241: Why do you do it?
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I heard something interesting on a podcast the other day that talked about how we’re going into something they referred to as a “social media and content recession” — it was the term they used to explain that people are no longer looking for more posts (!!) or more content (!!)… they’re looking for **BETTER** content.
It talked about how the days of posting multiple times a day or writing multiple articles on the same topic (or drilling the topic down in to so many specifics that one simple thing can give you ten articles) are gone.
Because people are tired of the overwhelm.
People are sick and tired of quantity. They want quality.
People are tired of being overloaded, and they’re willing to wait for something decent.
The online overwhelm
This podcast episode got me thinking about lots of stuff and I brought the topics up in various other places. There was lots of feedback, much of it sounding like:
I just don’t have time to listen to long podcasts or several podcasts a week.
I just don’t have time to watch all these videos.
I don’t need to have 40,000 articles on the same thing, or I don’t want to feel like I have to add my two cents on a topic that already has 40,000 articles on the same thing.
I am tired of people posting just to post. I’m tired of wading through a bunch of fluff to find something decent.
There’s an overwhelm with everything that’s out there. And while some people can pick their way through, other people are looking at that ocean of stuff and not even wanting to wade their way through because it seems like a big mess to get pulled into.
My thoughts on a social media/content recession
Now I have conflicting views on all of this, which makes sense because I consume the content as well as produce it, so I see it from two very different angles.
I do think the days of making sure you post 4-8 times a day on Facebook are over. This isn’t 2018 anymore. All we learned from posting that much “and trying to stay relevant” is that when everyone posts that much, no one can keep up. Not the platform or the people trying to read your stuff. I do think that a lot of people are craving more intentional, meaty stuff, but I also see an opposite trend where people say they want that but then also say they don’t have time to dig into the meaty intentional stuff, so they end up getting stuck in the fluffy, surface stuff because that’s what they have time for.
I also realize there are people who say they are craving something awesome from their social media experience and they are tired of the fluff. are also the people who will sit and scroll for 20 minutes on Tiktok or Reels or Shorts before they even realize that’s what they’re doing.
I also know there are people who will say they hate social media and think we should “abolish social media” – and yet… they are posting that on social media. Ironic?
I will also say that if there is a lot of space between your posts/podcasts/blog posts/YouTube videos, people DO forget about you (unless you’re really well established). And the reason that is is because there’s so much content flying around, it’s easy to be replaced.
But you know where you’re not replaced, right? You know where you really matter, right?
Where do you matter?
If you don’t hear from your dad, your kid, your girlfriend, your best friend for a month, that’s a problem. If you don’t hear from your favorite podcaster for a month? If you don’t hear from your favorite social media page for a month? Isn’t that super flip-flopped?
It’s like the internet took all the walls off our houses and that was really awesome in many ways and it made our worlds so much bigger (whether that means your circle of friends grew or you had more opportunities, etc) but making everything bigger also changed the rules and I think we’re just now starting to figure out the side effects of those rules being changed.
But I think this is really about the difference between small talk and meaningful conversation. During in person conversations, small talk is a tool to figure something out about the other person. Their mood, their interests, their willingness to talk, if it’s even someone you should invest time talking with. The problem is some people never make it past small talk. It’s all small talk. And I think in some ways, that’s what social media has become. It’s this combination of fluffy small talk mixed with (oddly enough) everyone has this really big important thing to say (article, blog post, podcast) and they want you to tune in all the time.
I think what this boils down to is a really big question:
Why are you doing what you’re doing?
Why is your life online?
Why do you share what you share?
If you just want to share stuff, it doesn’t matter if you post ten times today and don’t post again until next month.
If you’re trying to build a business, it’s a different game to play. Being at the party because you want to hang out and chat with people is completely different than going there with the intention of giving your Pampered Chef or Scentsy or life changing diet pill sales speech.
And some people are sucked into all this online/social stuff can be your business and we’re telling ourselves that’s what it is, but that’s not what it is, it’s just a very time consuming hobby.
Do you know what you’re doing? Do you know why you’re here?
Why do you do what you do with your time online, whether you are creating or consuming YouTube, blogs, podcasts, social media, etc?
Is it connection? Is it community building? Is it community building as a cover for selling your product? Is it hard sales?
Why do you hop online? Or is your phone in your hand and you’re scrolling the screen before you even realize it’s happening?
Why do you do what you do?
I sometimes think we forget the intention behind what we’re doing. We just jump in the river and get carried with the current. And specifically as content creators I think we forget to check and see what’s actually working for the people we’re putting content out for. We forget to check in with ourselves and say hey, “why am I posting this? Does this fit with my goals? Is there a purpose here? What is my purpose here? Am I still on the right track?”
The reason the internet is overwhelmed with stuff and things and posts and fluff and meat and everything is that people are constantly trying to figure themselves their lives their businesses out and they’re doing it online in a public space and that shit is forever. That doesn’t go away.
Never before in history have we been so public. Never before in history have we had the opportunity to put it all out there, whether that’s a piece of writing we are really proud of or a recipe we like or some motivational speech about goals or some new joke about how many whoevers it takes to change a light bulb or easy instructions on how to build a chicken feeder from a 5 gallon bucket. All this stuff used to be in our head and shared with people we knew in person. Now it’s all out there for the world to see. And that’s awesome and it’s also really, really squished and suffocating and mind numbing and overwhelming.
There’s a better question
So are we in a social media recession? Are we in a content creation recession? I don’t know.
I think the better question is why are you doing what you’re doing? When you choose to create or consume content, do you know your why? Is there intention behind it? It doesn’t matter to me what your intention is, I just care that you have one and that you know what it is. Because if more people knew the why behind what they were creating or consuming, we might actually find the things we need online.
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