Content: Not Even Once

I never thought I’d be sentimental about the auteuric vision of creativity, but here we are. Behold my latest creation: A hat with “Content Not Even Once” embroidered. It’s a pastiche on the Montana anti-Meth slogan (“Meth Not Even Once”) suggesting, with only slight hyperbole, that engaging in content creation is as ruinous as meth. The moment you start feeding the social media beast — Instagram, TikTok, or the like — you’re at the mercy of algorithms that change your intrinsically motivated action to an extreinsically measured worth. Likes. Shares. Comments.

The trap is subtle. What begins as an earnest attempt to share a piece of yourself is hijacked by the craving for digital validation. Your art, your thoughts, transformed into fodder for the algorithm. It’s no longer about the joy of creation and finding connection with others, but about appeasing the insatiable hunger for engagement. This digital validation, as fleeting as it is, shapes our perceptions, guiding us to tailor our creativity to suit the blunt instruments of social media metrics.

I’m not deriding those who identify as content creators — whether you’re capturing video, sketching, or doodling on the piano, the label itself isn’t the issue — the problem lies in how it shifts our mindset. Instead of taking pride in becoming slightly better by the day, learning tools of whatever hobby or trade you’re pursuing, all value of what you’re doing is measured by clicks and views. You’re competing with “AI artists” who are making chumbox content, and that’s an unwinnable race – “never wrestle a pig”, etc.

(If you’re a content manager using media to fulfill some KPI, this doesn’t apply to you. Content to your hearts content)

So, I made a hat about it because it seemed fun (four hats in different colours, to be precise). It’s a statement equating content creation’s addictive cycle with meth. Perhaps a bit tasteless, but subtlety has never been my strong suit. It’s a call to remind myself of who I am beyond the algorithms — lord knows that I have self esteem issues enough without having to compete on the social media stage.

If this resonates with you and you’d like a hat – get in touch. If enough people want one I might get a dropship option going. Above all, remember not to do content. Not even once.

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