A small scare (how to quit content creating)

Published on 8 August 2023 at 10:13

I had a small scare the other day - I thought one of my favorite comic artists quit. He did not. It took me a day of wondering and a quick Google search to figure this out, but I’m happy to report that Invisible Bread is still going strong. But that solid day of “what happened” showed me a couple things about running a content channel, so while I am very sorry to Justin Boyd (the artist) for making this small experience the star of today’s post, I wanted to share the things I learned.

First things first: update people. In this case, he has an Instagram that hasn’t been updated since 2018, and I found several Twitter (X??) accounts the most recent of which hasn’t been updated since 2021. But none had a “hey I made changes” posted at the top and they all still link out to his old website which hasn’t been updated since 2021. There is no “here’s where to go now” on any of these platforms.

It really wasn’t that hard to find his stuff, again just a Google search, but it took me a whole day of wondering and going through every other natural channel first to do that. I probably wouldn’t have stuck with it had it not been one of my total hyper-fixations in high school. I read this every morning on the bus on the way to school, as it came out. I went through the entire archives once back to 2013. I enjoyed the comic a lot and I was really sad to think in the past week that it may be gone, with no real clues as to what happened.

I don't think anyone really needs to know what actually happened, especially if it was a personal decision - I just wanted a for sure “this is the last one, bye” or “hey I see you’ve found my old website! Go here now —>”. It just keeps things a little smoother, plus people like me won’t message your 6 year old Instagram account about it (whoops). It was a good little experience for me to go through as I create my things that even if I’m not at 10 million subscribers, it’s still good to provide some direction when major changes happen.

It also showed me how I navigate through content, which is great knowledge for deciding where and how to make updates like that. For all I know he could’ve put a story on Instagram up explaining everything that vanished after a day. Or maybe there is a comment in the depth of his Twitter like “this is going to happen soon” but kept Tweeting other stuff until the day of. I don’t know. But the way I went through it was this: got curious and looked up his Instagram. Saw there were no updates. Got on his website, where I used to check the feed originally anyway. Nothing since 2021 there. Saw links to his Twitter and a couple other old cartoon websites, plus that email. Looked at each of those and sent an email. Nothing. Went on about my day, next day I thought I should look the artist (Justin Boyd) up by name because that just seems weird. And that’s when I found the new site.

And what that shows me is that if I change accounts or websites, or (hopefully never) quit one day, put it on the homepage of the website and pin it to the top of social accounts. I remember when Maria Popova changed her brand name from Brain Pickings to The Marginalian, she had in her email newsletter header “(Formerly Brain Pickings)” for several months, if not the better part of a year. I was very confused why it was there for so long, but I understand now.

Which brings me to another point, that not everyone is going to stay up to date on your content for ten years straight. They might come back to it in and out, check on it like once a year and binge everything all at once, or let the emails come to your inbox and click a few here and there as they have time. People don’t have to obsessed with everything you post to like what you do, and still want to see it done. They still want to know what’s going on, even if in passing. It’s really nice to be able to quickly find where the change happened even if you’re like me and 4 years behind. Some people are just going to get 4 years behind and that’s how life is sometimes. That helps me put general engagement rates a little in perspective too.

And with that knowledge, here is this: if you stop creating things and you can afford it, please leave your old content up. Sometimes it’s hard to do that with websites, because they can cost a monthly fee. That’s understandable. But I think it would be very worth it to find either a cheaper alternative website host or use social media (which is free) to your advantage to keep it available. Mostly for those people who check up on it every once in a while. For me, I’m very happy I can still rummage through 10 years of comics, if for no other reason than nostalgia. It’s nice to know that if I couldn’t get them every single day anymore, I can still click through a few favorites whenever I want to.

This was probably more writing than that small piece of my day deserved (sorry again Justin Boyd) but those are some things I now know as I move forward. And if you do or ever decide to create content, now you know as well. Make updates accessible on all of your regularly platforms, people might take breaks from your content but that doesn’t mean they don’t still love it, and keep your old stuff up for as long as you can. Someone wants to find it.

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Liberty Jensen • Writer

Liberty is a donations manager, finance student, and full-time drinker of coffee. She enjoys poetry, her cats, and spending time with her husband.

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