When combining millions of artists working with different media, style, experience level, etc. being here can become overwhelming and finding your "place" can seem almost impossible. Throughout the last few weeks I've noticed more and more people asking "how can I be more active?" and "how do I get involved in the community?"
These are both the same question and completely different questions at the same time. Though the answers to both are quite similar if not the same the difference between activity and community is huge! We're going to cover the answers and difference to both of those in this article.
There are three basic ways to being active on dA and getting involved the community. Everything after this will actually lead right back to these three things.
Commenting: is the best and most effective way to particicpate in our community because opens a way for you to communicate and interact with your fellow artists on dA. A good comment takes time and allows you to give your opinions and thoughts and give the other person feedback, which is awesome to almost any artist out there.
For some people commenting seems hard, almost scary sometimes because they don't know what to say and/or how to say it but there are quite a few guides out there to help you:
Why Comments in the First Place
Giving & Receiving Quality Feedback
How to Comment: Pointers & Examples
Commenting isn't limited to deviations; comment on journals, polls and forum posts as well!
Favoriting: Adding artwork to your favorites/collections allows you to store all the art you've found outstanding in one place. It's like telling the artist "you did awesome!"
Watching: If you actively watch someone it allows you to go a step beyond leaving a single comment or favorite; it allows you to keep updated with their work, journals, and polls making you a part of their deviantART experience.
Diving Into deviantART
Like I said everything will go back to those three basic concepts, but what about finding ways to use those? Surly you can browse all day and filter through all the art that doesn't interest you OR you could dive deeper into the deviantART community at large and target your interests without hours of searching hundreds of pages. (just saying that sounds strenuous!)
forums our forums have a variety of interests and categories from general discussion, projects, help with life and of course art and sharing your artwork itself.
chat like forums there are many chatrooms with various incentives from general chatting, art type, etc. The one thing I've always liked about chat is chat events hosted by deviants and/or groups. It brings people together for a common reason from comment/critique nights, chat hosts and various other projects.
Groups are a great way to find smaller communities and artists with similar interests, tastes, skill level and more. It helps break the millions of diverse artists down into smaller groups of similar artists to share your artwork and interact with.
A Guide to Groups.
Involving Yourself in the Community
Here is where you can stand out among your deviants and become an active member of your community at whole. To get the most of your community it takes both parts participating and contributing. Even the smallest things are what keep our communities active and going. Without people contributing and participating within them there would be no real interaction or activity among the community at large; and this is where the difference between activity and community really comes in.
Participating there are many ways to participate within our community with all the groups, projects, contests, chat events, etc.
If nobody participated there would be no point in having these events put on. These are what make you active in the community. By partaking in the ongoings with your fellow members and being part of the fun!
you can find community happenings at CRCommunityProjects
101 Things 2do on deviantART
Contributing just like participating there are many ways to contribute as well. Running contests/projects, donating to them, hosting chat, having a bigger role in groups, etc.
It's a simple downfall if nobody did these things, there would be nothing to participate in and then we wouldn't have a community to be part of.
It doesn't have to be something huge, it can be a simple gesture, a journal with a project. A co-hosted contest. Giving comments and critiques. All these things are what bring people together to form our own little worlds here.
A Guide to Individually Hosted Contests
If you like it; Feature it!
Getting the Most out of dA
What's the difference between activity and community
Activity and community do go together and this is where this all gets complicated. Like I said before there isn't one without the other; but activity alone does not equal community. Let me explain:
Activity can be based on your stats... the number of comments, critiques, favorites, forum posts, people you watch. The higher they are the more active you've been BUT that doesn't mean you've been active within your community.
Example A: if you go to one deviants gallery and leave 10 comments, 2 favorites and watch them your stats will go up by that number.
Example C: if you go to 7 deviants galleries leaving a total of 10 comments, 2 favorites and 2 watches your stats will go up by the same amount as example A.
the difference: in example A you were only reaching one person while with B your reaching seven.
On a related note: Message Center: friend or foe? is an excellent article for not just writers; but for all deviants.
Activity often leads to an onslaught of messages; I'm not saying ignore your messages but I am saying get out of your message center! Assuming I'm not the only one I find myself spending a lot of time in my message center; but how are you going to discover new things without leaving it? Make sure you make time to browse, discover and participate in deviantART outside of your message center and enjoy deviantART and your community!
Finding Your Community
Like I explain in the beginning; deviantART is a very large community containing millions of artists with many smaller communities within them. Some groups to help in finding your place in a community that would be best for you are:
You can be as active as much or as little as you wish. There is no required amount to participating and/or contributing. It's not about the amount but the quality of your participation. As long as you are happy and doing what you feel comfortable with, you are doing perfect
This question is sometimes included when asking how to participate and be active; that being said here are a few guides on just that...
PE: Getting Noticed in dA
5 Tips to Maintaining and Gaining Watchers
Get your Art some Attention on deviantART