Hit, Smash, Like, Subscribe
I made you look.
I didn’t need to use any cheap engagement t*ctics. I didn't need to pretend to be your friend. I didn't need to push on your pain points or the fact that you're hopelessly addicted to scrolling social media, looking for your next fix because you’re bored with your life, your job and your relationships.
OK. Maybe I pressed on that last one a little bit.
But the point still stands. I’m not relying on templates here or cheap tactics to get you to continue reading. I’m relying on good ‘ol interestingly structured prose that you want to continue reading because you want to see how it ends.
And you won’t believe how this one ends.
I’m saying all this because I have a fear. It’s a deep seated one, one that worries me because I think it’s either happening right now or it’s already happened. That’s the only bit I’m not sure about yet.
Build up that suspense.
Yep. That’s right.
You’d be surprised how long somebody will keep reading because of it.
I worry we’ve lost it
Lost it all
Lost any sense of
And most importantly
A real desire to write and make interesting things
Because it’s just too easy
To write like this
One line at a time
Make no sense
And continue on
I worry about this. As we become more and more obsessed with short-form c*ntent that makes us feel like we accomplished something rather than actually accomplishing something, I worry we're forgetting how to pay attention.
We’re forgetting—and it’s not entirely our fault—what we should pay attention to, what has meaning, what has worth, and it’s becoming harder and harder to make the distinction.
I have a very vivid example of this to provide you, just to remind you that I’m not a) going mental and b) there’s a point to make here.
In Barnsley we have a dessert shop. Well, we have many dessert shops, but this particular dessert shop is popular. They sell milkshakes, ice creams, waffles. Typical American imports. Their food—if you could call it that—is OK. Just OK. Nothing special. They wouldn’t win any kind of Dessert of the Year awards.
However, they’re always busy. I know that people have travelled as far from Scotland to Barnsley (probably 300-miles at least) to visit this dessert shop. To have an average dessert. This happens regularly, and it’s all because of one thing:
They’re TikTok-famous. They post inane videos on there of them making desserts and this little extremely average dessert shop in the little extremely average town of Barnsley is always busy.
The content of their offering doesn’t even matter any longer. People will continue visiting from all around the country just to say that they’ve been. Actually eating the dessert is a footnote. They got to visit something “famous”.
It doesn’t even matter that it’s not even really famous. It’s sort of famous on a platform where it’s very easy to become sort of famous. It just matters that they get a picture with that lass who does all the TikTok videos with millions of views.
This is what I worry about. I worry we’re getting perilously close to this with the things we make on the web.
Google something and try and find an article that doesn’t have a number in it.
7 Steps To Absolutely Nothing You Care About But Can’t Help But Read.
Go on Twitter and try and find a popular tweet that doesn’t use some kind of template.
Remember to retweet the first tweet and like every tweet and share with your friends who you think would find this useful.
Go on YouTube and try and find a person on there who isn’t using YouTubeVoice.
Don’t forget to hit, smash, like and subscribe.
In fact, go to any corner of the web and try and find an independent voice who doesn’t have an ulterior motive and who isn’t trying to sell you something.
I’ll leave this on a rousing hopeful note just before I fade to black and let the credits roll.
There’s hope. There’s always hope.
Buried behind the endless 7 Steps To Achieve Something You Don’t Care About articles are real things you should pay attention to.
Sure, it’s hard to find the damn things and it’s getting harder than ever to find the independent voices, but they are there and they’re saying good things. Interesting things.
And they’re doing this weird thing where they make stuff they want to make and it’s all artistic and good and well-made and well thought out and intelligent and shit.
I made you look.
Now I hope you go look somewhere else.
That’s one of these. I know you’re riddled with social media addiction and haven’t read a footnote since high school. TikTok doesn’t have footnotes or complex multi-layered jokes.