Whether it’s trying surfing or playing the guitar when’s the last time you did something out of pure joy?
In this Instagram-edited era where everyone gets their own stage, people only like to do things they’re good at. The thought goes: ‘if I can’t share it and show my best self, why do it?’
The aim for perfection limits the urge to enjoy hobbies for hobbies sake. As the author Tim Wu notes:
“But there’s a deeper reason, I’ve come to think, that so many people don’t have hobbies: We’re afraid of being bad at them. Or rather, we are intimidated by the expectation — itself a hallmark of our intensely public, performative age — that we must actually be skilled at what we do in our free time.”
The comedian never knows how their material will reciprocate until they get on stage and try their material. The jazz musician tweaks their tempo to test audience reaction. The writer publishes a first chapter of the book for feedback. In terms of professional life, showing your work is critical. But as a hobbyist, you don’t need reassurance. Again, writes Wu:
“Lost here is the gentle pursuit of a modest competence, the doing of something just because you enjoy it, not because you are good at it.”
Playing is natural, reception is artificial. It is hobbies that feed the soul with pure goodness. Showcasing the hobby is not necessary, but if so, neither is acing it.
Hobbies shouldn’t feel like work. They are a process to enjoy.
“The physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive at. But it is best understood by its analogy to music. Because music as an art form is essentially playful. We say you play the piano, you don’t work the piano.”
The goal is to be good at more than one thing. Everyone should be versatile.
But sometimes it is better to narrow yourself to expand. Instead of doing everything, you focus on doing one thing well. And the rest gets better as a result.
Take social networking for example. It’s a misperception that one has to be on all networks, sharing all the time. So you take shortcuts. After publishing a new blog post, you automatically share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Google+.
Frictionless broadcasting may work for those who already have an acquired audience. But for the startup or entrepreneur — they will need to work harder to get attention. And the best way to do that is to pick one network and double-down.
Focusing on Twitter, for instance, may allow you to write concise tweets, insert captivating media, and include vanity links. Focusing on Instagram may allow you to include the niche hashtags related to the post that gives the image an extra boost.
Single-tasking on one marketing channel takes a strategy. Publishing is deliberate and methodical, the community engagement well-intentioned.
Less is more. The pattern of interactions will bleed into other outlets. Unlike the feather, you’ll be the wind directing all the controls.
“The peak of peak attention can be assigned an exact date: Sunday, September 9, 1956, when Elvis Presley made his first appearance on television, on CBS’s Ed Sullivan Show. Its 82.6 percent share of viewers has never been equaled or bettered.”
There was a moment when marketers thought words didn’t matter, that the future was speaking through images.
But then everybody’s images started looking the same. The Instagram feed looked like a giant pile of sameness where anyone could be a photographer and upload a beautiful picture.
Snapchat then ushered in the video game and all of a sudden, copycats followed. Facebook’s algorithm started to favor video. Instagram introduced Stories and Live. People could share their thoughts without a keyboard.
But if there’s anything Twitter shows us, words matter more than ever. The US president and the ‘rocket man’ tease nuclear war. While images and videos are propaganda, it is words that beget action; they are volatile, easily copy-pasted and bent into echo chambers to paint fraudulent stories of intent.
If we want to awe someone, we choose static and moving images. But if we ‘re going to poke someone, we select text.
Words are game-changers. Not only do they provide context to an empty visual, but they also control the inner-narrative that ultimately influences external decisions. Choose them with care.