It used to be that “a wise man once said nothing.” But in today’s world, a wise man tweets almost everything on his mind, makes a video, gives an interview, and hops on trending topics to hopefully make more money.
We talk often about how tech has disrupted industries like banking, communications, healthcare, transportation, housing, hospitality and others. But guess what has been the most disrupted of all? Culture – the way we live and work!
Life is nothing like we knew it ≈ 15 years ago, which is both a good and bad thing. Good, because a single person can achieve so much more now using accessible tech which increases the chances of magic being created.
Bad, because we are moving too fast, our teenagers are in a labyrinth of emotions and freedom, and parents have no clue how to deal with these smart, young adult-children.
Life was slower back in the day, but things still got done. Now, we’re in frantic mode all the time, globally connected and frazzled by the impact.
Everyone is faking or braving life as it comes; some better than others. If you look closely, you may notice that it’s people who stay in touch with the world as it is, not as it ought to be, who are more well-adjusted and functional. They see things, they act on it, and they create and adapt to new world rules.
These bold set of people create new social rules and influence more people across the world, faster and more deeply than most people not in PR, realize.
I used to be social media active until recently; burnout, too much bad news, claustrophobia, the constant, noisy selling were some of the reasons I needed a break. And it was a good time away.
But on the days I’d check in on digital culture, I’d be reminded that by choosing to stay away, I was missing out on some of the most transformative experiences of people living in my generation. Worse, I wasn’t creating and contributing to the development of any of it, and I love to do that.
It’s good to live for yourself but the people who make the most change get involved. They love people. They love life.
So last month, I decided it was time to stop fighting the culture, jump in and have a good time again, shallow or not. I am talking about internet culture. I have a good chance of creating something amazing under weekofsaturdays, and I know I want to.
I appreciate the way social media and the internet connects the world in real time. I love that friends can keep in touch with each other without having to speak often. Most of all, I appreciate that social media and the internet are such accessible money machines.
If you have a smartphone and know how to work it, you can change your economic bracket if you focus, create good content/products/services, and monetize. There are so many good things about social media and the internet; the pros outweigh the bad.
The bad… exist but are almost intangible: It’s the slow rot of our culture, the easy spread of misinformation and bad habits, adulated narcissism, quick outrage, cyberbullying, sexualization of little girls, loss of connections between real people, and a million other unquantifiable effects.
But what are these compared to the possibility of making more money, flexing for the gram, and being celebrated? (detect sarcasm here).
I used to detest Instagram culture. Girls in bikinis on holidays all year long, the captions, the competition, the fakeness of it all. My kind does not want to participate in a world that adores beauty over grace, silly humor over common sense, materialism and consumerism at every turn but hey, if that’s how the world works….
To win in today’s culture, you have to be present, active, photo-enthusiastic, and personable. You have to be willing to share your private life, give a little something more each time, and stay on top of trends. Do these and you will get paid.
The world of social media world reigns and rewards its servants abundantly. Fighting the culture gets you nowhere quick. People who create good, consistent content on the internet get paid and have a level of financial independence and autonomy in their lives. What’s not to love about that?
I’ve seen my digital engagement drop since 2017, and seen peers build their brands into real money within the same time. So I’m kicking myself back into the game.
Actively participating in social media and staying on top of people’s minds is no longer an optional fun, social status game, it’s actually good financial strategy as well.
I have decided, instead of seething at how the world is oh-so-taken-and-under-the-influence-of-mass-media, to get in the game, learn, and leverage my advantages.
Is this selling out? In the short run, it may seem so; but in the long run, it’s an experience I will learn from.
Social media is a generous master. If you’re able to link it all together: the excessive showing off on Instagram, controversial opinions on Twitter, constant chatter on Facebook, and building engaged audiences on Youtube, you will find a big pay off.
Digital tech has become as real as real life can be, and anyone adamantly looking the other way (like I was) is leaving money on the table every single day.
“Now why would you wanna go and do that love, huh?” – TI
How did it all get so serious?
Maybe it was when reputable publications started reporting stories based on Instagram captions, or the US president took to sharing his outrageous thoughts on Twitter, or when visa applications started to include social media fields, but social media has been endorsed with all the credibility that anything needs to officially become an actual thing in real life.
I have realized that my love/hate relationship with social media does not hurt anyone but me and my pocket. The world keeps going on, and most of my peers who have been consistent creating content are reaping rewards.
I may dislike the power social media has over weak people but I have to admit I enjoy creating perceptions, sharing bits of me, my thoughts and clients’ brands. I love it so much, I want to get better, and so I have to practice more… indulge in the culture.
The new Kelechi says “there’s no need to fight the world. Sensible people go with the flow, and stay ahead of the curve. It will be a shame if you keep trying to hold yourself back from opportunities that exist today because you’re stuck in an old way of thinking. You don’t want to get years down the line and wish you’d planted more trees to secure your future.”
Our generation values smart work over hard work. Hard work has gone away along with our parents’ ideals. And if your actual life and creative energy can bring you good income, a creative outlet, supporters and a good brand, why not spend some time curating and sharing them, especially in a world that encourages you to do so?
The truth is that those who are not perfecting the art of curating their social accounts at this time are leaving money on the table; money that could have been in their pockets.
You do not have to care about the number of likes, shares and ffs you get. What matters most is that you find a creative outlet, an authentic passion, and contribute to the world on your terms.
The tools exist and there’s nothing to lose but time spent on other things, and a lot to gain in form of mastery and creative recognition.
Regardless of how you personally feel about the online world, anyone holding themselves back from creating, writing, developing, building, improving, contributing and cashing in on the present and the future, is on the losing side.
We are still early though.