I’m halfway through my annual month-long trip to Japan. It’s some of my most valuable time of the year, not just for the inspiration boost Japan gives me, but also for the time I get to mentally recap, reassess, and reset.
One thing I’ve reflected on a lot is my relationship to social media.
As a creator, social media is at the cornerstone of sharing my creative output, whether that’s blog posts, talking head videos, metaverse worlds, albums, or artwork. It’s an essential piece of the marketing puzzle for creators.
But I also share Eric Kim’s perspective on social platforms being modern day digital sharecropping mechanisms. That basically we do all of this work (creating and posting) on behalf of the landowners (TikTok, YouTube, Instagram) with a small promise of a reward (likes, followers, influence). And the rewards aren’t all that satisfying, nor guaranteed.
As an experiment, I posted daily videos on TikTok starting back in September 2022. I built a remote team. We were surfacing relevant tech-related content, sharing opinions, and producing addictive content. Over the last few months, we ran my account from 0 to 4k followers, with over 2 million views across my videos.
By all accounts, this was a successful test of the platform. But no matter how I look at it, I can’t justify putting brainpower or teampower on creating social content. Spending a half-hour making a social post doesn’t bring me any long-term value. It’s an ephemeral moment that I can’t reserve or build on. All I’m doing is tending the field that day. And if I foget to tend the field one day, it’s going to be double or triple as hard to catch up.
I don’t think I’m at the point where it makes sense to ignore social media completely. There’s still a lot of marketing potential and cultural value to obtain there. But it’s worthwhile to change how it fits into my creative process.
Vlog, Blog, and Log
What I realized is that I’d rather spend my time creating things that could become, as Ryan Holiday says, perennial. Perennial creations are timeless and boundless. You make them once and can continue seeing value from it weeks, months, and years later. And then your social content is just documenting the process of making perennial creations.
In other words, let the social timeline be the content runoff from my creative output. Instead of creating content to grow on social, create out of passion and document that passion on social. But never create assets solely for social media.
It’s a sloppier and less polished way of posting. But ultimately, it allows you to still get the marketing benefits without sacrificing time creating net new material for this ephemeral channel.
There’s two people’s content philosophies I’m drawing on here.
One, is Eric Kim with his philosophy on why everyone should blog, vlog, and log. Basically, his premise is that you should focus on consistently sharing raw thoughts on social media daily as a lifelog for what you’re working on and thinking about. Because the algorithms will find a way to get value from whatever you post, you shouldn’t think too hard on the strategy and just go for raw volume. Over time, you’ll naturally market whatever you’re working on because you’re sharing your life. But with this mindset, you’re de-escalating the priority of creating beautiful social content. And instead sharing in the rawest and most efficient way.
If you’re efficient with this flow, then you end up like Gary V, the second content philosophy I’m biting here. Gary doesn’t create anything, he just documents. Basically he applies the vlogging mindset to business content. He’s capturing and making content out of his day-to-day process. There’s no real extra work because he is just sharing the thoughts he’s about to bring into his next meeting.
I think it’s important for all of us to constantly reassess our relationship with certain technologies. Specifically the invasive ones like social media.
For 2023, I’m hybridizing Eric Kim and Gary V’s approaches to social media content. I’m changing things up because I want to find a more symbiotic relationship with social media. Instead of thinking so hard about creating a polished and presentable social image, I’ll be focusing on sharing the raw, top-of-mind thoughts that relate to the perennial creations I’m working on.
What technology are you going to reassess your relationship with in 2023?