Reflecting on Consuming Online Content: From a Book Summary Video
I have been a regular consumer for online content on productivity (yo Ali and John), fashion and lifestyle (Hi Ashley:)), minimalism (Wink wink Matt), mostly youtube videos, but also some Chinese version of Tumblr (xiaohongshu). I watched the popular book summary video of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck from the author himself and started reading this book. During reading, I began to have some thoughts.
This book has some interesting ideas, but I began to skim through it. The profanity is not a problem in itself. Rather, the repetitive use of profane language in the book makes it look less like a style, but more a solidified habit. And, I feel like it’s aiming at a specific group who get triggered again and again by that profanity and that that is a bit annoying. Then I watched some other videos from the author and it seems like it’s a one-shot anthem, as if other than the core messages he conveys in the book, there is not really too much else.
This is my general problem with the overall online content environment nowadays. I realise that there is kind of a pattern in these online influencers’ routes. They started making videos where they have some genuine and interesting ideas, information, opinions or life stories etc. Once they start to attract people and make themselves being liked and relateable, the intensity of the content drops, with Vlogs start to mix in. It is then more like people get attracted by these influencers as some wiser and lovely persons.
I do not have a problem with this pattern either. I have been following some comedians on a Chinese video platform, and I love watching them just eating food and carry on their days. But on the other hand, at some moments while watching them eating, I was talking to myself: “Is this really how you want to spend your precious time?”
Yes there are people who are constantly learning and growing as well, and it is nice to see what new things they want to share, but not really on a weekly basis. For example, I like Nathaniel’s videos, I think he is growing and developing at an amazing speed, but I’d probably prefer to go to Albania myself. The weekly upload is more resonating with the consumers’ habits, not really for the creators. I kind of see why fashion-related content have better longevity because aesthetic content is not as limited and personalised as it is about productivity tips.
(The exception is sth like Dr. Andrew Huberman’s Youtube channel, it is so intense in information and I feel I can keep on watching for the rest of my life and he would still be able to bring some awesome daily life-related scientific studies.)
I realise I tend to look for information instead of entertainment from my internet consumption preference, and I began to think that, perhaps I will turn to books more often from now on.
Lastly, I used to think I want to do some similar things as well. but I began to have more thoughts about it, I think for me myself I’m not pretty I’m not really into sharing my daily life with other people, like what I eat, what I do, where I go, what do I see etc. It is sometimes interesting to share, but most of the time it is what I think about the experiences that is the most interesting, but it really takes much more time to calm down and to process, no mentioning then to produce any meaningful content. Writing a book is more attractive and important than sculpturing a persona to me, as it feels more valuable than the fragmented pieces. In this sense, my choice of aiming at Academia and research related fields may actually be a more suitable path. (But I will still try to publish short pieces to keep the practice).
(Needless to say, this is a totally personal reflection. Many thanks still for these creators! I really appreciated and benefited from your work.)