Content Creation: A Millennial Rite of Passage
January 4, 2017

(Note: This is the first ever guest post on Straddle The Line.  It is written by a new friend of mine, Kip Clark, who produces and co-hosts the podcast Stride & Saunter.  Thanks Kip!)

As a Millennial, I feel our generation has been a point of constant scrutiny in recent years. Whether we are the scapegoats of economic ineptitude, wild social behavior or curious relationships with technology, criticism from our elders is sure to follow.

But in my limited experience as a Millennial and in working with other Millennials, our generation is characterized by tremendous insight, creativity and imaginative approaches to new technologies and industries. For this reason, I think every Millennial should try their hand at content creation.

To me, content creation ventures beyond the realm of self-expression and into the arena of social connection. While others might scoff at the constant influence social media has in many of our lives, I strongly contend that this is less about an obsession with notifications or a loose collections to friends and instead a reflection of our taste and aptitude.

We follow, retweet and connect with what appeals to us and quickly excise the people and content that does not resonate, entertain or enlighten. There are drawbacks in this to be sure. Our search for personal definitions of “great” tends to isolate each of us in nuanced and often rigid ideologies. We aren’t always willing to hear other sides or try out new approaches to our familiar favorites. But, nonetheless, as the generation that grew up in tandem with the Internet, we have become experts at content consumption.

And in consuming so much content, I feel that we as Millennials are well suited to create. The tools of the web are widely available, increasingly inexpensive and user-friendly. On platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, most of us craft content in miniature without a second thought. For some, these spaces allow for more developed and appealing content creation. But I would push any Millennial reading this to go one step further.

I took this step in my own life and appreciate it tremendously. Back in 2014, a friend of mine invited me to start a podcast with him and more than two years later, my excited assent over the phone is one of the proudest moments in my life. My expression has never been overtly stifled, but never before had I been made so aware of my voice. What would I talk about? How could I best illustrate my thoughts to an invisible, physically absent audience?

Your experience may not be so poetically overt, but as I sculpted and sliced the fragments of my voice in countless hours of editing, I gained new perspectives. I could hear the rhythms of my sentences, the tone I rely upon for questions and what “warm” and “sincere” sound like as I put thoughts into words.

Through the undeniable awkward experiences of launching such a project and feelings of vulnerability, I found a greater sense of truth. I became a more effective communicator and a more patient, sensible advocate of both my thoughts and those of my friends and peers.

We often think of content creation as a means of showing something. Perhaps the phrase conjures to mind an Instagram post of a particularly stylish new outfit, an entertaining pet or a heartfelt confession. But as people, I believe that anything we show helps to reconstruct how we see. We meet our audiences, which expand and change. They help us to see new things and the conversations open our eyes and expand our vocabularies. This is the beauty of content creation, of starting these conversations.

Being a Millennial is, in my opinion, a very discursive experience. We are incredibly vocal and linguistically creative. At the furthest peninsula of human present (or history, for some), we are exceptionally well equipped to see, recreate and re-imagine the world.

If you excel at what you make, it may become a source of income. But I promise that if you make an earnest and thorough effort, you will see the world in new ways. You will expand your thinking, your social circle and your skill set. Perhaps most importantly, you will have a more nuanced and genuine relationship with yourself.

About Kip’s Podcast:

Launched in September of 2014, Stride and Saunter is a podcast devoted to genuine and meaningful dialogue. We dissect humanity (specifically thought and behavior) and cultural ideals through a critical lens to learn more about ourselves and the world we share. Every week we share our opinions and discoveries in honest, thought-provoking discussions. We are more fascinated with difficult yet rewarding questions than with concrete answers. We live for the grey areas in life!

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