life on the internet
avoiding audience capture + weekly recs
Albert Oehlen, 1996
I wanted to write a little bit about life on the internet as I’ve experienced it. My credentials: I make a living off this Substack, I have some number of Twitter followers (40k~, which is not a ton but is enough to have meaningful reach), and I work for a startup slash app that has basically succeeded off continuously going viral. And my 2023 resolution is to also be on TikTok, which all in all means I spend a lot of time thinking what it means to create for an audience. Some notes:
Everyone consumes. Consuming is very different from participating and from creating.
I think that posting (and getting engagement from your posts) is an entirely different skill than reading Tweets, in the same way that reading hundreds of novels does not at all guarantee you the ability to write a novel. I think a lot of people spend a lot of time thinking about, okay, this is the year I get really into Instagram or whatever, and then they start and in the beginning it’s just… crickets. And it might be crickets for a long time. Which doesn’t mean you don’t have anything valuable to contribute, it just means that you’re trying to acquire a completely different skillset and it might take some time.