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Beware Your Audience

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the dangers of audience capture for online content creators and influencers. It explores how the desire for attention and engagement can lead creators to cater to their audience's preferences, potentially compromising their authentic voice and independent thought.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Beware Your Audience

1. What is the main point of the article regarding audience influence on content creators?

  • The article argues that as influencers and content creators gain more followers, their audiences can start to exert significant influence over them, causing the creators to produce content that caters to their audience's preferences rather than their own authentic voice.
  • This phenomenon is known as "audience capture" and can lead creators to post increasingly extreme or polarizing content in order to maximize engagement, even if it goes against their true beliefs or values.

2. How has the rise of social media changed the nature of fame and celebrity?

  • The article explains that social media has created a "middle class of fame", with many more people achieving a level of micro-celebrity with thousands or even hundreds of thousands of followers.
  • This has made fame more fractal, with A-list celebrities at the top, but also an upper-middle class, middle class, and lower-middle class of internet famous individuals.
  • The article argues this has led more people to be focused on building and catering to their online audiences.

3. What is the "Hayekian price mechanism" analogy used to describe audience feedback on social media?

  • The article compares the way likes, shares, and comments on social media act as a distributed feedback system, similar to the Hayekian price mechanism in economics.
  • Just as prices in a free market convey information about supply and demand, the engagement metrics on social media tell creators which content is in demand by their audience.
  • This creates incentives for creators to post content that maximizes engagement, even if it means compromising their authentic voice.

[02] Kill Your Darlings

1. What is the "kill your darlings" advice and how does the article apply it to online creators?

  • The "kill your darlings" advice is a classic piece of writing advice, which suggests that writers should be willing to remove or change parts of their work that they are particularly attached to, if it improves the overall quality and flow of the writing.
  • The article argues that online creators should apply this same mindset not just to their content, but also to their audiences. They should be willing to post content that may upset or drive away parts of their audience, in order to stay true to their authentic voice and perspective.

2. How does Bo Burnham's perspective on his audience illustrate the challenges of audience capture?

  • The article cites a quote from Bo Burnham's comedy special "Make Happy", where he expresses his conflicted feelings about his audience - wanting to please them but also wanting to stay true to himself.
  • This is seen as a painfully honest account of an artist grappling with the pressures of audience capture, feeling the need to give the audience what they expect while also wanting to express his authentic self.
  • The article uses this as an example for all online creators to respect their audience but also be willing to challenge and potentially offend them, in order to avoid being captured by their audience's expectations.
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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