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A while back, while scrolling on Instagram, I came across a reel where someone was cutting stickers from a sticker sheet to the audio of "everything is content" on repeat. I'm generally not someone who likes video content but since Instagram pushes them so much, I can't really avoid them. I clicked on this one because it seemed.. pointless to me. Why is there a video of someone only cutting stickers? What's the purpose? And then, I heard the audio.

It's been a few weeks since then and I am still disturbed by the reel. The idea of "everything is content" disturbs me. I can't help but think about why we've reached this conclusion and why it may deteriorate the point of creation.

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Earlier, each person did only the job that they signed up for. A builder used to build and go home, a painter painted, a writer wrote books and put it out into the world, a bookseller read and sold books, etc. Today, there are far too many people who have to take on another job to sustain and grow their main job. In addition to their main job, they have to become publicists for themselves.

"In this day and age, if your work isn't online, it doesn't exist." — Austin Kleon, Show Your Work

This is an extreme idea that I don't fully agree with, but I understand where it's coming from. I wish I didn't but I do. The above quote shows how sharing your work/ideas online is slowly becoming the default. It is not enough to do your job, you should be sharing it. This is especially the case with careers which are artistic or take place on the internet. For example, designers and SEO experts. If you do something well enough (regardless of your career path), you are pushed into content creation whether you like it or not.

Due to the above reason and more, the internet is full of people creating content to share with everybody else on the net. There are new accounts being created every day and massive amounts of information being shared every second. I will talk about information overload in another newsletter in the future but let's talk about the people sharing the information.

Behind every piece of content shared is a person who spent a significant amount of effort creating content. They come up with ideas, plan, write/record, edit, figure out a good time to post, post, and engage with other accounts. These tasks are an entire job description, if not more than one.

So, it is not surprising that we try to find easier ways to create content. I believe that's where "everything is content" came from. Whatever we're doing, even if it looks mundane, is content. Record it, talk about it, share it. We don't have to come up with ideas if we share what we already do every day.

But there is a thin line between the above idea being encouraging and it being toxic.

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When you absorb the idea that everything is content, you can easily become guilty when you're not making use of everything you do for content. Before, there was a clear distinction. You had to come up with an idea for a post or pick one of your existing ideas, create a story on it somehow either by your opinions or what you learnt, put it together in a structure, and publish it. You may or may not share your personal life in the post. You may or may not mention yourself. You could step away from it to drink coffee or read another article for inspiration.

But when "everything is content", every single step in your process is content. Are you coming up with ideas or picking one? Share updates when you do it or share how you do it. Share updates when you're creating the post. Post a quick update when you're taking a break for coffee. Take a picture of your word count and share it.

When everything you do is content, you can never take a break from creation. And we are not meant to be creating all the time.

Even less than a decade back, creators spent hours—if not weeks, months, or years—to create every single bit of content. Instead of sharing updates on their process every hour, they would compile it and share it at once later. But every hour is not drenched with the expectation to create and share.

Today, everything is now.

We can easily become burnt out today because we don't take breaks even for a few hours. The pressure is higher for those whose livelihoods are based on content creation or monetarily benefit from it by association. We can very easily push ourselves to post one more thing because it will take only 5 minutes when the 5 minute break would have benefited us more.

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