Issue #20: the perils of audience capture, democratizing access, and how social media shapes us

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🪐  COOL THINGS CURATED IN OUR UNIVERSE
1. On the perils of being a content creator.
A thoughtful essay on the perils of audience capture and how it leads one to become a prisoner of one's own persona:
It's worth remembering that when you become who your audience expects at the expense of who you are, the affection you receive is not intended for you but for the character you're playing, a character you'll eventually tire of. And so be warned: being someone often means being fake, and if you chase the approval of others, you may, in the end, lose the approval of yourself.
 
Which reminds me of Tavi Gevinson's 2019 essay for NYMag, Who would I be without Instagram:
There are plenty of well-documented reasons to distrust Instagram — the platform where one is never not branding, never not making Facebook money, never not giving Facebook one’s data — but most unnerving are the ways in which it has led me to distrust myself. After countless adventures through the black hole, my propensity to share, perform, and entertain has melded with a desire far more cynical: to be liked, quantifiably, for an idealized version of myself, at a rate not possible even ten years ago.I think I am a writer and an actor and an artist. But I haven’t believed the purity of my own intentions ever since I became my own salesperson, too.
 
Which brings me to this blog post published by Shaun Wang on the meta-creator ceiling. He defines a “Meta-Creator” as someone who creates content about creating, instead of just creating:
How many should be teaching people how to succeed instead of just succeeding in their own way? As independent creators carve out a new career path for themselves, I suspect that some are unintentionally picking a path that limits their growth and robs the world of their true potential.
 
More thoughts on the intersection of the creator economy and fame here.
 
2. On finding stuff that makes us feel alive
As someone who is constantly hunting for content that makes my soul sing on the Internet, it has felt harder to stave off despair these days. If you're looking for a refuge from awful headlines and generic life advice, check out the the Inspiration page on startupy. Or just sit on this tweet.
 
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3. On why the medium is the message and the ideas of Marshall McLuhan
More people should study the ideas of Marshall McLuhan, a media theorist and philosopher. Ezra Klein wrote a beautiful essay about how social media reshapes the way we talk and think, and how little attention we pay to that.
As a medium, Twitter nudges its users toward ideas that can survive without context, that can travel legibly in under 280 characters. It encourages a constant awareness of what everyone else is discussing. It makes the measure of conversational success not just how others react and respond but how much response there is. It, too, is a mold, and it has acted with particular force on some of our most powerful industries — media and politics and technology.
 
 
4. On democratizing access
The history of the Internet is the history of democratizing access. Here's a wonderful collection of content + companies on the subject, including Pacaso (democratizing access to second home ownership), Arkive (the first decentralized museum where people are responsible for curating culturally significant items instead of being locked into private collections and controlled by a select few), or Thematic (where anyone can build investable products)
 
5. A good creative studio landing page
Just marveling at the glory of this site: dayjob.work
*DayJob is the agency behind the branding for Recess and Taika.
 

 
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👆  Use the Startupy randomizer to get inspired ☝️
 

🌱  COMMUNITY HEALTH
Welcoming our new curators who joined us this week and virtual high-fiving Stuart Evans, Kaf, Mike Tannenbaum, Jordan Bester, Jimmy Cerone, and Sarah Owen for their contributions.
329 contributions this week
923 connections this week
423 highlights this week
 

✨  CURATOR SPOTLIGHT
Block 28th
 
Find his Twitter
 
Why is the future of knowledge societies an interesting topic?

For hundreds of years, societies with a central focus on building public knowledge — from the Royal Society to Wikipedia — have been at the core of innovation and progress. 

I would argue the past 50 years or so has been a historically low moment for these societies in terms of capturing and coordinating the value they create, as exemplified by the huge shift in power in science away from societies towards publishers. 

But what’s really interesting is that I think we’re starting to see a turning of that tide, where knowledge focused societies rise again to some of the most important, valuable, and prestigious communities in the world.
 
Things worth reading and watching?
This is a huge topic, but to get inspired I’d start with:
 
A podcast worth listening to?

Self plug here, but I thought the interview Sari and I did with Cherie Hu from Water and Music was really interesting in terms of how to incentivize and share value built by a decentralized community of knowledge builders.
 
 

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