I’m tired of modern life. It feels like being caught in a loop. I want to talk about the ever-present nature of content. Content is in effect, internet stuff. Online video, online writing, social media activity. It’s all branched under content. I might classify myself as a content creator. Of course, there’s a lot of content creators in our current era. Pewdiepie is a content creator. Some of my favourite YouTube personalities (influencers?) are content creators. I am a content creator. In that comparsion, I feel like a bit of phytoplankton as compared to the whale of an influencer that Pewdiepie is. Maybe even that is an ill-served metaphor. When whales shift, the ocean isn’t hugely affected. I am a content creator. Most of us are in the digital age. We have podcasts, or social media presence, or livestreams. I don’t think everyone gets into this game to be Pewdiepie. However, I think that we there is the hope that we can scratch out a middle class living this way. We are all content creators fighting over scraps.
I don’t want to be cynical about all this. Most weeks I genuinely enjoy writing for the website. It is genuinely what I would want to be doing with my life if I didn’t have to earn a living. That, and just consuming pop culture. Perhaps this is the root cause of my cynicism in this piece. I’m kind of fed up with the system. Content isn’t a dirty word until big companies co-opt it. With fast food companies and video game mascots trying to be relatable on social media it can feel inauthentic to be doing the same thing. Using platforms to guide people towards your work. However, you’re a creator and you have to survive somehow. You have to sell your art because you exist in a consumer capital ecosystem.
I was discussing with friends recently the curse of undervaluing your work. With much of the workforce heading towards a freelancing economy, it can feel like undervaluing yourself is using price to keep yourself competitive. I noted, as I have in the past, that undervaluing yourself is undercutting your potential to earn. Charge what you’re worth and people will pay it. Although, that feels like a hard sell, especially in an online space. This piece could be valuated for how much it’s worth and how much I earn from it. So much of what we consume online is offered for free. Articles, YouTube videos, livestreams. The piece I am writing now costs you as much as a Pewdiepie video. The difference is that Pewdiepie has a company and a team working behind him. Competing in that space is certainly possible, even Contrapoints and H. Bomberguy had to start somewhere. However, we’re kidding ourselves if we think that the internet is a meritocracy. The internet is society reflected back at itself. Is it even that though?
Recent studies have suggested that between 28% – 52% of the internet’s traffic is bots. We’ve all had the experience of an account trying to befriend or follow us and suspecting that the interaction might not be genuine. This is just a bot or scam artist trying to get something out of me. By far my biggest amount of followers in terms of social media is from Tumblr. However, with that number comes the nugget that some of those followers are bots or deactivated accounts. I know that number is not the true number. Even when it comes to Facebook which is where I often promote this website the most. I have around fifty people follow me on there. However, if I don’t share things to my personal Facebook the numbers reached are in the single digits. Facebook does this to sell you on the necessity of ads. In an ideal world, I’d be able to connect to the people who want to see my work but these social media sites make their money from advertising so that is the beast we always tangle with.
What is the point of all this? There should be a point, right? Pointless rambling is content you can find on any street corner. I suppose my point in all this was just to open a release valve inside me. To let off some of the pressure that comes with being a person in the current paradigm. I wanted to be cynical about the affirmations that we tell each other while billionaires earn more in one day than most of us will earn a year. We might temper that inequality with the idea that anyone could become mega rich. Invent something or invest in something. I can’t believe we’re back to me harping on billionaires again but hey, when you find yourself dissatisfied with capitalism, blame the capitalists. Anyway, if you look into most billionaires they got a leg up because of affluent parents who could afford to support them or they grew up in a time where income inequality was lower. It’s like those real estate articles you read ‘This millennial managed to buy a home by eating less avocado toast’ (Find example article). Then you read the article and the second-to-last paragraph is about how they came into some extra money when their grandparents passed away. The paragraph before that will be about how they were able to live rent-free with their parents while they were earning an income from a job that they got because their uncle was high up in the company they work for.
So, is there hope? It can feel pretty hopeless at times but I remain ever the optimist. I look at this way. Do what you need to do to survive in the current paradigm. Then, if you’re committed to upending the injustices in the world, find a way to invest in the future you want. When I say invest, that doesn’t mean money. It means whatever you have at your disposal. If you have money, but no time pledge to a cause you believe in. If you have time, but no money march for a cause you believe in (This is one of my goals for 2019). If you have words, use them to speak to the people who will listen. Hopefully, this content will fulfil this last point. If you want to engage with me about these ideas, I have a variety of contacts available below.
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