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How INSTAGRAM gave me roadmap, and stole it back.

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VVendetta

This blog has never really had a solid goal or direction. I’ve owned this domain for over 14 years its just been my spot in space. In the last 3 years I have been interacting heavily on INSTAGRAM (IG). @BETHKAYA

IG gave me an incredible tool to communicate with. It became something I loved. I made buckets of new friends, connected with clients all over the world and explored beautiful photography techniques that would help my art become a viable business and voice of my own. This felt like the renaissance. I was getting a lot of traffic from every share. Every share amounted to sales, and brands were connecting with me to collaborate. It totally had it’s underbelly. Copy Catters and other various bits of undesirable natural social hiccups but I have sang the platforms praises, till now.

In the last 9 months or so, I noticed something alarming. I am organically sitting with 20 thousand + blessed subscribers. However, I am only engaging with less then 1% of them. When my following was at less than 10K I was garnering about 300 engagements per photo, this has been steadily and cyclically slashed. Now at 20 k I am engaging around 100. Also , I LOVED giving shout outs. I love tagging my friends and other makers in photos. Now when I do so, my photos are blocked and sometimes just removed. What happened?

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I stare at my shop analytics and see the writing on the wall. The traffic to etsy is not coming from etsy (Thanks Etsy?) its coming from Instagram and a shred from google alla this site. Sales are remarkably down. They are still trickling from previous clients. I am sure grateful for these relationships I took time to foster. New clients? Very slim. This is panic mode as a business owner. I can’t stand quiet about it either.

I thought about class action lawsuits on the grounds of interfering with my ability to conduct business. I have over 100 friends who are feeling the algorithmic throttle from Instagram too. Did they have a task force come and hunt us down and sell us to the spam people who email me 3 X a week asking if I need more likes on my photos? Probably. Did haters mark my posts as spam or report me? A fraction, Probably. Did facebook decide that in order for me to reach my audience I need to boost through their marketing console on my facebook business page? Totally! Ultimately I can’t help but think there is a liability waiver for all of these thoughts built into their terms and conditions. I mean – who really knows what we sign away every time we agree to another app? Right? I can assume I have no leg to stand on. I can assume that once again the small business red tape grows wider then we were led to believe because social media “lessened that”.

So here I am, cut off from you. I’m not gonna lie – it hurts in more ways I can begin to describe. I watched a video of (KATWISE) another indie roots artist, who’s work I know from the music scene. In her video she was crying because of the very thing I am typing about. Being cut off from you, who we love, who supports our art, keeps food on the table and the lights on in our homes. For some artists, its not just a hobby – we price on formulas for fair market so we can compete in a healthy thriving arena. We sell wholesale, things we’ve made our selves. We are around the world with our businesses. We are up at all hours, fighting with the post office or packing things with absolute labors of love. Somehow that community gets that we to need lift each other up. We get each other and want to see others fullfill their passions and make a living at it if possible.

I know by now IG has seen the dozens of petitions, the #keepitchronological campaigns and more. I know Instagram robots have seen the 20+ letters I’ve written begging for throttle to my waiting audience to be lifted.

What else can I do?

This?

I was just a kid with a dream once too. A 16 year old on her own set out for NYC to be a working artist some day. I worked for the machine and clawed through design school at night. Instagram gave me a present, a way to express, UNDILUTED and in the most authentic way possible. People took to that, organically – and you took those people.

I know, I know, it’s just a platform. Wake up and live real life right? I know. All the haters, hate on me for being a cry baby. I will take that too. It’s just a space in time – things change, roll with the punches, sink or swim right?

I’m not going down either – I will keep sharing even if it’s to limited eyes. Those eyes matter!

This is about the art and what message is left behind when all it becomes is cosmic debris. The content I make comes from something that has nothing to do with this, and I admit I got too wrapped up in it’s power. This is a great equalizer. I won’t compare myself to those who haven’t been targeted by these shifts or who have garnered insane audiences doing things that well, have different merits then I would invest in.  “Followers” are not the things to be preoccupied with. Relationships are. You can pan for gold in a gold field and still just find one little golden piece, but gold is gold.

Anyway, I just had to get that it out. This was an uppercut to my ability to do a lot of things growth wise that I had projected this year but I am just taking a detour and more real world roads this time. Thankfully, people still exist. That’s the medicine. Don’t put all your business eggs in one basket, and businesses found ways to survive when the climate changed.

Strikes and Gutters-

XO

Beth

 

*Edited to ad a side rant about Etsy, what is going on with etsy?

Apart from not getting any traffic or sales from their strip mall, they are using bots to deactivate listings based on algorithms too. 3 times in the last week my listings have been deactivated for no reason in my eyes. I spoke intensively with the “integrity” team as well. In order to garner traffic from etsy, you have to promote your own listings on top of the listing fee AND the check out commission? Where does it end? Stop nickle and diming! Stop bullying the little guy, who has done nothing but bring YOU traffic and revenue. Sheesh!

