Trying to CREATE not CONSUME

Wanting to disconnect from social media isn’t a new notion for me. I usually have at least a week or two out of the year that I decide I’ll delete all my social apps and be FREE. But I never go as far to delete my entire profiles. (Being an internet “creator” means I can’t fully divorce myself from all the apps that reach a potential audience, right?) Most of the time, I settle for just trying to limit screen time.

As I talk about in my latest video, that comes with varying levels of success. But I always feel better if I can put the constant inundation of envy-inducing images and inflammatory comments away for a while.

The idea for this video popped into my head while I was on vacation. I thought perhaps I’d document my experience of “disconnecting.” But then I realized, it wasn’t really disconnecting from social media if I was making content with the sole intention of posting it to social media.

Instead, I settled for just sitting in the experience and see what came out of it. What resulted was some essay-like writing that I ultimately turned into a script and then video.

I’ve been moving away from outright “advice-style” videos lately in favor of content that’s more like this. Somewhat gentle explorations into things I’ve been thinking about, struggling with, or fascinated by. I don’t necessarily want to offer answers (I feel less like I have them these days!), but I want to bring viewers along with my observations.

For example, I don’t have an answer on how or why you should delete Facebook/Instagram/etc. Most of these apps are pretty in-grained into the creator ecosystem so being present on them in some form seems necessary. But I did learn that I was CONSUMING more than I was CREATING so that was a good place to start challenging myself.

Anyway, in an effort to CRAFT rather than CONSUME, I wanted to share a few behind-the-scenes tidbits!

First, I’ve really been getting into creating thumbnails recently.

As you’ve probably heard me talk about before, I’ve never been *trained* in graphic design. So I’ve always felt like my skills were somewhat lacking. But over the last two years I’ve been asked more and more at my job to create graphics beyond what I needed for videos so I guess…I’m getting better? Well, I’m getting more confident in what I can do in Photoshop and Illustrator as I learn new skills along the way.

This video’s thumbnail was probably my most ambitious undertaking from the start. (Usually things go off the rails creatively once I start working on the thumbnail and realize I want it to POP more). I knew I wanted something to do with my phone so I had taken several of stills like these:

But when it came time to edit them I realized I wanted it to be much more complicated than just one of these photos with some text slapped on. I liked my face from one and my arm with better positioning of the phone in another. I realized the background could be a good place to reference the various types of social media apps. Then I came up with the text: “Social Media Monster” which made me realize I could make the thumbnail fit more of a Halloween/October theme by having some kind of monster come out of the phone. Searching Freepik for an appropriate image, I decided on a zombie hand which required lots of detailed cropping out of the background and repositioning of the graveyard dirt in the phone. Then it was time for color iterations, and I ultimately settled on the orange/”inverted” colors because they seemed more spooky. 🎃

So basically, creating a thumbnail which used to take me say, 5-10 minutes with my trusty template, turned into 2 or so hours of editing, researching, and pulling my hair out as I wondered if I maybe had reached the point of biting off more than I can chew.

Now, will this video get more clicks because of this thumbnail? Who knows. I can’t tell with my channel anymore. But did I learn some new skills and feel like I made a thumbnail worthy of the effort that went into this video? Yes! So I’ll count it as a win.

Second, since I’ve been posting less frequently (twice a month on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays!) it’s given me more time to tinker with graphics and animation. I always go into a “talky” vlog-style video thinking, “This won’t need much in the way of graphics probably!” and the next thing I know I’m animating a phone flying into a volcano and watching tutorials on faking a hand drawn animation style.

While I may not have totally revamped my branding this year like I’d want, I have been building a graphics library and “look” for my videos that’s more cohesive. I’ve also been adding in little animations for illustrative (or comedy) purposes. I especially liked how I focused on adding sound effects as well this time. They’re brief, inconsequential clips, but they make me happy. And give me an excuse to challenge my motion graphics skills.

All in all, it’s fun to be the one CREATING, and maybe even INSPIRING you to create something too!

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