Thanks to google and facebook I can plug everything I make, write, or think into an analytics system which tells me whether people like it or not.

I get cold, hard, instant feedback about whether people are interested in what I’m doing, the ultimate weapon in a ruthless competition for attention. This power feels addicting, I crave the information, I check my phone again and again to see if anyone “likes” my work.

What I worry, though, is that this is training us to do exactly what everyone else likes.

I’m afraid that thanks to analytics and popularity metrics, we’re teaching ourselves to make exactly what other people want, and I think that this is the opposite of the point of art.

It’s easy to say “trust yourself, believe in yourself,” but what if we adapt at a subconscious level? What if I’m such a snap learner, I’m so tuned in to page views and click throughs and likes, that I internalize this feedback fundamentally and I begin to think like a mass-pleaser without even realizing it?

Originally published at on January 13, 2017.

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