Writing for the moment

I recently realised that I enjoy writing about current events.

One of my most read posts is about Instagram guides, I think I published it a day after guides became available to everyone, it was a hot topic.

If I’d written the post a few days or even weeks later it would have no longer been relevant. Of course the post can be read at any time but it was written for a particular moment in time.

Yesterday, I published a post about Clubhouse. I first drafted the post over 2 months ago and at the time it was over 1500 words, significantly longer than what I would usually post. For various it took a while to make time to edit the post to something I was happy to share.

But, what I noticed was that each time I went through the post, things had changed. Things like the number of users and the other apps that had added an audio feature. I regret not publishing the post sooner as with any hot topic, sooner is always better than later.

I think it’s fair to say that Clubhouse is still very relevant and will continue to be for the months to come. However, the post I published yesterday is very much of the time. That’s the issue you face when writing about hot topics, they don’t always last.

In contrast, the posts I’ve written that focus more around life lessons, career and self-help are what I would consider evergreen. They will be just as relevant today as they will be 12 months from now.

Why Clubhouse is so appealing?

I think I first heard about Clubhouse in November 2020 but as an Android user I knew that it wouldn’t be
something that I would have access to.

I also didn’t personally know anyone that used it.

But over the past 6 months it has grown rapidly.

I initially heard about Clubhouse on Twitter, people with access to the app would be on Twitter commenting on the rooms that they were in. From what I saw it seemed to vary from useful business related discussions to ‘rooms’ full of people venting about those they dislike.

In the months that have followed, I’ve seen more and more people that I follow online joining Clubhouse. I’ve also read a lot of articles sharing what Clubhouse is but also more in-depth ones discussing how it could change in the future and how long it’s popularity will last.

A woman I follow on Instagram that runs a buisness shared that she was hosting a room where they’d be discussing gaining funding for startups and also working in PR.

I’ve also heard someone on a podcast explain that they had the app for a short while but have now deleted it. They found themselves getting sucked into the kinds of rooms that were focused on drama rather than listening to things that were useful.

Another woman I follow on Instagram mentioned that she thought it was a really good app idea. She thought it would be a good place to have conversations within a closed community.

I’ve found seeing how this app has come along, how it’s used and how it’s grown incredibly interesting. I think clubhouse showed up in the right place at the right time and it appealed to people in multiple ways.

It’s an evolution of podcasts

Firstly, Clubhouse is like an evolution of podcasts, a type of content that has really grown over the past few years in terms of people listening to them but also more people creating them.

I think what we like about podcasts is that they’re fairly simple, it’s just people talking. You get to listen in on a conversation or monologue and maybe even learn something new. The fact that Clubhouse is in an audio format means you can listen whilst you go for a walk, do the washing up or make dinner without missing out on any visuals.

Clubhouse is stripped back

Secondly, Clubhouse showed up without bells and whistles, it’s stripped back. From what I know, you have the rooms, the hosts and you can follow people and be followed and the content is live. Whatever happens in the moment happens, there’s no editing it out. Of course those hosting may come with notes of the points they want to make, particularly if they’re there to teach and share knowledge but they could also be in their pajamas.

In contrast, podcast are a little more polished because as much as you might be having a casual conversation you probably don’t just say ‘okay, lets press record’ and see how it goes. And when compared to Instagram live which is also live content, the fact that you can see the person changes things.

I think the simplicity of just being audio focused allowed Clubhouse to stand out as most other popular social media apps have much more variation (Instagram has Lives, IGTV, Reels, feed images and videos, Guides and Stories) although it is worth noting that they didn’t start out that way.

A sense of exclusivity

The third and final appeal that is perhaps the most prominent factor is that you have to be invited. I think it’s interesting to think about how Clubhouse is sometimes paraded online as this exclusive app that you have to be invited into, yet everyone seems to have it.

According to an article dated 22 February 2021, Clubhouse now has 10million users which is around 0.13% of the global population. However, I still don’t think it can be considered exclusive as anyone can be invited (as long as you have an iPhone) and their is no criteria to join.

In relation to the idea of exclusivity, I think for some people knowing celebrities/well known people are on the app is part of the appeal because you get the chance to hear them talk in a more causal setting. I know a little while ago Elon Musk popped up in a room which drove a lot of attention to the room but also just the app in general. Now joining the app means you’re in the same ‘space’ as someone like Elon Musk (A famous Billionaire and Entrepreneur).

The other exclusivity aspect is that the audio is not recorded which means you really had to be there. I think there is a lot of value in that because these days with everything being recorded people end up being reluctant to show up in the moment.

Do you have Clubhouse and if so, what aspect of it appealed to you?

What are you willing to sacrifice?

Sometimes you reach a point in life where you need to make a sacrifice.

What are you willing to give up in order to reach your goal?

And are you willing to give up the right things?

