Sometimes, we charge fool-heartedly into an endeavor without really understanding the whole picture.
You can probably think of an instance or two in your own life where you’ve witnessed something like that. We all seem to know someone who has rushed into a relationship that didn't appear to make any logical sense from where you stood, or perhaps somebody who, without really being asked, shared their terrible opinions on social media.
Oof - opinions and social media. Now there's something that goes together like uh...hmm, I don't know, nuts and gum.
Do you enjoy sharing your thoughts with the world around you? If so, have I got a guide for you!
Ask yourself the following:
Is it an opinion?
Are you perhaps volunteering it without being invited or asked to share it?
Is it going onto social media?
If the answers are yes, then this is a great time to take an extra moment to think about the actual value of what it is you are about to post!
Rushing in to thrust your potentially inflammatory opinion into the face of a general population that didn’t ask to hear it in the first place was never really a great idea, historically. But, “iN tHEsE uNpREceDeNTed TiMEs”, people are kind of, like, over it bruh. The threshold for getting eyes rolled at you, blocked, or even cancelled has gotten awfully low because – yeah, you guessed it, everybody felt like their opinions got really important there for a while. Phrases like “my two cents” and “talk is cheap” powerfully and accurately reflect on how wasted words degrade the value to the truly beautiful gift we carry – the gift of speech. The gift of speech – to me, as a voiceover – is especially sacred! It is a storytelling tool; a pallet of colors that we use on the imaginations of our listeners to inspire, move, and impact them. And what value becomes of words that are but too often wasted?
Did you know that your attention is a commodity?
It's true! Every little thing you do on social media is collected, studied, measured, and monetized. Your attention has become something that fuels an entire data economy that has come to life in this strange age. When you pause your scrolling to read or look at something? That's data being collected. Something political that catches your eye? A product that might be fun to buy? Something offensive? A terrible opinion that makes you do a double take or react? If you interact with it, if you don't interact with it, you're feeding the algorithm monster. And that monster learns, adapts, and will throw more at you based on what it learns can hold your attention. Furthermore, the monster may send ads and suggestions your way based on what it knows about the people AROUND you as well! Their habits and preferences can be tested on you.
Speaking of - which of you slimy little marmots disrupted my algorithm?!
Ultimately, doesn't really matter what it throws your way, so long as it grabs your attention and keeps it. This can include controversy and things that evoke shock or emotional reactions – because that kind of stuff tends to hold your attention (just in case you were too busy being shocked or offended to notice this)! You don't need to agree with what you're seeing in order for your attention to be taken advantage of. In fact, if you get drawn into an online argument - even better. It's your attention that's the commodity here, remember. Your attention feeds the monster. And ultimately, your reward often becomes more of exactly just that: things that provoke a reaction or an argument out of you.
The only way to win that game is to not play. If you think it wise to react to an opinion online, to strangers, to the world, etc, the game is already lost.
I once said that people generally understand rules...what they don't seem to grasp, however, are consequences. One of my favorite quotes that has risen out of this mess of action and failure to understand accountability has been "well, well, well...if it isn't the consequences of my actions!"
All of that is not to say that opinions and thought sharing don’t have a place in a civilized world and society. They do. But just remember the next time you are feeling reactionary, it tends to be fools that rush in. It takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and only a moment to destroy it.
Stay frosty out there, fellow voice artists.
If you enjoy reading my blogs, I bet you'd like some of the other voice over blogs that I really love! Take a minute and check out these truly wonderful voiceover blogs. Reading these is always a big highlight in my busy life!