This post was inspired by the fact that I’ve nearly reached one year without social media and I wanted to write, well, something.
Let me start by saying something out loud that I hope has become fairly obvious: this isn’t a technology blog anymore. I struggled with the idea of losing subscribers to the blog as my focus shifts more towards leadership, teamwork, and the ideals behind executive presence. Then I realized I was being stupid and stopped worrying about it. The quantity doesn’t matter. I’ve always believed in “writing for yourself, first” using a public space, so I should follow my beliefs.
If you’re still sticking around – groovy! Tell a friend.
You’ve Lost That On-Edge Feeling
To begin, I’m a sucker for Real Life, “a magazine about living with technology”. Their weekly newsletter is fantastic and a must-read for me. A recent article titled Influencer Creep from Sophie Bishop caught my eye. Specifically, this part (which was also highlighted in the newsletter):
The mark of influencer creep is the on-edge feeling that you have not done enough for social media platforms: that you can be more on trend, more authentic, more responsive — always more. It lodges in the back of your mind: film more, post more, respond more, share more. And as with mission creep, there is no apparent way out. (source)
When I read this, I had to sort of remember what that on-edge feeling felt like. Now, the idea of flipping through social media seems ludicrous. In fact, it reminded me of something.
Here is my original frustration point when it comes to content creation:
I don’t see myself making tech videos again, though, as the process is grueling and the rewards ultimately go to Google and its advertisers, not me. (source)
And here’s the point made by Sophie Bishop:
That encapsulates what is becoming a general predicament: Influencerization adds value that is mostly captured by platforms, not the influencers/workers themselves.
Apparently, Not Just Me
More interesting to me are the conversations I have had with people who responded to the Deep Work post. It may be anecdotal evidence, but a wide variety of folks seem to resonate with this feeling of being sucked down into a whirlpool of endless toil. The engine exists to be fed, and we are the fuel.
We all have something for connection – typically LinkedIn – but tend to find the social platforms to be less valuable than other time investments.
In my gut, I just get a sense that a lot of younger folks (Gen Z) are so disappointed with the status quo (inflation, burning planet, impossibly expensive houses) that they are done with anything us old folks from the 80’s have cooked up.
Good for them!
There’s also a glut of supposed “influencers” that do nothing more than fuel sales for massive brands in the spirit of being authentic. I hope for, and do see, changes happening here.
A Few Tidbits
All this to say, it’s been going great. I don’t think there’s been a period in my entire life that I have been more connected to my family, my friends, and my colleagues. I feel the wind in my sails and it brings me both confidence and joy.
There’s much more to life than consuming content that an algorithm has selected for you.
Don’t rob yourself of a sense of adventure. Making mistakes is part of learning.
Talk to your peers and build a real community grounded in common interests and a desire to learn.