What differentiates social media like Facebook and Instagram from blogging, Spotify, or YouTube videos? Accessibility through retrospective searches. Ehm, ok, so what? So the latter promotes content that stays.
People on Facebook and Instagram (I’m not sure about Twitter since I don’t use it), are programmed to be drawn to the newest thing that is happening, to the now and the now only. This is precisely because the main focus of the apps are what’s the most recent things people are posting or promoting. Or perhaps, what’s the most recent news, if anyone can argue for a case of getting authentic news from social media. But then again, we can’t get truly authentic news from the traditional news channel either.
I hold a certain disdain for the constant bombardment of ever newer content. They are mostly irrelevant information. This is because I value the uninterrupted focus in doing whatever we deem needed to be done. Those irrelevant information are at their best distracting, and at their worst producing unnecessary anxiety. But that’s the discussion for a different post.
I attempted at writing notes on Facebook, or making short videos on either Facebook or Instagram, but they don’t have much staying power. It’s hard to search for them from the search bar, even if I know exactly what I’m looking for. Usually, I would need to remember who posted it, search for that person, and dig down their feed. Such a work-around! Indeed, those website are intended as places for people-searching—and more likely, gossiping—rather than content-searching.
That brings us to blogging, podcasting, YouTube videos, or any types of content that are searchable on Google in general. Though YouTube as a content platform is a bit between the line now since they also promote the “Trending” *cough* Trash *cough* content, and unrelated Stories from YouTuber we don’t even follow.
Again, the fundamental difference is in the very way those platforms work, and to be more precise: their aim. The way people discover things through a well-designed retrospective search engine is precisely looking it up from the gigantic library of everything that has ever existed from any timestamps. This way, the most relevant piece of information that has gone through the brutal quality trial by time will stand tall at the highest place in the search result. What an effective way of sorting through information! These kinds of content have been a round for a long time, and will continue being around.
Quick thought experiment: What would happen if Tim Ferriss stops pushing out new episodes for his podcast? Well, the existing podcast episodes will certainly stay around for a long time on iTunes, Spotify, and his blog. If Paul Graham stops publishing essays on his blog… Oh crap, he did! But guess what, the knowledge is there to stay and will continue to entertain, and most likely be of helpful resources to many people.
Though, as fun as it might be to trash a platform, it is not the determining factor for whether a piece of content will stay for a long time. Quality is! The platform that we choose to base our content on might enables the long-term thinking, but doesn’t guarantee it.
How many of the pop-corn styled songs from the 2000s do you still remember 10 years later? Songs that stood the test of time will continue to be listened for years to come: music from Mozart and the likes, or more recently Beatles’s, or specific songs like Can’t Help Falling in Love (do yourself a favor and listen to that one). They are based on the same platform, but achieved different results. Books like How to Win Friends and Influence People have been of great value since the 20th century while countless falls short.
Now, knowing that, what kind of content will you participate in creating? The kind that needs constant attention and newness, or the time-resistant one? The kind that fades away, or the kind that stays?