the problem with “original” content

Jay Clouse creativity, stories

Well, it’s finally over. Snap Inc., the creators of Snapchat, had their Initial Public Offering after riding a long wave of hype.

That stock price netted the founders hundreds of millions of dollars, and that resulted from selling only a very small percentage of their stock.

All that wealth from a couple fundamental revelations:

  1. People love to communicate via photo and video
  2. People love to take selfies

Gen X (and now Gen Y) are the most photographed generations in history. Consider the other social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin (jk), Twitter, WhatsApp…almost all of them with a mixture of text, photo, video, and live video.

There is a absolutely endless mountain of content. Nearly all of it user-generated, and theoretically completely original content.

Except that it isn’t.

When I look at my social media feeds, I see patterns. I see formulas. I see a majority of unoriginal original content. Derivatives of other content that came before it and netted some likes.

The barrier to expressing yourself as an artist (and yes, you are an artist) doesn’t exist. The bar of originality is incredibly low.

This is actually what I love most about Snapchat. They consistently roll out new features for creativity and give next to no guidance or explanation of a.) when it’s released or b.) how to use it.

Here’s a thing I made on Snapchat using the new cutting feature to collect my friends’ heads.

And here’s how I adapted that to Instagram.

Use this reality to your advantage. Stand out! Be yourself! Be weird! The world would love to see it. And please, no more “hot dogs or legs?”

Do you have some original content you’re proud of? Send me your favorite piece and I’d love to share it with the group on an upcoming newsletter.


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