It’s never been a more exciting time to MAKE things on the Internet. If you enjoy creating, this era has evolved especially for you. Screw the middle man, you can edit, and you can PUBLISH. How fancy schmancy does that sound?
There’s no doubt that although we’re living in a time of liberation and artistic freedom, it also means the Internet is full of noise. It’s incredibly noisey. It’s like the kid next door who will not stop playing his little tinny drums. Things like checking Twitter used to be highly enjoyable activity (for me anyway) scanning my favourite sources for some top-line news story or a link allowing me to casually dip into an article with my cup of tea. But now, there’s no doubt about it, I get a headache. However it’s not really a headache that I necessary want to go away, it’s actually more of an addictive one. In fact, every morning I am asking for the headache. And on holiday, I end up missing the headache. Even though scrolling through thousands of tweets seems like a total headspin it’s actually the most exciting time to be discovering and learning new things. We’re all completely plugged in and living the most real-time life we have ever lived. Now, even if you’re not uploading a picture to Instagram as-it-happens you have to put #regram to show that you posted it a day late. Because a day late means it’s kind of not relevant anymore. If you’re not telling everyone what you are doing RIGHT THIS SECOND, then it’s kind of pointless and everyone feels a little bit conned by you. Like those guys that put a profile picture from 10 years ago on Guardian Soulmates.
The question is, can we keep this behaviour up? It’s a bit knackering no? Are we all going to pass out in a heap mid-tweet one day?
What’s the message here? Is it stop, or is it to keep going in the rat race? I could be talking about anything here: a brand who’s itching to get on to social media, a city-dweller who’s desperate to start a blog, an artist who wants to sell their work. I believe there’s only one formula to stand out from the crowd and not just end up joining the monotonous noise:
originality + quality + emotion
Every brand has a Facebook page. Every person has a blog. A billion people are telling each other how they are feeling every day in the black-hole that is Facebook. Every single one of us have the opportunity wake up a write a 1,000 page E-book, (that’s assuming we have the brainpower not to get distracted by a 2D object that reflects the light.) Before this digital explosion, the few people who had the talent, energy and time to make things would be vetted and then their material would be ‘released’ into the world. Nothing is released anymore. Our modern terms of ‘releasing’ something is pressing one button. We release our thoughts every 5 minutes without thinking. Yes, it’s making a connected community of people, but my question is: is this model helping us creating QUALITY content? I don’t think so.
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt recently is to not forget to take some time to think things through. We are moving in such a fast-paced environment and it’s becoming increasingly normal. But being first is not being the best. We are all multi-taskers by nature. This does not make you special. Texting while talking, Tweeting whilst shopping, chatting whilst watching TV, phoning whilst emailing. But, if you took time to sit down and create something GREAT, it’ll keep rising to the surface. Again and again. The best things in life cannot be rushed.
They’ll clap when they’re impressed.
How I Grew Up Online
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic