The First Time
In the past week I have had two friends start new projects and for the most part they were both met with positive feedback and the type of excitement you would see when you discover that Gary Marshall will no longer make another movie named after a holiday.
The thing is that the internet isn’t a fan of new in the general sense of the idea and somewhere in the Trolldome there is an alarm that sounds when someone takes that sage-like advice and becomes their own “media company.” At once the hairy troll emerge from their snorey, drooly slumber to make sure that you know your first crack at a thing; IS. NOT. PERFECT.
I am not sure what they love about that feeling so much, but boy do they revel in it, in the same way Wilbur reveled in the mud before being killed by a poisonous spider in Charlotte’s Web — or maybe I was watching a different movie. The point is that they arrive, dump on your project and linger a bit to see if they can get you engaged, and if you ignore them — they move on to the next project that isn’t perfect.
Here is the concern, not that we need to police the internet, no, I believe in the furthering of the democratization of the web. What we need is to invest in the people that ship art on the web. Consume more, comment more, share more, encourage more. I feel the reason more people do not try to put stuff out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, here on Medium, Linkedin, or their own blog is because they feel that someone will tell them it sucks — and they are 100% right.
Perhaps you have noticed this too. Most of your Facebook feed is filled with things people share as told by other people. These same people could be writing, doing Facebook live broadcasts, or even coming here — but they don’t.
They don’t because that fear is a very real thing.
The fear of shipping anything is as vivid as when our cavemen ancestors heard a rustle in the woods and thought it might be a predator. In most cases it was and in some cases it killed them. Internet trolls can’t kill you but they can kill your momentum, your desire to produce, your ability to fail and try again.
I love Game of Thrones and I am particularly enjoying this season as we are all discovering it together — without a book as a map, rather with some fan theories as a compass to guide where we think it is going. This past week there was a great line from Jon Snow where he said; ( I will paraphrase to protect some of the spoilers) “I tried to do the right thing and I failed,” and Sir Davos responded, “Good, now go fail again.”
It is a lesson we don’t hear enough and the echo chamber that is the social web can really do a number on your self-esteem, but we need you. We need you to put more things out into the world, we need you to try something new and say “fuck it” when the first person posts to tell you it sucks. In most cases it is because they haven’t done anything either. I write and speak about starting a lot, because I feel it is THE thing I want to see more of my friends, my family, my co-workers do because they more we are collectively creating, the more voices we have to choose from, the more points of view we can take into consideration, the more art to gaze at, the more theories to test, the better we are as humans.
The first time isn’t great for most of us, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it another go.