Stop Creating For The Algorithms

Stop Creating For The Algorithms

I've been outlining my keynote for next month's IzeaFest and one of my scribbles reads "stop creating only to satisfy an algorithm."

The more I pondered it and how I might represent it on a slide, the more I realized I wanted to write about this specific epidemic because it bothers me to my core.

There is a constant game being played for our attention. Dictator Orange Tinyhands is a master of making you look over here, while something you should be paying attention to what is happening in front of your face.

Last week, I watched as a friend shared that she received a pile of angry feedback for a recent video that had nothing to do with the thumbnail or title. She looked right into the camera and said that she had to name it something catchy or else no one would watch it.

I know how the game works. I know all about clickbait, listicles and SEO. I teach marketing and write books about it. I know how the game is played.

BUT, that doesn't mean that you as a writer, photographer or artist in any form have to create in order to please our robotic overlords.

One look at this weeks "announcement" from Medium about looking for focus and you get the feeling that once again they only want to reward those who create to feed their beast.

I'm always on the outlook for great art. Earlier today, I watched this video in awe. Last week, I read this post and found inspiration.

Both were created because the person felt compelled to do so. Their creation satisfied a yearning to share their love with the world.

Both knew they might get attention. Both tagged, shared and everything else to feed the algorithms, but neither were created TO feed them.

Every day I see people writing posts, creating inspirational quote images and videos with no other reason than to get attention.

I'm a member of several private groups for a variety of topics and so many of them are nothing more than sharing ways to game the system. The type of content you should be creating if you want to gain attention.

Yes, again you should know these tactics, but I'm begging you not to have them be the only reason you create things.

What I mean is, when I take a photograph and post it to Instagram, I do it because I want to. There is a creative urge or feeling that as a photographer I need to satisfy.

Yes, I'll add hashtags in the hopes that that photo is seen by more people and some of them choose to follow me, but I'm never driven by this when taking and posting a photo. If this is what drove me, all you would see is perfectly framed travel photos instead of a mix of family, work and fun all at the same time.

Create based on what compels and inspires you.

Know the game, understand the rules and bend them to your favor whenever possible.

Let the robots do their jobs, but don't let them dictate your creations.

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