Dear Content Creators & Consumers, Beware of the Media Monster
As a millennial, technology and social media has become an integral part of my daily life. The numerous innovative products and platforms that continuously hit the market never cease to amaze me. The fact that individuals can interact with each other virtually worldwide at the click of a button is a luxury that generations before us could not even imagine. However, I've noticed that social media in particular, has changed. What originally started off as a platform to share your thoughts and experiences via pictures and videos, has now transformed into a commercialized algorithm that prioritizes brands and trending topics. For those of you who watch YouTube, compare the famous, big time YouTubers with the smaller ones, what differences do you see? How many Instagram posts have you scrolled past where people are advertising their discount code to 'flat tummy tea?' Do you ever see anyone write original Facebook statuses anymore or is it mostly questionable news articles and relatable memes? Oh, and let's not forget the ads that show up on the side of your timeline, that just happen to feature something related to what you Google'd on the computer prior to logging in. These are just a few of the many examples of the media monster that is under our bed.
To all my fellow content creators and consumers, beware. As much as we both don't want to admit it, social media is becoming quite frankly, a business. Nowadays, you can make an income from simply creating Instagram posts, YouTube videos and blogging - an income that makes up to or even more than those with a 9-5. Crazy right? However, these content creators are caught between a rock and a hard place, because there is the ongoing question as to whether they should produce something original, that they are truly passionate about, or something that fits an algorithm, something that gains likes, views, subscribers and comments. The content consumers don't have it all that easy either. It's hard to find content that brings something new to the table and that feels real. Let's face it, no one is going to be vulnerable and showcase the negative experiences they have in their life on the Internet, for all to see. So, are we truly 'connected?' If you only show me what you want me to see, how do I know the real you? It almost seems as if social media is a game, and we are the players. We always have to win by having the most followers and by constantly knowing what is going on in the lives of others.
Now don't get me wrong, the purpose of this post is not to bash social media users and influencer marketing, nor is it my intent to discredit the hard work that goes into making and creating the content that we consume. I just want to have a real and raw discussion about my observations that I've seen on social media, from the viewpoint of both a creator and consumer. I wish there was a quick fix for the media monster, but unfortunately I don't have the answer. The most that I personally try to do is digitally detox without completely unplugging from social media, which allows me to stay connected but not consumed. I also post things that I'm truly passionate about, but I still look at my analytics, to see what is the optimal time for me to share my content and evaluate the type of posts my readers enjoy over others. And I don't mind a few brand deals and affiliate links here and there. But I try not to get too caught up in the numbers. The likes and followers will come with time. Overall I think it goes back to finding a balance between strategy and creativity - creating what you want to create, consuming what you want to consume and ultimately allowing the media to work for you and not against you.
What are your thoughts about this topic? Has social media become too commercialized? What can we as consumers and creators do to take down this media monster? Be sure to like, comment, subscribe and share. Don't forget to follow me @ladyporrima on IG, Twitter, SC, FB and Soundcloud, because who cares about followers right?