Hey Friends 👋
Have you ever heard or read something and instantly had it resonate with you and what you do? Earlier this week I was listening to a podcast on The Ezra Klein show where he was interviewing a philosopher called C. Thi Nguyen who covers topics like games, Twitter, echo chambers, and the nature of truth. It's a great listen and if you're currently on the hunt for a new episode to listen to, I can recommend it.
During this episode, C. Thi Nguyen said something that resonated with me, this was.
"we’ve lost sight of how important activities are and we’re just obsessed with how important the output is and the product is."
Instantly, this sentence connected with me and made me reflect on the current world we're living in. We're no longer enjoying the process of doing something and only enjoying the outcomes of the process. Think about Twitter, for example, it's not all that uncommon for people to only tweet and engage with others because they want to see their analytics increase. It's not what tweets can I write that will prompt thoughtful and interesting conversations with others; it's what tweets can I write that will lead to the highest number of impressions, engagements, and new followers.
In other words, we're only enjoying the outcomes and not the processes.
And, while we're on the topic of Twitter, C. Thi also went on to say.
"one of the interesting things about this experience is [in] the process of quantification of Twitter peels off all that richness."
Twitter is in essence a giant game, it has been designed from the ground up to have game-like aspects in the form of likes, retweets, replies, and followers. All these metrics are like points, they themselves have no real meaning to what the person who pressed the button was thinking or feeling at the time, it just gives you a +1 on your total.
Let's think about it in another way, if there were two tweets, one with a thousand likes and one with ten, which tweet would you say is the most successful?
Probably the one liked a thousand times, right? More people pressed the like button so therefore it must be better and more successful? Well, now let's add some more context to the tweets and their likes and see what happens.
The one with the thousand likes is just a piece of meme content that people got a quick two-second laugh out of before moving on. The one with ten likes is a thought or piece of advice that only resonated with a few people but caused them to have an enlightening experience that will influence the way they work and live in the days and weeks to come.
So, which tweet was really the more successful one?
Now, analytics are important, they give us insights into our content and our goals, they let us know if we're improving or not, and they can help us inform future choices about the direction we want to go. But, they can't tell us the whole story and this is why they shouldn't rule our lives and be the only thing we get happiness and joy out of as a creator.
Instead, we should enjoy the process and enjoy writing that tweet and talking with others or writing a blog post, or creating a YouTube video.
Of course, I know how easy it is to fall into playing platforms' analytics-based games, I've done it many times myself and after-all it's what the platforms want and are designed to do. But, going forward I'm going to try to spend a little less time chasing numbers and more time enjoying the process of making things. And, that's something I think we can all benefit from on some level.
Thank you for reading as always.
Enjoy the process, not just the outcomes. Platforms want us to chase likes, views, retweets, and comments but these metrics only tell a part of the story. These numbers don't convey the value and impact your content has had on an individual level, or how much that piece of content changed someone's life. So, don't just take enjoyment from achieving X number of views or likes, take enjoyment from the process of making the content. Because, after all you can control the content you make but you can't control the metrics you receive on it.
- Book 📚: This week I finished reading Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte. If you're interested in becoming more organized, less stressed out, and remembering more then this book is worth a read.
- Podcast 🎤: This week's edition was based on an episode of The Ezra Klein Show where he interviews C. Thi Nguyen, check out the whole episode here on Spotify.
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