Thursday, August 29, 2019

Back for a Minute...or More...or Not

Just popping back in - a year and a half after my self-imposed hiatus began - because I read this

That is an Atlantic piece by Taylor Lorenz, about Emma Chamberlain and her ilk - YouTubers and other young, Gen Z influencer types who have blown up over the past year or so.

These kids today (and they really are kids) are all about low production values (or, at least, the appearance of low production values) and embrace the kind of messy, casual aesthetic that was all the rage back when I was in high school. They're not on YouTube trying to be famous - or, at least, that's not the only reason they're there. They're just looking to share.

This is the key graf that got my attention:

While Chamberlain’s particular style may not feel accessible to all, the broader shift toward messier, less filtered content is bigger than one star or one look. “Millennials are so curated, and Gen Z is very not,” said [Abby] Adesanya [head of talent and influencers for Bustle Digital Media Group]. “Millennials used social media as a highlight reel … Gen Z is like, ‘Hey, this is what I’m doing right now, this is what I look like right now.’”
Sounds like blogging in the old days, doesn't it? Way back in 2005, when I started this blog, curating was far from my mind. Those were the days of Live Journal and MySpace. All I wanted to do was write a little about food and why and how it matters.

Over the next few years, as social media rose and internet culture evolved, I became much more conscious of how what I posted would or could be perceived and what it conveyed about me as a "brand." That's exhausting and, frankly, boring. The fact that it was on my mind all the time made blogging a chore and - in the end - it's a big part of why I stopped writing. I have a dozen half-written posts in my drafts folder. I'd have an idea, start to write about it, then start to worry about making it perfect and making sure it was an accurate reflection of "me" in a broad sense.

That was dumb. 

In the early days, I just wrote and quickly skimmed for horrific typos then hit post. I didn't worry about including images in every post or having Google-friendly headlines or anything related to the Brand Called Kit. I didn't worry about whether or not anybody was going to read what I wrote (I assumed that nobody would). I just thought about the topic and what I was learning and thinking and what questions I had.

These days, I've scaled back on my writing overall, but I'm still doing a decent amount of food writing - restaurant reviews and a weekly restaurant events column, both for Baltimore Fishbowl. That's different from the windy, never-really-sure-it-has-a-point writing I used to do about food as a big, broad, cultural subject.

I miss that writing, even if it was sometimes aimless. In the early days, it made me happy and - as a side benefit - I learned a lot about what others thought and what I think.

I might get back to it. I might not...but I might and I hope I do. And if - when - that happens, apparently I should thank Gen Z for the push.


Anonymous said...

And praise be to RSS feeds, which have gone out of style even though they're awesome. That's the only reason I'm here for your new post today.

Kit Pollard said...

Oh wow! RSS feeds! I had almost forgotten about those. But you're right - they're so useful!


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