#7 Taking Social Media seriously.
Why Facebook/LinkedIn will die, New Genres of Content & Inbox v/s Feeds.
Welcome to Hunter-Gatherer, a weekly newsletter where I give you one thing to try, to think about and a question to respond to nurture your relationship with the Internet. In an online-first world, we're all hunters & gatherers of information.
Chances are that a majority of what you'll discover about the world during your lifetime will be through the Internet.
The world is a bigger place than you think, even after you account for the fact that the world is a bigger place than you think. If the Internet is supposed to represent the world, then Social Media is its newspaper. The good news: you get to decide what parts of the world are "reported" to you. You get to decide what makes your little world.
Social media has taken the idea that “you create your world” from a metaphor to a literal fact.
- Tiago Forte
With Hunter-Gatherer, I want to help you create the best world you can create for yourself.
Don't use platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. The other platforms are better at everything either of them was meant for.
(I will cover this in two letters. This is part 1/2: Facebook.)
The thought of not using Facebook first came to my mind a few years ago. I was sharing an album of photos with a few friends. The photos captured were in Google Photos, and I had collected them into an album. I simply shared the link to an album on WhatsApp. The photos I wanted to share with the world, I posted on Instagram. A few years ago, I would’ve shared an album on Facebook.
When you make your account private on Instagram, you're essentially signalling that you'll be sharing pictures contextual to your personal life. Content that is private, in the literal meaning of the word, is actually shared in DMs. "Private" on Instagram is simply content you don't believe everybody would want to see. But I digress.
Practically, sharing on Instagram is agreeing to share with anyone (even when it's a private account). Sharing on DMs is sharing with particular people. Sharing with ‘Facebook Friends’ is now relatively vague and confusing.
On Facebook, you were supposed to connect with your "Friends", but then who is a friend, and who is not? Contrast this with the notion on Instagram, where you simply "follow" if you wish to receive pictures from someone on your feed. The same is the case for following someone on Twitter, subscribing on YouTube, etc.
Connecting with someone on a Social Media should essentially be: "Click this button to recieve A type of content from A source/person." It's simple, logical and objective. That's how you must recieve all your content.
Facebook was meant for sharing your life, but the ephemeral nature of Snapchat & Insta-stories suits better for the daily fleeting moments. Snapchat is succeeds at what Facebook was meant to be. Most of the other digital social activity is collapsing back into DMs.
LinkedIn shares a similar DNA with Facebook. One is for Business, other is for sharing your Life. One is for vaguely defined "Friends", on LinkedIn, it's "Business Connections". Facebook and LinkedIn assume that everyone in your network can be clearly segregated into the two containers of work and life. This is false, and in a long-enough time scale, both platforms will cease to exist.
If you simply wish to share a piece of content with the world, there's a platform dedicated for each type of content. And that's where you should share/receive.
Part 2/2: LinkedIn (in the Next Letter).
Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp succeed at what Facebook was meant to be.
In the next letter, I will give a similar treatment to LinkedIn as I'll explain how platforms like AngeList and Twitter and a personal Website succeeds at what LinkedIn was meant to be.
Spoiler Alert: A personal website is the best thing you can do to further your career. Check out mine here.
Think about this
This really is the golden age for content. Different platforms have lead to different genres of artistic expression. Your style can now be manifested into varieties of content & shared.
New genres of art being borne on the Internet is what's most fascinating to me. And I am constantly on the look-out for new genres. One of them I will talk about today is vlogging. It is documenting your daily life and sharing, typically on YouTube. My favourite vlogger, Casey Neistat, describes it as:
"Using your life as a narrative for a daily series (show)."
It's an art form borne out of sharing your lives online, and lives & evolves on YouTube.
YouTuber Evan Puschak describes in his video essay:
"These new genres cultivated not from film or TV, but out of how we watch & share specifically online content have to be acknowledged, studied & celebrated.
...the show (CN Daily Vlog) is animated & held together by his (Neistat's) energy. In the age of online video, when the creation can be the unmediated vision of the creator, there's a style within all of us. There are literally millions of people waiting for you to find it."
Watch this video essay by Evan to really appreciate the phenomena of vlogging.
(Watch Time: 6:43)
Respond to this
If you have only 10 minutes, would you (probably) check out a NewsLetter in your inbox or your Twitter/Instagram/YouTube feed? I would love o know why.
You may reply to this E-Mail, or via WhatsApp. I'll compile the responses and share the key insights in the next email.
PS. Everywhere on the Internet as abhishek1point0.
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