“You know how these things start. One guy tells another guy something, then he tells two friends, and they tell two friends, and so on, and so on…”
The other day I had an epiphany. I’d written a blog post about something or another, and I’d posted it to Twitter. It got shared around a bit, but all I could think was ‘Why aren’t more people sharing this? What did I do wrong?’ I realised I’d stopped being grateful that people were bothering to retweet me at all, and I’d started to only care about the numbers. Then the rational part of my brain made its yearly appearance, and said – ‘Well when was the last time you shared anyone else’s stuff? It works both ways you know.’
I know so many talented people who can’t get a break – writers, vloggers, stand up comedians, artists – who don’t get the recognition they deserve, partly because they’re not getting the social media shares, and therefore the exposure they need. This isn’t necessarily because people don’t like their stuff. More likely, it’s just that it doesn’t occur to people to share it. I know this because it barely ever occurs to me to share other people’s work.
I’m a bit ashamed when I think back to laughing my tits off at an article, or a video, and yet when they come to ask for a share, I close the page and go ‘Meh, maybe later’, or ‘Meh, other people will share it, I don’t need to.’
Here’s a PSA: You do need to. If you like something, you need to share it, and here’s why:
1. These people spend a lot of time making this stuff. If you think articles are written in five minutes, or that videos are just recorded with no preparation, you’re wrong. (The one exception is a thing I wrote while leaning on a wheelie bin while having a cigarette. That doesn’t count.)
2. We really, really, really appreciate shares (we as in the individual – this isn’t a Den Of Geek Asking You To Share Stuff Of Its Own letter). To you, dear reader, it’s just pressing a button. To us it’s validation, confirmation that we’re not that shit, that someone likes us enough to stake their reputation on our stuff being at least passable. For the most part, all we have is you – we have no one else to sing our praises. Your retweet/share will, a lot of the time, be the one that stops us packing the whole thing in.
‘People trying to get noticed these days have it so easy’, you might think. ‘All they have to do is upload something to the internet, and instantly millions of people will see it. That’s how you become a celebrity now’.
If anything, it’s the hardest it’s ever been for good stuff to get noticed, due to the cavalcade of beige mediocrity – and let’s be honest, downright shite – obscuring it from view. A lot of people only ever drop in at the internet equivalent of Moto Services, because they don’t see anything else out there. Most of you reading these words already know this; I mean, you already have pretty good taste in websites…
As a writer friend of mine puts it:
“There are two sides to social media. On one hand, we have ‘high school version 2.0’, a massive popularity contest where the prettiest and loudest win. On the other hand, we have the reason it was (arguably) invented: a platform for those who have no platform. And those who have no platform, once again, are being shouted down. And the prettiest and loudest are winning.”
I say that it’s time for this rubbish hierarchy to stop. If the beige, clickbait loving internet at large won’t recognise us, let’s give each other a platform.
Here’s a list – and hopefully it will become a regular thing on this site – of funny people, informative people, and downright nice people who just have a way with words. People who’ve made me smile, and who I’ve never given proper credit to, until now. So click every link on this list, and then share anyone who makes you smile, even a bit. Because that’s what social media is for. That’s what the internet is for. It’s not so people can go “The penis enlarging secrets dentists DON’T want you to know about!”.
Don’t let those people win. Share the good content, share the talented people, share your friends. Otherwise, we’ll all end up knowing the “top 87 hairstyle tips from some random bint”. No one wants that.
If you have links you want to share, pop them in the comments. Tweet them. Put them on Facebook. Put them on Reddit. Write them on a flag and then walk round with that flag sticking out of your arse. Share, and share again – it really does make a difference.
For my part then, in no particular order, is a list of people that I think deserve their work sharing…
Curious British Telly (@CuriousUKTelly): My god, this blogger is a walking, talking encyclopedia. He covers everything you could ever want in a TV blog, from Threads to Roland Rat to a selection of pictures sent in to Tony Hart. If you like your TV oddities, pick any random post and be prepared to spend a good few hours link hopping.
Nik’s T-Shirts (@NikTShirts): Freelance designer Nik Horne has a RedBubble shop containing approximately 3,984,670 different nostalgic designs. Do you want a ‘Yorkshire Television Colour Production’ t-shirt? Of course you do, why wouldn’t you? Ghostwatch? Safeway? Teletext? Nik has you covered. And not just t-shirts – he also designs clocks, bags, canvases, and he probably does condoms with the Test Card on them. If he doesn’t he should.
B-Movie Poster Vault (@distortedkiwi): A pretty self explanatory Twitter account, featuring such delights as When Taekwondo Strikes and The Beast With 1,000,000 Eyes. I do love it when these posters pop up in my feed. Especially when it’s a poster for Turkish Rambo.
Jaffa Cakes For Proust (@jaffasforproust): A podcast on hiatus, but I live in hope that it will make a return, preferably accompanied by something fitting, like the “Welcome home to ITV” jingle. A spin-off of The Sitcom Club podcast, the wonderfully named Jaffa Cakes For Proust dissects bygone British culture in such minute detail that you’ll probably need a dustpan and brush to sweep up the bits afterwards. These guys really do their homework – half academic discussion, half pisstake, and guaranteed to make you go “Wow I never knew that!” at least once a second. A lamentably short but fascinatingly diverse range of topics are covered, from the Children’s Film Foundation, to the rocky beginnings of LWT, to obscure festive fare like The Christmas Martian. Nostalgia at its finest.
This is by no means an exhaustive list (the list is growing daily thanks to some wonderful recommendations on Twitter), and I’m hoping to have a little corner of this site where I can showcase those people who deserve a wider audience.
For now, knock yourself out in the comments. And remember – the more you share, the weaker the Clickbait Final Boss becomes.