banned: from a subreddit, or even your whole domain can get banned. This can happen to the naive even if they might have good intentions - that's just how it goes. Social Media rarely is this strict, and I don't mean to complain about it (in a way, I like it) but it makes it an unusual place for newbies.

I started posting to ReddIt on Oct 25th 2017. Here are some of the high-performing discussions I could spark (the links open the ReddIt discussion pages); I post content in dozens of channels, depending on where it might best fit in - the links here really only show a fraction of what happened:

To those of you who don't use ReddIt: check out some snippets of the discussions that were sparked by this project's post. I'm not sure there is a platform out there that can match this sort of engagement. It's humbling.
On Doubt: Engagement ReddIt, Katie Mack
On Doubt: Engagement ReddIt, Jonathan Blow
On Doubt: Engagement ReddIt, Zach Adams
On Doubt: Engagement ReddIt, Katie Mack


Facebook is the largest social media platform out there, giving us the impression that we're "participating in social media" already because of the personal profile we set up there ten years ago. This is a misconception: where platforms like Instagram (as an example) supports you in specific ways in making your audience grow way beyond your initial reach, Facebook is a platform that mostly seems to connect you with the people you already know in real life. 

I started posting content to the project's Facebook page on September 25th 2017. Today, the page has 181 followers. Because posts didn't get seen at all, I didn't post a lot the the page anymore: instead, I started posting on my private account - which is a weird thing to do. Here's my today's understanding of this:

Facebook accounts matter because they raise your search visibility, and actual project credibility in case of specific collaborations (people simply expect you to be there, so they can link to you - thanks to Jasmin Schreiber for a lot of input on this topic, which is one of the many areas of social media expertise you can hire her for).

As a business (a project that wants to treat its content professionally), you'll obviously sign up for a business account. This lets you have more than 5k followers (a limit of personal accounts), which will be relevant the second your content goes viral. Facebook treats your business account, you, as a business contact henceforth: while posts from personal accounts are shown for free, those from business accounts are not. This is a little-known fact resulting in loads of frustration: people post their awesome content on their business profile, for which they generated couple hundred followers - but each post gets liked by less than five people. 

The simple fact is that business owners will have to pay for visibility. To visualize this, check out the Facebook business page of Dwarf Fortress, which has 15k followers: their posts usually only have about 30 likes. Facebook shows the content to less than 0.3% of their followers. This creates a harsh reality if you have a small following on Facebook, like I do (<200): 0.3% of 200 simply is less than 1 - and that's how many people see my posts: zero. If I post something on my Facebook business account, nobody will see it.

I'm not a social media expert, and have no specific background knowledge in this - my best guess is that this factor (0.3%) adapts based on the number of Facebook users, or at least the number of Facebook business profiles: the more profiles, the smaller the amount of their content being shown. Screen estate is still the same as ten years ago, but so much more content is out there - hence the reality of this factor.

If you have good-standing relationships with your fans, you can ask them to change their stream to always feature your content - until Jasmin told me this, I never even knew this option existed.

OnDoubt: Facebook Analytics 2017 - Main Stats
OnDoubt: Facebook Analytics 2017 - Top Videos

The statistic here show an interesting anomaly: The video where Claudia Six talks about her multidisciplinary approach (Facebook link, YouTube link) did not ever perform well on YouTube. On Facebook though, it was watched over 5k times! Apparently, there's a specific target audience of witch-ey character artists on Facebook, which love this video. You could not know this when only being on one platform - and it's insights like this that makes it exciting for me to have this project have so many social media personae.

Let's dissect Claudia's video a little more: The two screenshots below show that while 22k people were reached (meaning the video thumbnail was in some way visible, 22k times, on people's screens), the video was actually watched 5k times. The "Shares (Beta)" detail offers the best information: The views were mostly generated by Pictoplasma, a Facebook profile with 490k followers. Note the average watch time, a real downer: 5 seconds. Also, note that while Pictoplasma is followed by 490k individuals, only 48 (!) of these liked this video - quite obviously, the Facebook algorithm didn't show this video to a lot of them.

Facebook Analytics: Claudia Six Video (Post)
Facebook Analytics: Claudia Six Video (Shares)

This is the euphemistic nature of social media: while it wants you to feel good (by telling you the insane number of 22k people having been "reached"), it can't ultimately hide the fact that it's always only the tiniest fraction of people that actually will engage with your content.

That's how digital life works though, and the future will get even "harsher": the more content gets produced, the less of it we'll ever get to see. This is one of this project's essential aspects: why do people work, when their work might never get seen: to have numbers to show it is both disheartening and empowering.

Don't equate success with visibility. Don't derive your happiness from sales or views or anything else you ultimately can't influence. 

Work on your work, put the hours in, understand the craft and an ethical way to navigate through it specifically, and life in general - like Claudia Six, Katie Mack, Zach and Tarn Adams, Siolo Thompson, Patrick Wagner, Lisi Bratcher, Evan Flory-Barnes, Benjamin Lenes, Milo Hartnoll, Marlies Wirth and the many many others who offered their time and voice to this project.


And lets not forget Patreon, the weirdest partner-in-crime of them all! Stats first: I set up the Patreon page on July, and published it in September. The project currently has 11 patrons there, accumulating $33/month. In this time one patron left (right after the messed-up Patreon policy changes that were eventually taken back).

Patreon is a sweet tool for people with a strong social media reach/visibility - those manage to generate thousands of dollars per month. For the rest of us, it's a weird place - because any old-school bank transaction (matched with a proper newsletter strategy) would offer the same structure.

Patreon doesn't offer discovery tools for people who are interested in specific kinds of contents, and doesn't operate as engagement platform - as a consequence, Patroen doesn't offers any kind of growth potential - it just sits there, like Facebook. It's a complacent sort of social media experience.

On Doubt: Patreon Pledge Growth (2017)
On Doubt: Patreon Summary (2017)

What Stats Don't Tell: Engagement

On Doubt is a small channel today - but it did reach people who wanted the content, and with whom contact was established. I keep a folder of screenshots of all engagement that this project brought so far: comments on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, emails, the website etc. It's quite wondrous, and a good reminder that social media is a loose platform of actual people, whose lives can be influenced by our creations. 
Talking about social media when you don't even have several thousand followers feels ridiculous to some. It doesn't to me though - coming from a fine arts background where an opening with 100 guests is understood as success, social media numbers are quite humbling.
Here is some of the feedback that this project got over the months:

The internet tends to feel anonymous until we get to see the people behind it - so I wanted to share some photos from behind-the-scenes:

Zach and Tarn Adams (Silverdale/WA)
Emma Hopkins (Hove)
Cara Ellison (Edinburgh)
Alex Champandard (Vienna)
Siolo Thompson (Seattle)
Patrick Wagner (Stockholm)
Joakim Sandberg (Jönköping)
Sandy Nobles (Edinburgh)

Thanks for reading this, hope this all made sense somehow.
If you want to support the project, consider subscribing to its newsletter or YouTube channel:

(There are even more ways to support the project - I listed them here).
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  • Very interesting information!Perfect just what I was searching for!

    • Christian Bazant-Hegemark

      Thanks Shiran! I’m always super happy if someone leaves a comment here on the blog; everyone talks about content not being seen outside of social media channels – and it definitely is harder than anything else; but nevertheless, apparently the content finds its audience! =) =)

  • I will immediately snatch your rss as I can not to find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly allow me understand so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.