On Casey Neistat is Quitting Vlog Life
Last week Casey Neistat announced that he was ending his daily vlog. We recognize how ground-shaking this announcement is for the YouTube community. And it got us thinking about how difficult that decision must have been, and how many other creators out there might also be experiencing thoughts of hanging up their content creation hat or drastically changing direction at this very moment. This is a new phenomenon. We're still seeing the birth and rise of the content creator-- so to see a major figure end their social channel is pretty rare.
Neistat’s rationale was that he began his daily vlog in order to challenge himself creatively, which he believes he successfully did. At least for the first year. He says in his farewell vlog, “I woke up everyday thinking, ‘what can I do today to make the greatest video possible?’” But fast forward a year, after 365+ daily vlogs, and “it got easy...” Neistat came up with a system for producing the videos and the challenge dissipated. He began experiencing what he deems “creative complacency”-- something every creative has likely experienced.
“The trouble with success is that it makes you very comfortable,” Neistat said. He was making a very comfortable living, doing something that was relatively easy. If he wanted to, he could have hunkered down and done that for a few more years.
Creative complacency, or formulaic creativity is common amongst creators and influencers. When you find something that works, you just keep doing it for fear of jeopardizing the progress you've built, or in some cases simply because it’s easy. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. But this comfort often leaves creatives feeling out of touch with any sort of deeper creative purpose. Maybe your schtick was innovative when you first started, and that’s what shot you to the top, but as time passes what was once innovative may become dated or boring. In Neistat’s words, “a career is always about progress, it’s never about arriving in one place and staying there.” Inevitably growth and success on social media plateaus-- all Neistat did was tap out before that happened to him.
In doing so, he not only gave himself the freedom to pursue exciting new creative challenges, but he also just created a heck of a lot of interest for his coming creative endeavors. Win-win.
What we love about Neistat’s decision is that he chose authenticity. He chose creative integrity over easy money. And this is what we believe in too. Create because you love to create. Don’t create because you want to become famous (Neistat expressed similar sentiments in an interview with AdWeek).
So why do you create? Are you still in that proverbial “creative fist fight” or are you closer to complacent? How do you know if, and when, and how, to hang up your hat or to change directions? Or if you’re at the beginning of your creative journey, how do you know if it’s really right for you?
We made a little quiz to help you out.
So you want to be an influencer?
1. Which of these motivations is most appealing?
A. The opportunity to positively influence the world.
B. Fame and spotlight.
C. Love for creating things and self-expression.
2. Do you enjoy interacting with internet strangers in comment threads or DMs on social media?
A. Yes! I love making internet friends through social media.
B. Goodness, no. I don’t have the patience to respond to comments.
C. Sometimes. Trolls annoy me but I like that social media allows me to interact with way more people than I could without it.
3. Would you sacrifice sharing your genuine personality and opinions on social media in order to not lose followers with dissenting opinions?
A. Nope. Imma do me and if my followers don’t like it, then that’s what the unfollow button is for.
B. Probably yes. I prefer to be well-liked and not say anything potentially controversial.
C. I might omit a few things but on the whole I am true to myself. That’s important to me.
Would you partner with a fit tea cleanse company to post about their product in exchange for compensation?
A. Heeeelll naw.
C. What is fit tea?
Are you consistently inspired and excited about what you create?
A. Yes, my work energizes me and doesn’t even feel like “work.”
B. Usually yes. I’m mostly excited to see how many likes I get though.
C. Not really. My creative work feels like a chore at this point.
Keep creating and sharing your content with the world! You’re authentic and value creative freedom, and you create for the right reasons. The world of social media needs more people like you.
You should probably do some self reflection. If you create content because you want to be famous then you’re in it for the wrong reasons. Sure, stardom is cool and all, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. If you don’t genuinely love what you’re doing and have a sense of purpose then the happiness fame and money brings you will be short lived.
Sounds like you need a little creative rejuvenation. You’ve got a good thing going, but you need to remind yourself of why you’re doing it. Hone in on the creative projects that fulfill you the most and do more of those! If your follower count is not so important to you then that’s okay-- your work will speak for itself.
Hope you enjoyed our little foray into quiz-making. Don't worry though, we'll stick to our day jobs.
Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence.
I'm the Oxford comma's biggest fan.