A Creative’s Digital Dilemma

CEW PODCASTS: A summary of Episode 2

In many cases, being a creative involves operating on social media and that brings both opportunities and challenges. This podcast discusses what they may be and how a creative can leverage social media.

Moderated by Faiq Airudin (@faiqairudin), the podcast is joined by Liyana Hanif (@vanilliyy), Richelle Ret of Hanazine (@riichelle, @hanazine), Bash Harry (@bashharry) and Ibrahim Kamit (@ibrahimkamit).

Faiq introduces the guests by way of their followers, view counts and social media likes, and proceeds to ask the speakers how they feel about it. Richelle hates using numbers as an indicator of someone’s success. Bash feels the same, saying it is dehumanizing but, at the same time can be a good measure – just not an all rounding measure. The question also prompts Liyana to ponder her personal account turned business account’s accidental following.

All this is to say that being a creative in the 21st century is synonymous with being a brand, whether intentional or unintentional. The fast-evolving technological age also means that a creative’s medium and platform has to shift with the evolution of social media.

With social media now readily available as a means to build a career for so many people, Faiq questions the challenges digital creatives face when building a following. For Liyana, when her account turned, almost seamlessly and unintentionally, into a business account, it challenged her privacy. Thankfully, Instagram also continually evolves with the times and have introduced the ‘Close Friends’ feature to restore some semblance of privacy to the lives of online content creators.

For Richelle, when Hanazine took off in 2019, she self-censored and purged old content after gaining traction, believing into the age-old advice of internet stranger danger.

But that also brings up the question; if you self-censor yourself online, how much of what you portray is, then, authentic to your true self? And how, then, do you bridge the divide between self-censoring and the genuine, personable online brand? Ibrahim empathizes with this dilemma. He says when he picks up the camera, he puts on a persona. His current biggest challenge is being authentic online.

Though being your authentic self is important to any digital creative’s digital present, online content creating is, still, to many degrees a career and a way to make money. Bash divulges her meticulously curated social media operation: when she receives a query in her DM or e-mail, she provides clients with a media kit detailing her latest analytics numbers, then proceeds to provide clients with a comprehensive social media plan.

The other guests say they don’t have quite a streamline plan because some are quite new to the industry, and others continue to keep their online presence a hybrid of a personal and business account. Richelle, for instance, likes to keep her current workflow organic through going to events, having fun, taking photos and documenting them online.

There are, of course, limits to where you choose to go and who you choose to work with in the industry, especially if their values and beliefs do not align with yours. Liyana also notes that sometimes, it’s hard to say yes to a brand because their work just does not align with her vision. Her solution: redesign and share to her liking instead.

It’s important to remember that your content online is first and foremost yours.

With that said, social media can play a pretty detrimental role on one’s mental health if not regulated. Liyana copes with this by spacing out the time that she posts. The downtime, then, is the break she has offline. Bash says she only follows people who she wants to see on her feed and people who influence her to feel positive. Richelle encourages others to create a private account to ensure you don’t feel too shaken up with the real world. Ibrahim says he takes time physically away from gadgets.

At the end of the day, being online is a creative choice and responsibility. Just as the creatives enjoy putting their work out there, it’s also important to remember how your content works for your audience.

The podcast ends with some advice to people starting out:

  1. Do not be afraid of starting out
  2. Separating personal and business isn’t always necessary
  3. Do not to be afraid to lose an audience
  4. Do not be afraid to step out of the boundaries
  5. Someone is bound to be offended, so enjoy your creating content regardless
  6. Social Media can become transactional, so it’s good to build relationships outside of that
  7. Go for it, be yourself
  8. Don’t get too obsessed with views, numbers
  9. Finally, find content you enjoy making

Listen to the full podcast on Creative Economy Week’s Youtube Channel or head over to Progresif Media for the audio experience.