And then the true brilliance of DeBaun’s company hit me. It wasn’t the easy BuzzFeed analogy that was important (or should be important to investors and/or users); it was the recognition and cultivation of a unique identity. A deep drive towards a platform identity.
“If I could give you one piece of advice it would be this. Take a topic, deconstruct it into individual parts and make each bullet point a post. Each topic should have 10 ideas and if you have 3 topics then you’ll have 30 posts ready to write before you even start. Keep each under 750 words, use no jargon, and at the end of writing each post hit publish. Publish or perish. You can always revise it later but frankly you’re better off moving to the next post. 70% of what you write will just be ok, 25% will suck and 5% will be inspired.”
My mom would then tell me, in Spanish, “You need to study because you need to go to college and you need to get a good career. Look at me and your dad — we didn’t have that opportunity and we’re now working really hard to make up for that. You want to have a happy life? Make sure you get a career.”
If you’ve ever worked in the shelter system, or any field that serves those deemed as oppressed or marginalized in any way, such as abuse victims, the homeless, or people who struggle with addictions and/or mental illness (just a few examples)…one of the first things you learn is that they usually do not frame their worldviews in terms of academic theories you learned in gender studies classes in University. For the most part, they tend to not analyze their experiences in terms of systemic power and privilege, concepts such as “the patriarchy”, “white privilege”, or “heteronormativity”. While many of these folks are directly impacted by class inequality and do realize it, they are likely not spending their days and nights reading Karl Marx, educating themselves on the intricacies of capitalism. They do not sit around pondering the effects of “problematic behaviours” in radical communities. They are not concerned with checking their privilege. No. They are busy trying to survive. Getting through the next day. Meeting their basic needs such as food, shelter and hygiene. They do not bother with policing their language and worrying about how their words might unintentionally perpetuate certain stereotypes. They are more concerned with their voices being heard in the first place.