So you’re a creator that’s been in lockdown for months and you get invited to a party that we have all heard about. You go, and you have such an amazing time hanging out with your friends that you do what you do best, you film it and upload it to your platform of choice. The views start rolling in, and a huge number of your fans not only see the fun you’re having, but they also see you’ve made the decision to break free from the pandemic rules. Hey, if you can party like there’s no tomorrow, perhaps they can too, except there may not be a tomorrow.
As a result, one of your viewers follows your lead and, unfortunately, contracts COVID-19. They then transmit it to their grandparent who lives with them. The grandparent passes away. Distraught by the results of their actions, your fan reaches out to you and says that seeing your video is the reason they decided to party with their friends. How are you going to deal with that? Knowing that your actions had very real consequences?
View Counts Have A Way Of Obscuring The Human Cost Of Your Actions
The COVID-19 pandemic is still very real, but you wouldn’t know that from some of the content being created now. As a creator or influencer, or whatever you would like to call yourself, you have a responsibility not only yourself but to your fans, employees, friends, and family to not be publishing any content on any platform showing you flouting the rules that everyone else has to follow. That means openly attending or hosting parties, refusing to wear a face mask, and not adhering to the CDC / WHO guidelines.
I’m not saying this is an easy change to make. YouTube reported that ad revenue on the platform dropped by $3.8 billion in Q2, which translates into lost revenue for content creators, missed meet-ups, and canceled events. But the fight for viewers and revenue doesn’t mean you must sacrifice your beliefs or risk the lives of your viewers and fellow creators.
It is easy to forget how many people look up to you. In many cases, your audience may look like views on a video or story, but these are real people. I work with creators, many of whom forget there are actual people behind those numbers. The numbers and power of your influence are truly remarkable.
If you want to understand the scope of how many lives you affect, then think about it this way:
You have 1 million subs/views/likes/comments on your content in the last 28 days. That may be a small number compared to your channel, but just go with me on it. Let’s pick Madison Square Garden:
That is a sold out show at MSG – the maximum amount of people MSG can hold: 20,789. Yeah, that’s it.
That means that if we take your million subs/ views / likes/ comments in just 28 days you filled 48 Madison Square Gardens. Look at that picture and try to imagine 48 of those filled with people watching you.
As a creator, you have a decision to make. Do you want to be part of the solution or part of the problem? You may argue that’s not your problem, that you cannot control your fans. And you are absolutely correct. But you can control what you upload and say. You have the ability to save lives.
Following Best Practices Around Social Distancing Is More Than Good Ethics, It’s Good Business
I hope the above gives you more perspective on what you are dealing with. Hearing people say, “I just want to live my life” is not an excuse when by your actions, you “just wanting to live your life” may be taking someone else’s away. You have a responsibility to your fans to set an example. Because sooner or later, some of you will come to the realization that you enabled someone who did not deserve to die.
We are all having a hard time adjusting to this “new normal” and want it to be over. I think everyone can agree with that sentiment. This desire to move on and just get over it is seen in stories highlighting illegal gatherings and “COVID” parties. The creators at the center of these stories have risked their lives–and the lives of their viewers–along with their livelihoods through their actions. If you really wanted this over with, you would use your influence to slow the spread so things can get back to normal. Your actions are just the opposite.
Furthermore, you are in business, you get money for people watching, buying merch, brand deals, etc., how are your fans, with massive unemployment going to afford to buy any of your merch? How are brands and companies going to make enough money to stay afloat to even be able to offer you brand deals? They will not. And you will not be making the money you deserve for your hard work, if we do not get COVID under control.
You now have more reach than most companies, especially when it comes to younger viewers who are also the people contracting COVID-19 at higher rates now. By setting the example and not having parties or getting together and sharing it, or better yet, condemning it, you are actually helping your business – including human kind. You have 48 Madison Square Gardens of people that could listen to you. Why not use your influence to tell them to stay inside so we all can get back to some sort of normalcy.
Adapting To This New Normal Requires A New Attitude
This “new normal” whatever it is going to be, is going to be hard, and right now, it is hard to even deal with on a daily basis. All my clients I talk to are struggling, and I know you are too. We are in this together. We are all scared. But ignoring the pandemic, and pretending everything is “normal” is ignorant. It is not going to help you or the world.
Business Insider had a great article in early July where they talked with Dr. Christina Ghaly, Los Angeles County’s director of health services. Who said “”If you’re an influencer or have the ability to influence people in any space whether you’re a celebrity or on the internet — whatever your sphere of influence — please take that responsibility seriously… …Please use that as a chance to be a role model.”
I am not asking you to suffer any more than you already have. Nor am I asking you to stop making content that makes millions of people happy. You are a creator. You are a leader. Time to get creative on how to adjust to being safe and spreading that message. If you need help with navigating this unprecedented time, how to integrate being safe, but still making kick-ass content, reach out, that is my job, to help you.
Bottom line: If you are out or having parties and posting it, you are killing people. Be ready to deal with the consequences of that.
Josh is an ICF Certified Life Coach and the founder of Creator Coach, the first-ever life coach dedicated exclusively to creators, and now the people that surround them. He’s helped clients who have a reach of over 2+ billion viewers across all platforms. And he has been featured in The New York Times, Slate, Forbes, TubeFilter, 6 Feet Apart with Alex Wagner (NBC and ShowTime), where Alex stated: “We all need a Josh Zimmerman Life Coach in our lives…”, moderated panels for Playlist Live, Patreon, and VidConNow. You can learn more about him by visiting his website: www.creatorcoach.com
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