Being human in the world of content creation

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Hi everybody! It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post and planned to publish it on the same day of writing, that actually touches on some things I’ve been thinking about recently but we’ll get there.

Right now it’s mid-morning on Saturday the 19th of February 2022, I’m writing this whilst walking on my desk treadmill. Contrary to the belief that a desk treadmill is mostly for folks that want to lose weight, I actually bought mine to fight the back pain I was starting to experience since starting to work. No matter what chair I get, it could be the fanciest and most expensive; but my body is just not built to sit in what feels like an unnatural position. But I digress…

Another motivation for writing this blog post whilst walking was to get my brain to process the thoughts I wanted to share today. I always think better when my body is moving, which could explain why I have most of my great ideas when I’m working out which is what actually happened this morning. So here I am!

Lately, I’ve been in such a strange headspace.

Actually, it’s not been lately but perhaps most of the pandemic.

As our collective usage and need for the internet surged as a way to connect, I’ve spent more time living online. Don’t worry, this isn’t a pros and cons post about the internet or social media usage! I think it’s also worth mentioning that I absolutely love social media and creating when approached from an authentic lens. But what I’ll be sharing today is this idea of “creating content” that extends towards “the creator economy” and the rise of “influencers”.

Let’s get this out of my chest: I hate the word influencers. Whenever I’m referred to as an influencer of any kind, I cringe so much as I quickly find ways to exit the conversation. Yup, I just don’t like it. It’s the same feeling I hold when someone says “you’ve got a great personal brand” as if I’m just a brand whose main purpose is to persuade you to buy something that I endorse.

One of my first ever public speaking gigs where I talked about, funnily enough, creating content. I was all-in on content > everything else. How things have changed! If you fancy, you can watch the full talk here.

I know, I know, I probably sound like some grumpy millennial who doesn’t get social media and online presence as much as Gen Z’s… But as someone who grew up personal blogging and is at the heart of why I even exist online, it makes me cringe again when I’m thrown into the same bucket of influencers.

Even the words “creating content” gives me a strange feeling. Of course, I do create content, that’s a fact but when it’s used the same way as being an influencer, that’s when I feel funny. 😅

Although it is difficult these days, isn’t it? My full-time job includes creating content, I got into DevRel because of my content and being seen as an “influential person”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely loving my job and so grateful I get to do what I enjoy every day. However, I think the thing that is difficult for me to process is the fact that because of the creator economy I’ve fallen into, I’m often seen as just a creator. In recent times, even a tech creator! 😳

Being a multi-hyphenate is something I say frequently, and it’s how I’ve positioned my online presence for as long as I can remember. I’m not just a content creator or an influencer, but I’m also a human being with so many different passions and interests. I’m so multi-faceted just like everyone else in the world and that is what makes us all super interesting.

What makes me worth talking to is the different interests from biomedical science, health, mental well-being, games I play, being a twin, plants, the books that I read and movies I feel intensely about. And ya know – being a fellow human being! It is not the number of followers I have on Twitter or another influencer that can promote another product.

I’ve also found myself falling deeply into caring so much about the things I didn’t before e.g. metrics. Although it’s very useful to get a good sense of whether your content is doing well in our age of algorithms, it’s also a trap that gets me all caught up in creating content for others and into the mindset of pleasing others above myself.

Like, some days I just want to write – like this one – about something that is on my mind rather than trying to have the best SEO-optimised post or one that was written with every sentence that hooks you to the very last word to that will somehow make it on the first page of Reddit.

Sorry I just really like this shirt lol

There were days when all I’d think about was creating content. It has taken up so much space in my brain and affected other areas of my life.

I guess a part of me also misses the times when “creating” was just writing a blog post about your day and really connecting with people that come across your blog. Some of my closest friends are those I met back in those personal blogging days. It wasn’t superficial, it was real care and empathy on someone’s full self and complicated lives.

This isn’t a rant post – or at least not intended to be – but it’s definitely a reminder to myself that I’m not some content-producing machine. Also, it’s another reminder that the word “no” exists! The number of times I’ve almost agreed to collaborate with a brand and post a #ad but never actually wanted to is too much to list.

As I’m clocking in 40 minutes of walking, I’d like to finish off that although I love creating content especially when it’s not forced and gives me the freedom to be as authentic as I can be… above it all I’m a complex human who has more to contribute than just another piece of content or a tactic for a marketing team.

Writing this unplanned post has revived a piece of my heart and soul, so thanks for getting this far. 💜

2 responses to “Being human in the world of content creation”

  1. Hey Pauline, I wanted to show you a live demo with Playter – how your site would look like with the opportunity to listen later instead of read now. Check the live demo here:
    https://dojo.summurai.com/show-live-demo/127850
    What do you think?

    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Tal! I replied to you on LinkedIn.

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