Treat yourself as your majority shareholder

Austin Kleon discussed Bo Burnham’s quote about social media companies “coming for every second of your life” by saying:

One reason I feel so lucky to be an independent writer with a great audience: I don’t answer to any shareholders but readers. I don’t have to grow my business if I don’t want to. I can do my thing the way I want to do it for the people who want it.

Austin Kleon, They’re coming for every second of your life

I’ve posted a lot less to social media lately. I’ve already talked about some of the why.

I keep coming back to the question: Who could profit from me making something for a platform?

I may not have the audience of a lot of the people I read or watch online, but I still spend time thinking about things to make and post and where I should do it.

I want that time to be spent on things that return value to me.

When I wrote How Up Makes You Cry, it was for me. I wanted something that would flex my film school muscles, and I needed a project to keep my mind off the fact that I was still unemployed while waiting for a new teaching contract to start. I was living in a moment where I couldn’t see the connection between the life I wanted and the life I was living. I turned to four minutes of film that dealt with that same disconnect and poured my heart into it.

Seeing that project through to the end was valuable to me. Finding out that other people enjoyed reading it was another boost to my mood.

And it started the conversation that lead me to my current job, which has allowed me to step away from teaching at a time I needed to.

So I’m pro-posting stuff online. I’m pro-making things.

But where and how matters. Owning your space is important, even if there aren’t the easily displayed metrics of shares and likes.

It’s easier to be found when you’re not sharing somewhere that only prioritizes the last thing you posted.

Looking back at my stats for this year, most of my popular posts are from one or two years ago. Evergreen content that I shared and left up to be found.

I’m happy with that. I’d rather share something that might still be of value to some people years from now than spend time trying to game an algorithm to make something that’s wildly popular for a day.