Maybe you need more time to work on your book and so you decide to give up your 30 minutes of exercise a day. Yes, you’ve made a sacrifice but perhaps the right thing to give up would be 1.5 out of 2 hours you spend on social media each day.

The exercise positively contributes to your wellbeing but it’s unlikely you can say the same for social media.

And so when it comes to making a sacrifice in order to gain something, think about the things you currently do that benefit you the least.

Those are the things you should be willing to sacrifice.

Why I stopped listening to my favourite podcasts?

Over the past couple of months I have become more and more aware of all the thoughts and opinions of others that I consume each day.

If you also use social media and regularly consume content such as podcasts or YouTube videos then chances are, you’ve felt it too.

I had began to find that even though podcasts, Twitter and Instagram were a regularly part of my routine, I wasn’t really enjoying them the way I used to.

And this had nothing to do with the people I was following or listening to as their content hadn’t really changed. It was more that I had changed. I decided that, even if it was just a temporary thing, I wanted to honour the fact that at that point in time, I wanted something different.

So, I logged out of my social media accounts and I stopped listening to the podcasts that were once my favourites. That gave me room to explore new things and spend time listening to podcasts that I enjoy rather than simply listening out of habit or familiarity.

Entertaining and addictive

The thing about social media is that it’s great when you’re on it. It’s entertaining, it’s addictive.

It’s so much of those things that I find myself thinking, I’ll feel like I’m missing out if I take a break.

When you’re logged into social media it can feel like you need to check it 20 times a day. Even though you know there is nothing there that you need to see, the apps are designed in a way to keep you coming back.

And so you check the app again and again even if you don’t really have a reason to.

Checking social media multiple times a day means you’re constantly taking in other peoples stuff. It could be a useful infographic, educational twitter thread or a new recipe to try on IGTV. However, it could also be celebrity gossip, peoples thoughts on relationships or people making fun of someone.

That’s why I think logging out is so important. It allows you to disconnect from distractions and might even remind you that you don’t it as much as you think you do.

That probably won’t mean quitting all social media for good but instead simply using it less.

Reasons to log out

Every so often I log out of social media.

I do it to remind myself that I don’t need to use it as much as I think I do.

I do it to free up space in my mind for my own thoughts and opinions.

I do it so that I can spend my free time doing other things that will be more fulfilling.

And when sometime passes and I choose to log back in, I am always reminded that if I’m not mindful I can end up wasting a lot of time and energy.

Instagram ads

Instagram is full of ads that often don’t seem like the ads we’re used to seeing in traditional media. In between the nature photography and selfies there are photos of products and even more products.

It’s at a point where we almost forget that we’re constantly being shown things to buy.

It’s the same way tv ads worked but it’s much cheaper and many of us even do it for free.

Restoring the balance

YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, podcasts and blogs.

We have the opportunity to take in a lot of information every single day to the point where we can become overloaded.

But more importantly a lot of this information is other people’s thoughts, opinions or just things we don’t need to know or don’t benefit us.

I think online content is great in moderation but if you find yourself at a point where it feels like too much, the best thing to do is reduce your consumption.

That could mean unfollowing, unsubscribing, logging out, taking a break or setting a time limit.

You need to do those things for long enough so that you can restore the balance between online and offline or creation and consumption.

The balance should always be in your favour so create more than you consume or be offline more than you’re online.

The problem with being attached to where you share your work

On one hand you could stick with sharing your work on a blog because that is what you know, are good at and are familiar with. There is a big difference between being closed off to new things and knowing what works for you.

If you’ve been doing it for years, chances are you’ve grown attached. The problem with getting attached is that this can end up clouding your judgement. Instead of migrating or expanding to a new platform, you end up choosing to stick with what you know. You end up doing this even when you know the current way is not working and there are better options out there.

An example of this could be YouTube. If you’ve been doing YouTube for a while and it isn’t going particularly well it probably won’t hurt to give Tik Tok a go. You don’t need to alter your message because it’s on a different platform. Find a way to share the same message whether on Instagram, YouTube, a podcast, or on Tik Tok etc.

The consumer doesn’t care

The viewer or the consumer does not have to care about what went on behind the scenes. They are there for the art not the person and I think that in some cases that’s the way it should be.

In other cases, like on social media, the consumer is often there for the person just as much as if not more than they’re there for the art (or whatever creative thing that the person does).

This is why people with highly dedicated fans/followers will be supported no matter what they do.

I think that because of social media there are now blurred lines between what is business and what is personal.

But it is important to know that just because you’re visible online and people may know what you do it doesn’t mean that they care. Some people are there for the work, not for you and that is perfectly alright.

So, if you offer a product or service and the customer is not satisfied they might voice how they feel. If it is not considered good enough the customer doesn’t necessarily care that you did your best and that you will be better next time. They care that they bought someone thing they are not happy with.

And so your job is not to find customers that care about you personally but to instead to show up, create great work and deliver.