I don’t receive many complimentary comments…Actually, scratch that. I don’t receive many complimentary comments from non-affiliates who don’t feel obligated to say my updates look nice. But when I do receive them, I’d say about half sound just like the comment above. What’s worse is when they say they’ve been afraid to contact me. Why? Nothing makes me happier than waking up to an inbox full of friendly emails. What kind of sick human being would deprive me of that pleasure?
Well, someone like me, I suppose. And probably you, too. After years of being baffled by my handful of silent fans, I finally decided to give the topic more than a passing thought. Much to my surprise, I realized that I do the same exact thing. In fact, I’m worse. I’ve been following certain artists and designers and resource creators for years, and I’ve never sent a word to the majority of them. Huh. This research has taken an unexpected turn.
So why don’t we approach our favorite designers? For me, the “fear” stems from an unfortunate experience very early in my so-called design career. Like many beginners, I was inspired by a certain chick who enjoys water sports. I had just gotten Paint Shop Pro, and her tutorials helped me whenever I was sick of learning by trial and error. I, the naive little eleven-year-old that I was, thought it would be nice to send her a gushy email, complimenting her on her helpfulness. Her response? Nothing. Not even a happy emoticon to show that she is, in fact, a real human being who has the slightest care about her visitors. Okay, maybe my email got lost in a pile or her reply got caught somewhere in cyberspace between my inbox and hers. It happens. So a couple years later, after good ol’ Atomic Affliction here was established and booming, I thought I’d apply for affiliation. Once again, no response. Not even a rejection message. I was resigned to believing that my idols were just there to be observed and nothing more. If we lowly visitors aren’t worth their time, why should we waste our time?
Because even though we may not receive responses, those little comments could very well make a person’s day. Yes, some people don’t respond because of a false sense of superiority, but many artists and designers truly are too busy. Several of my favorite artists on deviant ART receive hundreds of comments on each piece, and no human being can possibly respond to every one and still have time to eat and sleep. You’ll also find that many artists and designers are actually much less intimidating than they appear and have no problem conversing with fans. Responding to comments and emails is part of the job of running a website. If a webmaster doesn’t understand that, well, just remember not to give them the time of day in the future. They don’t deserve it.
So spread the love. Ask questions if you have them. Hell, don’t even be afraid to send complaints. Your input will most likely be appreciated.