The internet won’t forget you in a few days
Insider has published an article today about burnout among YouTubers
. The relentless pressure to create new content and stay relevant means – often self-employed and working mostly alone – they’re under pressure to keep working without a break, lest their audience gets bored and goes elsewhere.
“Adding in the fact that the internet never sleeps, so often we don’t really either… Working around the clock, we’re not taking care of ourselves, no matter how much the reward. It can never add up to the amount of effort that we’re putting in.”
YouTubers certainly aren’t the only online creators to suffer this kind of stress. Burnout is common among those who create online news articles – usually the people who have to churn out 10 articles per day no matter how much is happening in the world.
As someone who creates a daily newsletter it rang some bells with me, too!
But here’s the thing, this feeling that you need to keep producing content to stay relevant is an illusion. We’re conditioned to feel that way because that’s how we consume content online. There’s always something new out there, so if you want to stay relevant, you feel you always have to be that something new.
The fruit machine-like validation mechanisms of engagement stats such as likes and comments don’t help. If you’re not creating content, you’re checking how popular the things you’ve recently published are.
And if you earn big money from your content, the pressure must be much worse. It’s no way to live.
I’m a big fan these days of thinking ‘slower and more sustainable.’ Let what you produce resonate over a number of days, rather than feeling you have to come back with a sequel the next day, and the day after that.
No matter what your brain may trick you into believing, the internet won’t forget you if you disappear for a few days. In fact, it may even increase your value.
If you publish something every single day, you’re in danger of becoming 'part of the wallpaper’ even if you have fans who adore your work. You commoditise yourself by being everywhere, speeding up the arrival of the day when everyone is bored of you.
Being a slave to content production – especially if you put the shackles on yourself – isn’t a positive life choice. I hope the culture YouTubers operate in evolves to understand that.