Today’s office. Very fortunate to have been developing a tarot practice over the last 17 years beginning with my grandfathers ex wife’s first deck and orientation so to speak. I’ve fell in and out of it for years and have clients dually who know this and are always checking if I am “open” or not. Along this path I have come in and out of decks. There are a lot of styles and ways to read and its intensely an individual practice. I open and close the doorway with decks and also just have a few I know were given to me and I am just meant to keep watch and love over until they make their way home. They say the “magic” is bestowed when the deck is given, not purchased and even so it’s a long way to comfortable and logical tarot. Some of these decks you see are in working mode and some are in training. Several are priceless, vintage, of the original brotherhood of light and One in particular (above the pink deck) is a rare deck devoted to Oz illustrations. I fought to remove the plastic for two years (thank you @legaldharma ) and last night I cracked it open. I’ve done 24 readings in the last 3 days on my new #triadreading system, completely blind and have felt personally really enchanted by the breakthroughs I’m having and offering. On my site BethKaya.com under intuitive consulting there’s a brief blurb on this style of flash reading and for the first time I am offering this 3 card spread to my Instagram audience. I only read 6 or so at a time so I have six spots for the next 48 hours. These readings are completely anonymous and are $15.00 – you receive a PDF and the actual reading photo. This scratches the surface a little – stirs the pot up and gives you a cornerstone about the past, present and future energies surrounding your journey. Thank you to all of the souls out there who have blessed me to keep these decks (17 one for each year?!) under my wing ! Also thank you @hoodxhippie for providing me with so many things for my practice. I love the energy in her orgones and have plenty of them surrounding me throughout my practice. 🙏 Sorry to be so wordy! Ya’ll know that’s me sometimes and important for tarot clarity anyhow! #tarot #intuitive #intention #channel

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” I Am But An Instrument…” Welcoming Brianne :)

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I keep hearing that in my head as the rest of my days go by…..In my meditations, my daily visits to the ocean’s shores….  “You are the instrument”… I know.
I can feel it.

I am an artist. I was born an artist. I came from 2 people who sewed clothing, wired circuit boards, and designed radar for a living. I’ve wanted to create things since I can remember. My mother was a master seamstress, my father a patent-holding engineer that designed the radar for the current machines that fly for our wars as well as a master woodworker. My parents could respectively sew you a wardrobe and construct a house with their eyes closed…

My mother’s past is one full of ancient Italian  female mystics and healers,”Strega Nonnas” if you will. My father’s past is full of architects, travelers, and music lovers….

From them, came myself, and my 5 siblings.

I grew up living in an atmosphere of creative people, people always making things, constructing cabinets, canning food, eating tofu and sprouts. I was always that weird kid that brought the tofu dogs to cookouts. The weird kid that took “weird” as the highest compliment. The weird kid that saw HAIR in 7th grade and realized it was ok to be an adult freak just as long as you don’t hurt anybody…(“And remember kids, I am your friend…”)..School just never felt like a good fit, I have felt since a young child that could never be taught art. Forever the frugal, I saved my parents (and myself) the money and dropped out after 1 semester of community college…from there on out, I took on the road, and learning on my own. I lived in tie dye workrooms and studio shops, I criss crossed the country selling my handsewn patchwork at musical events, I taught myself digital graphic design…I’ve had a few adventures that would make a good book. For that I am grateful… Live music has always been the center of my universe. It became more so when I met my husband, who plays guitar full time. 15 years later, we have 2 wonderful children and we still live by the beach. My life’s path has been full of twists, turns, and a few holes, but it seems to be the foundation for the strength of how solid the road is right now. A life threatening illness took my life and shook it around recently- throwing me out like dice in a Yahtzee game. Everything I had known as stability in my life was put on the line, and I paid dearly for the life I have now- but all I really need is my family close, and my peace of being an artist….full time. To be that instrument all of the time.  I’m finding this new life of solitude and stay at home motherhood again, with a strong emphasis on making art every day despite my physical limits due to my illness. My art has exploded into the potential I held back as I put myself on hold for a conventional “boss” in recent past..(I am and never have been a fan of bosses!)
I am healing myself through my art, one day at a time. My husband and children are my unwavering support system. This involves hours of painting, drawing, sculpture and sea glass, beach combing, glue, sparkles, color and anything I can get my hands on. Never before have I been able to create so freely. With this comes a life that depends on the art to make the money, but it doesn’t matter so much anymore these days. I am but an instrument. And that is the greatest gift I have been given as the beginning of my new life.
My current path of being an artist these days isn’t about creating a label, or everyone knowing my name, but more of my life’s purpose bringing art to the surface of this earth. Art is the great healer.

website: www.twilightdance.com
facebook: www.facebook.com/twilightdancedesigns
etsy: www.twilightdance.etsy.com

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Note From Editor –

Following Brianne’s work over the years has constantly inspired and driven me to be a better artist and one humble to the spirit force behind it. It’s pretty clear that Brianne’s channel is a mystical and illuminated place. I am so honored to have her share her stories and words with us. She will help carry the message of spirit and artistic culture intertwining like we enforce in our label. Brianne is DEEPLY connected, humble and rooted in her passion. We can’t wait for more!

– Beth

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