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December 01, 2022, 06:49:22 am
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Author Topic: What does a successful project mean to you?  (Read 1423 times)
Melooon
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« on: December 05, 2021, 06:19:47 pm »

So a back story; In 2019 my site was at position #3 on the Neocities websites list, and I was scared to update it, because I didn't want to do anything to detract from it. These days its slipped down that board a bit and I finally feel like an can reclaim it and start having fun again.

Looking back; for me having a "successful" site was a mixed experience, I loved the feedback and sense of value it gave me (and still gives me), but popularity also stole my site from me.

In a world where on the web you can have an almost unlimited amount of attention, is attention really something to shoot for? If its not a good metric for the success of something, what should be?

How do you think about the success or lack of success of your projects? Do you find it enough to make things for yourself, or do you balance that out with what the wider world wants? What kind of feedback do you hope for from your work and why?
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2021, 07:07:58 pm »

good question well since my site would be personal I would just hope some people see it but it not get super popular. But if it did I would just do what I want since its a personal website
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2021, 07:27:57 pm »

That's a great question to ask!

I think success means different things to different people. For some, success means a lot of visits, a lot of subscriptions, perhaps even some monetary value if your website sells something. While I understand people who think this way, I don't view a side-project the same way as I would see a business.

While the main goal of a business is to generate revenue, I think the main goal of a side-project is to have fun. Even better if we learn a thing or two while having fun. And if we meet awesome people while at it? Great! I think projects are a way to explore our creativity, to try new things, to build useless stuff because we can. It's the one place where we don't need an actual metric other than enjoying doing it.

Popularity on internet is a weird beast to say the least. I would trade a hundred of likes for a single meaningful interaction with someone who takes time to read and react to something you create. A little like I'm doing here! :)
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2021, 08:29:28 am »

i love this question! i'll talk just about personal sites because usually you want a commercial site to become wildly popular beyond everyone's imaginations, haha!

for my personal site, i don't know what this is attributed to, but i honestly don't want to be super popular or 'viral.' it seems to ruin most things surrounding content and individuality. once you start having to appeal to the masses, the things that made it so special go away, it seems. just like with what happened with you updating your site! even outside of neocities, creators who claim they're going to keep doing the same thing they've always done eventually do not, because people grow and change. (at least, i'd like to think so!) i think i've reached a point in my life where i just want quality, not quantity, in terms of my digital interactions. i'd like small groups to discover my project over time, in waves. i definitely would not want to explode in popularity. that's a lot of responsibility.

it's very different than when i was a kid, and i wanted a super popular site. i realize now i was looking for validation, but maybe that had something to do with trying to legitimize all the time we were spending on the web back then. ;)

how do you think this fits into the widespread social media culture we've been living in? do you think this is an internalized response or just more yearning for nostalgia?
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2021, 10:50:37 pm »

i think i've reached a point in my life where i just want quality, not quantity, in terms of my digital interactions. i'd like small groups to discover my project over time, in waves. i definitely would not want to explode in popularity. that's a lot of responsibility.

how do you think this fits into the widespread social media culture we've been living in? do you think this is an internalized response or just more yearning for nostalgia?

I was discussing this with my mum a while ago, shes a full time artist, so its a similar thing in relation to popularity of work and different ideas of success. We agreed that as you get older you have less need for validation. I'm in my 20s, so I still like quite a lot of validation, however its definitely less of a need than when I was like 14; by the time I'm in my 50s I suspect I really wont care at all :P Although sites/games are not side projects to me, they are my main purpose in life, so I'll always want some return from them.

Social media is all about validation, but its not really about acknowledging real work or accomplishment. An artist can have millions of likes on a work, but that's meaningless compared to having that work shown in a well regarded gallery, even if only a few hundred people see it there.

Nostalgia is a good way to start escaping social media, but if you get stuck in it your not going anywhere! So its a reaction at its best, and a yearning at its worst ;D
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2021, 10:59:11 pm »

To me, it's about the quality of attention, not the quantity. My game dev Twitter account just hit 300 followers, and my posts make 20-30 likes each, which are great numbers at least for me, but this one email I got from someone who said they loved my Gemini Capsule meant so much for me!

At the end of the day, follower and view counts are just numbers. You don't know any of them, but an email, and a sign in your guestbook, that's way more personal, and it feels so much better to receive those!

In fact I don't like the idea of having follower counts on Neocities, because as someone that likes to be competitive and compare myself to others, it just gives me anxiety. I'd rather not know how many visits or followers I have, and just hear from those who have, like with my Gopher and Gemini hosts.

Although I hope to make back the money that I've spent developing my game through sales, so knowing how many are paying attention to the game to begin with is important to gauge whether the money I pour into it is worth it, but honestly, hearing about people enjoying my creation is more important to me in the end.
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« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2021, 08:36:51 am »

Lots of great responses on this thread!

This may come across as strong, but I currently find myself pretty repulsed at the idea of any personal expression of mine going "viral" or becoming commodified by others. But I think much of my angst is born of fear regarding the current climate of entitlement and consumerism on more "popular" web/social media/larger content platforms. As someone who did predominantly frequent artistic communities, I saw many artists I enjoyed or admired burn out time and time again in part to the pressure of the platform, entitled fanbases, bizarre algorithms, etc. Fortunately, this does not seem to be as prevalent in retro-web spaces, and I certainly hope it stays that way.

I think my sentiment on what makes a successful project is pretty aligned with some of the other responses here: I do want to know that my work has reached someone -- but not in metrics of likes, follows, and reposts. As a creative person, I genuinely do love my work, and I will always be my own biggest fan, so I want to be able to represent my work in a way that feels right, not in a way where others can put it into some sort of box/assign its worthiness via numbers -- much less for other people to see those numbers and decide whether it is worth looking at only if the value is high enough! That all said, I fully admit that I also struggle not to compare myself to others when it comes to a numbers race...so in the end, receiving a thoughtful message in my guestbook is currently the highest honor I feel I can get. It feels great, and very genuine!

Ultimately, for me, a successful personal website/project would be like...curating and maintaining a museum. I do not necessarily have to know the number of people who have visited, or hear the opinions of every single person who passes through... but I would be honored for anyone who resonates with what I have shared to want to share their honest and personal feelings about the exhibition. It is still important to me to be able to derive as much personal fulfillment as possible from my personal passions, rather than from outside approval -- it can be hard though, sometimes ;P

I am sure my thoughts on this will evolve even further with time, but those are my garbled thoughts for now  :defrag: (I won't really touch on "professional/commercial" projects though LOL. I think that is an entirely different territory I have not quite thought extensively about.)
« Last Edit: December 13, 2021, 08:39:35 am by Nightdrift » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2021, 07:26:32 pm »

I think much of my angst is born of fear regarding the current climate of entitlement and consumerism on more "popular" web/social media/larger content platforms. As someone who did predominantly frequent artistic communities, I saw many artists I enjoyed or admired burn out time and time again in part to the pressure of the platform, entitled fanbases, bizarre algorithms, etc.

Yeah, I think modern social media, and the society we live in in general, places so much emphasis on numbers and quantity, rather than quality.

It would be easy for me to say I won't be pressured by entitled fans, but sadly, I don't think it'd be commercially viable to do so. If you piss off these fans, then they won't spend any more money on your art or projects which ultimately leads to less money in your pocket, and some people do this for a full time job.

It's kind of upsetting, really.
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