I think we are at a unique inflection point in social media and blogging. There is a tangible shift in social media away from the content creators and into the content itself. The world of social media and blogging has changed a ton in the last decade. It has been changing since its inception. For many creative people it felt like the boat already left. Sometimes it feels like you have to put in ten times the effort to make anything stick. For me, I have been kicking myself for almost over a year because I see these influencers who caught the initial shift in our culture to social media. The feeling that I missed out because I didn’t stay consistent in producing my content like them bothered me… I could have made it, but I missed my big break.
There’s another shift coming. 2020 arrived with COVID, a horrifying election cycle, and everybody was at home, stuck. A lot more people with more time turned to social media. They craved something different, something more authentic, something that didn’t glorify the individual, but felt supportive and collaborative. Our loss of in person social connection caused many of us to revisit how we approach social media. The influencer felt less relatable and we craved more interaction from people sharing something new.
What Is This Shift in Social Media?
I am not saying that the social landscape is wide open again. Our favorite content creators are still great, but something is changing. My own content was nowhere near where it should have been to compete in the social space. I wasn’t putting my all into it. I missed the first bubble because of my own self-doubt. Many of the things that made people influencers then is still relevant today. It still takes hard consistent effort.
How The Landscape is Changing
What I am saying though is that opportunity is knocking, and I think what is amazing is some of the new faces of social media, and their reach does not look the same as those who graced our collective screens five years ago. There is a shift on our social media platforms from influencer focused, to content focused. Take Johnny Harris for instance. I know there are some articles on the web that talk about his rise in viewership. Many have some different perspectives on why he has become so relevant, but this is not one of those articles. I started watching him on Vox Borders series. Intrigued by the content, I invested hours consuming information about social, cultural and economic borders around the world.
Unfortunately Vox cancelled their Borders series. Many of the travel based content shut down. None of us were going anywhere until we could get control of this crisis. I stuck around, and soon fell in love with a lot of different topics I had never really explored before. Normally I would have thought it was just me, because I tend to have disconnected interests. It wasn’t just me though, many smaller content creators started blowing up. This shift on our social media landscape was happening all at once as people gravitated for these more niche creators.
Finding New Content
I soon started watching his wife Iz lifestyle blog. I am not a fan of lifestyle blog formats, but I soon got hooked. Invested in his topics, I found myself drifting over to her content. I was interested in how they balance living life while continuously producing quality content on a huge range of topics. Johnny’s content changed too, from being strictly historical or cultural journalism, to sort of a catch all of interests. Things he was learning about came to the front, without worrying about whether his audience would like it.
This shift in social media and content creation has given voice to smaller channels. Their channels are focusing on their own interests. If you’ve been around the last decade in the social media space, especially as a creator, you’ve probably heard a million times how you should cultivate your personal brand. You’re told how you should cater your content to one maybe two specific topics your passionate about. Following the data, those words of advice rang true as focused creators skyrocketed. Meanwhile, quirky niche creators who split their interest between dozens of topics quickly became hobbyists rather than popular creators.
Shifts in Social Media Focused on Content
Now that is no longer true, or at least that it isn’t going to be true for much longer. COVID hit people hard. We lost that feeling of connection. Those in prominent places blew past us while many of us struggled to make rent, and we felt left behind. The “Do this to get rich” or the “This is what’s most relevant” felt like total bullshit. We were focused on keeping our lives together and keeping our families safe. These problems aren’t specific to the pandemic by any means. During the pandemic, the net we relied on in friends and family vanished, because we all experienced this crisis together.
I am not sure that feeling is going to last forever. That feeling is here to stay for a while. TikTok also had a massive boom during the pandemic. The content curated through that platform quickly became individuals that were uniquely them, not trying to sell something or be something to follow. I found myself enjoying the platform in so many different ways. The videos I swiped through hit a range of interests and I rarely thought of any specific “go-to” creator. I mean think about it? How many people are actually using their “Following” tab rather than the “For You” page. The desire for original, unique, random content has exploded. There’s a growing separation from who creates it and what’s being created.
What Does This Mean For Content Creators?
I wish I knew, but honestly, I am not completely sure why there is this shift in social media. What I know is that the wisdom of setting up a successful channel is already moving its way out. We are moving even further away from creators holding your attention to your work standing out on its own. This shift I think is really important for content creators. With it, there is a growing opportunity to re-enter the space and be on equal footing regardless of how big somebody else in the space with similar content. For me, that’s really exciting. I love books, I want to publish books, but I’m equally passionate about other topics. My topics are all over the place. It has always been tough for me to try and narrow it down. On any given day I may be feeling another passion more than I feel the one I’m focused on.
This shift is moving away from you, and moving towards what you like. What that means is this; Your content may not be gaining any special advantage focusing on just one of your interest. It is not a problem if all you want to do is go all in on one of your interests. I have followed a bunch of old creators with smaller channels that focus only on one topic. I found them because of this shift from creator to content. This shift has widen my interests and brought me to searching for content I would not have otherwise looked for.
What Does This Have To Do With Writing?
I may not know exactly what to do, but I would encourage you to consider this; We are in a major shift from building a personal brand to being authentically you without worrying who likes it. A lot of smaller creators are gaining more traction. Some content creators are even reaching broad audiences despite their channels or their feeds talking about dozens of different topics. Just this week, I subscribed to three new channels which is unheard of for me. I followed a programmer and I followed a at home vlogger. I also followed a person who I think does yoga or therapy?
Not a damn thing, and that’s part of why I wrote it! If you are reading this and have followed along with any of my other blog posts, that’s crazy to me! This was my own rambling of something I am just starting to observe. I’m guessing that you are starting to see this shift too. Don’t worry, you’re not crazy, I am feeling this change too. Well if that was you, then great! Before I forget, I hope you will consider following or at least watching a video of Johnny and Iz Harris. I am a huge fan of them, and I think they are pretty fantastic creators.
Links for Shift In Social Media
Below there is links here for Johnny’s YouTube and Patreon, as well as Iz’s YouTube. I also added Kallmekris as she is someone who comes across my For You page all the time. Hopefully it brings you to new content you love or it provides a little context of individuals I’ve mentioned.
Be sure to also check out our other content throughout our home page. You can sign up for our newsletter which helps me know my writing is being read! I am also working on some cool projects that I would love to share with you, so check those out.
Johnny Harris Youtube – Johnny Harris – YouTube
Iz Harris YouTube – Iz Harris – YouTube
Johnny Harris Patreon – Johnny Harris is creating videos | Patreon