Chelsea Faust, a pixel artist based in the Midwest of the United States, noted that Twitter works better as a community building tool than Instagram, which at first glance might seem like a more suitable medium for sharing art. Twitter “press interactions,” she says. “I use Instagram basically for a gallery, as most of the interactions are superficial due to how the social platform works, unfortunately.”
Part of the reason for Twitter’s success as a home for artists is structural: Twitter allows users to post up to four images, each of which can illustrate a detail of a work or highlight different stages of a work in progress. Unlike Instagram, where reels and short videos end up being a full-screen user experience, it seamlessly integrates animations into the timeline and feed, both as gifs and short films, which makes it especially interesting for game developers and the entertainers. This is the case with Isaiah Thotha full featured web developer who also works on the independent title No more fathers, an adventure game full of lush landscapes and expansive environments. “I tried Reddit and TikTok, but the Reddit audience was pretty tough,” he says. “And TikTok took forever to set up, so it wouldn’t let me load … so I’ve given up for now.” On Twitter, he says, Toth found a community of fellow developers eager to share feedback and help each other.
Twitter also makes it easier for artists to see the models and understand what will generate the most interest or engagement for their work. “Twitter users love colors, they love famous pieces and they love dynamic pieces,” says Taraschuk.
Toth notices patterns in which his work also resonates with viewers. “People love animals: I showed off some of them highland cattle once and it blew up, “he says.” Another great type of post is often grass, clouds, or some other environment. The shaders are great to share, but I think primary game mechanics that feel smooth and fun also explode. “
Some attribute it to escapism. “I think the more detail you have and also showing your process gets more views,” he said Gregorio Fromenteau, Behavior Interactive’s chief art director by day and a surrealist illustrator specializing in whimsical animals and architecture in his spare time. “Whimsical images also tend to get more audiences,” he says. “People need to dream in these troubled times.”
However, this does not automatically translate into a search for perfection. “The images in process often get even more likes than the finished product,” says Lewer. “This is a meme among artists.”
With Elon Musk’s offer to take over Twitter, there is widespread concern about what the platform will look like and what content will be allowed. However, the artists interviewed expressed their intention to continue using Twitter, not least because they feel they know how to leverage community building tools. “I’d tell anyone to specifically look into what they hate about Twitter and try to shape the platform to be more welcoming to them – use block lists, dumb words,” says Faust. “If that can’t be done, then it might be best not to use Twitter at all, even if you feel you need it.”