Internet – The Great and Powerful Oz

So much of what we see today on the internet is the final product. Tightly packaged written content, the perfect photo, and few mistakes. If you look at a person’s social media accounts, the entirety of their online presence, you would think they had a perfect life. But its rare to see what goes on behind the curtain.

The people we idolize, the influencers of our time work hard to keep the world they live under tight wraps. They do this to convey the tightly crafted image they want the world to see. Status and signaling are at play.

The truth, if you look behind the curtain there is a great and powerful story that is being spun for public consumption.

Image result for the man behind the curtain wizard of oz

Success is messy. The work that goes on behind the curtain can seem chaotic and surprising. Most casual followers would be surprised that raw talent is not typically involved in an influencers success. Rather, behind the curtain there is years of chaotic organization that filters into systems and processes implemented following many mistakes. An instagram influencer takes many photos and works diligently to share only the best quality photo.

There is a tenacity behind the curtain. A willingness to do what it takes to present the finest work for the audience. Asking friends for support editing copy, cold contacting individuals for interviews or hiring experts for video production. Many youtube starts start out working to produce their own content but as they begin to achieve success they level up the process by building a team of professional video producers and use high priced equipment.

The path towards building a finished and polished product isn’t linear. Its a zigzag of emotion, 2 steps forward one step back filled with pivots and shakeups. A blog writer may iterate on their broad mission through many articles and essays until they find an interested audience. Once they find an audience they sometimes prune away old content that falls outside the scope of their sweet spot.

It’s an almost taboo topic.

Most people think that there is good content and bad content on the internet. There is a belief that some people have a talent while others simple don’t. But the truth is that good content is curated.

You don’t see many of this behind the curtain curation bragged about. It’s a not so secret industry narrative. Successful influencers know it but wide swaths of audiences may be surprised by it. Influencers and successful entrepreneurs don’t exist on a standardized path. They build the path forward and treat their business like an exotic bonsai tree. Carefully nourishing and pruning their product to perfection.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But its important to understand that much of what you see and interact with on the internet is a powerfully manipulated show. The backend of this show is a finely tuned machine that gets better through iteration. Once you know and understand the rules of the game you can effectively play it and take advantage of it for yourself.

Most importantly, you can’t skip steps in the iterative process. You must play the game from the start and only get better through repetition.

The relevant clip from the Wizard of Oz featuring the man behind the curtain

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