Facebook was a scary and mysterious world to me for a long time, one which I refused to join. It took major involvement in a major community project that I desperately wanted to succeed for me to take that step into the shadowy nether regions of social media.
And - big surprise - I found that I quite liked it. I could suddenly connect with people on a visual level as well as a verbal one - kind of important if you're an artist wanting to take the plunge and share your work with the world like I am. Eventually I plucked up the courage and joined a creative Facebook group, and that was where I really learned that every tiny little mouse click or finger tap on a screen over that "Like" button matters.
In less than a second you have the power to brighten someone's day simply by acknowledging that you saw what they had to say or show. If that someone is an artist and that something is an art work, your like is even more valuable, because simply by liking that post you potentially are sharing that work with other people you are connected to via social media's magic spider threads of weird attachment. It might even show up on your second cousin's grandmother's illegitimate brother's wife's nephew's newsfeed who lives in Nepal and has never even visited the country that artist is from, let alone imagined that there was someone out there doing that thing that the post shows being done.
And why does that matter?
Because it provides an amazing and totally unique platform for an artist to get their work out there. There are only so many galleries around. There are only so many shops and cafes within reach to invite (or hound) to feature an artist's work on their walls. The internet, monstrous and terrifying beast that it is, also gives every single mobile phone, tablet and computer in use the potential to be an Art Gallery. It makes the arts available to every single person in the world that wants them in a way they have never been available before in human history. The arts are what makes us human, more than any other thing we as people do. The arts are what makes us civilised. They are one of the core pillars in our world that holds up the word "CIVILISATION" as though it means something.
The arts are also one of the first things to get funding cuts when times are tight, which is the exact time governments should be investing extra in them.
Your little "like", which takes a fraction of a second, doesn't take the place of solid support for the arts by the establishment. Your little like belongs in a field of it's own. It's a relatively new avenue for the arts, been around for an eye blink if you measure the arts as far back as cave painting and beyond, but it's valuable. To the arts, to the artist, and most of all to the person doing the "liking". It means you'll see more of the arts in your newsfeed, more art in your life.
And that's never a bad thing.
So from me to you, a genuine and heart felt Thank You for your "likes". They really do mean so much.
(And don't even get me started on the value of your comments and shares!!)