I wish we would, for at least one month, live in the world with no tools for the traffic and popularity measurement. No likes, no analytics, no SEO metrics. All the publishers, journalists, photographers, bloggers, youtubers, actually all the content creators and even their audience would have no idea what is popular, how many likes the certain article or picture has got in the past. What if we had no tool we could rely on, but our own taste and opinion? During that period, we wouldn’t remember anything we know so far about “what works on the social media”.
Why it would be interesting? I tell you.
I have a theory – no matter how good something works, in the moment it grows too big, it becomes a monster. It happened to digital content in relation to the social media, too. Digital media firstly created space for diversity, but now they are killing it.
Since we can exactly say what makes people click on something and “like it”, diversity started to fade.
There are few schemes that turned out to be successful and now most of the content creators (almost all) overuse them. As a result, series of endless cliché pop up all around.
Algorithms of the social media support it even more. There is a million first version of “follow me to” photography, because suddenly there was no better way how to take a picture of a girl and a beautiful scenery. But this is only one example of many other similar cliché around us.
OUTFIT: white shirt – SheIn, black shorts – PROMOD, boots – STRADIVARIUS, scarf – vintage, linen coat (in the first picture) – MASSIMO DUTTI
Understand, I don’t see everything being wrong neither about finding inspiration in the field’s most talented peoples’ work and applying their knowledge, nor absorbing specific trends. The artists were doing so since ever and there is nothing negative about that. I’m talking about simply copying the same concept over-and-over again, in a questionable quality. The best content is often not the most popular one. It can be very popular and successful, but probably not the way like Kardashians do. That’s ok. For the many, creating content is simply a business, their way to make money and as such it must be accepted.
Cliché Free Zone
What really bothers me is, when some of the most creative people I know, doubt their own vision because what they considered as remarkable, didn’t get as many likes, as they expected.
Of course not. Human brain is quite lazy and responding best to something, that is simple, explicit and already familiar to them. Good taste and curiosity must be cultivated.
I think, almost every creative person knows that. It can be truly frustrating. As a result, we are tempted to start censoring ourselves, choose the safe way, already proven to be successful. The question is, how many people are worth of our creating effort. What is better? Quantum of people, who don’t really care, only give “like” or maybe a significantly smaller audience, understanding and appreciating vision of the creator? It is, now, only quantity of followers that does matter, or the quality, as well? Everyone needs to answer this question themselves.
So, why I wish we would live again, at least for a month, in the world without likes, analytics, algorithms etc.?
I would like to see creators to play again, do whatever seems great to them.
That would be so refreshing for all of us! Creators and audience as well. Don’t you think so?
Such experiment would unfortunately hardly become real. But, some of us can at least try to play this game. We can experiment a bit with our own content and make our own responsible research, in order to find the others’ interesting content.
I have been following the path of some bloggers and photographers, for a few years. Some of them were inspiring for me at the beginning. Later, I realized they don’t really evolve their work much. They remain trapped in their own poised concept, that had once worked well and brought them success. Now they repeat it again and again. Sometimes I wonder whether they still enjoy their work. Far less individuals choose to experiment. They are changing as time passes by, do what seems to be interesting to them. Those are the people whose work always get my attention.
This doesn’t have to be anything revolutionary, just trying an unusual angle or a combination, from time to time, a new point of view and so on.
There are many articles, giving us advice how to do this or that to become successful in creating content. It can be useful, I guess, in case we wouldn’t accept all the suggestions. Otherwise we can easily loose, what can make us different or kill our creativity. It can even discourage us from producing anything and that would be a shame.
Staying authentic is brave. I’m trying to do so, in my blog, no matter what, because I know it’s best for me. When I write, as a journalist, for the influential magazine, I have to keep in my mind that I need to “sell” the article, so I’m trying to hit as many readers as possible. I need be aware of some “rules”, too. That is natural and it doesn’t mean one cannot produce quality that way, because they can.
But I don’t take my blog as a business or simply a job. I take it, rather, as a form of an art, so I chose it won’t be based on articles with headline starting with words “how to…” or “10 things you have to…”, because where the hell else should I create the content that will fully reflect my own vision and taste? Maybe I will use such approach in the future, here and there, if that seems to be the most appropriate. But I wouldn’t build my entire concept on it. I’m having my blog because, in the first place, I enjoy the process of creating. In the second place, when I discover something beautiful or interesting, I want other people to see and feel it, too.
Photos in this post were created by accident. We spotted that concrete building on the Vienna suburb when aiming to the historical downtown. It looked so interesting in a good light, that we decided to come back to shoot something there. The urban outfit seemed to be perfect for that. Light was amazing, no people were around and it was, actually, one of our favorite shootings ever. There is a beauty in the grey concrete. Maybe not for everyone, but I can see it and my audience can see it, too.
© Creative direction and Editing: DANIELA RIFAI Photos: DANIELA RIFAI & MARTIN JESNY