Hello, everyone. I am Ithaka. And this is Sponge, a podcast where we absorb elements from the world to form a perspective of our own and find beauty.
The theme for today’s episode is this: no amount of information does any good, if not acted upon, and the best way to act upon anything is to form a steady, healthy, and supportive long-term relationship. That is what I absorbed from my recent crazy panic spiral of so-called marketing research, in this hyper-active era of social media and algorithms.
And somehow, all that is going to be tied to this episode’s title: Every-other-Thursday’s child has far to go.
Anyway. A crazy panic spiral. A death spiral. Wow. It was beginning to affect my sleep, it was beginning to affect the quality and quantity of my production, and it was beginning to affect my outlook on life.
Yes. Seriously. Kind of crazy, when you think about it, isn’t it? To lose sleep, and to lose quality and quantity of production, and to start thinking that the world is a dark, confusing place, all because of some marketing research?
But truly, that is what happened. That is what I have been doing to myself in the past couple of weeks or so… No, in the past several months or so. I mean, the intensity of the death spiral “research,” in air quotes, rose and fell, but yeah, when looking at my past quarter of a year from a bird’s eye view, yes, definitely, I was in a death spiral of marketing research that entire time period.
And I think finally, I am at the brink of exhausting myself to such an extent that I cannot continue this death spiral even if I wanted to. That is where I am speaking from today, this brink, and I believe this episode will be of help to those who are also on the brink of losing sanity due to the numerous demands that have been normalized, in the past decade or so, as part of marketing efforts that are now perceived as “a given.”
But, this episode isn’t all about the typical trap of a modern tragedy. Nah. I promise, I will end on a cheerful note. Victory. Glory. The journey continues. That is what Ithaka loves, that is the Ithaka I have on my mind, so we will get there. Just bear with me this process of getting there.
Marketing. Ah. As I’ve mentioned several times in the previous episodes, I used to work in digital marketing in my previous life. And… it wasn’t as if I was a marketing director or the owner of an agency or something really serious like that, but still, you know, I am used to digital marketing. I am used to words like click-through rate, conversion rate, sales funnels, search engine optimization, and even, oh, that alarmingly cheerful sounding acronym, KPIs. I don’t know why I think they sound cheerful, but they do. KPIs. So… crisp, popping, and irresistible.
I am also used to the implementation of all this jargon. A lot of digital marketing, at the fundamental level, is repetitive optimization, repetitive reporting, and sometimes, really manual tasks. Really manual tagging, keeping track of things, and monitoring. And I am used to that. I am not afraid of such tasks, and I also recognize the necessity of such tasks.
However, in the past quarter of a year, it wasn’t the very idea of marketing that was overwhelming. It wasn’t the details of the terms or the strategies and applications that were overwhelming. It wasn’t even the prevalence of social media or algorithms. I don’t think social media is bad or that algorithms are bad. Social media can be good. Algorithms can be good. They both did a lot of good.
What was overwhelming, and eventually created a death spiral instead of constructive research, was impatience. Impatience. Oh, so much impatience.
In this hyper-active era of social media and algorithms, the extent to which digital marketing is normalized is astounding. And again, I’m not saying that social media is bad, or that algorithms are bad, or that KPIs are bad. None of them are bad by definition.
However, the… taking for granted that everyone will post three times a day to Tiktok, but wait, not just Tiktok, also to Instagram, as a carousel, and again to Instagram, as a reel, and then to Pinterest video, because apparently, now that’s a thing, but oh! You shouldn’t complain, because you can upload the same nine-second video to Tiktok and Instagram Reels and Facebook and Pinterest, so you only have to do some extra work to write a 240-character tweet for Twitter, and then repost to LinkedIn.
I mean, come on.
And I know that “yeah, yeah, even though that’s kinda the advice that goes around right now, it doesn’t mean I have to do it.” I also know that “yeah, yeah, there are others who actually don’t recommend that you do everything; they recommend picking one or two channels and only uploading there.”
However. However. Again. It’s not about the specific tactics. It’s not about the implementation or the very concept of digital marketing that’s so overwhelming.
It’s this constant. Constant. Constant impatience.
Of new -new new things. 9-second video, 16-second video. But it’s not even about the length of the video.
On Youtube, with its longer videos—some of them are 40 minutes long, an hour long—also has this more more more new new new again and again and again mentality, and it was just…
Just consuming content about creating content for the sake of creating content is… it can drive a person insane.
And the scariest part is that some of the more more more new new new advocating appear in the guise of patience. You know, people who recommend such practices will tell you that you gotta be patient, that you most likely will have to upload a lot of Youtube videos and Tiktok videos and tweets for a long time, before you see any results—which is true, they are correct in that. However, that seeming patience or long-term view is actually, fundamentally driven by impatience—the impatience that stems from the inability to see that a person, one person, an individual, cannot be divided into having a dozen steady, healthy, and long-term relationships in the marketing sphere alone.
How many steady, healthy, and long-term relationships can an individual have? How many, total, and how many in the marketing sphere?
Is it possible to have one? Ten? Okay, what about fifty? A hundred? How many of these can an individual have without one affecting the other, without one steady, healthy, and long-term relationship hindering the steadiness, health, and longevity of the other?
I’ll do some really rudimentary math here. I would say, for something to be called a relationship, you gotta spend at least three hours per day with that something, on average. This includes the time you’re asleep. You know, this is how people form concepts of family and long-term couples; because, just by sleeping next to someone, or sleeping next door to someone, humans can form attachments. So, three hours per day, on average, is nothing. It’s the bare minimum.
Given this, say, 24 hours divided by 3 is 8. Yeah. At the highly rudimentary level, I would say, a person cannot form more than 8 steady, healthy, and long-term relationships at any given time.
Most likely, it will be fewer than that. Because, people sleep way more than 3 hours next to their significant other or in the bedrooms close to their family. People also usually work more than 3 hours a day, however they may define work. People may have full-time employment, or people may have a calling that doesn’t fall into that neat category of employment, but nevertheless takes up a lot of their energy.
So, for example, me. Roughly, I sleep about 7 hours a day these days. I actually want to sleep more than 7 hours. I do best when I sleep 9 hours a day, but partly due to this death spiral of marketing research, my sleep pattern has become very erratic. I need to fix that. But, say, 7 hours of sleep.
And about 5 hours per day, while I am awake, I spend on my body. Yes, I count this as my relationship with my body. I work out, I eat, I take a shower or take a bath, I stretch. This is truly a steady, healthy, long-term relationship that I have finally formed. It didn’t used to be this way. I neglected my body, and it showed. My body didn’t trust me and I didn’t trust it. Now we’re learning to trust each other.
On top of this, I spend about 8 hours a day on my work. My calling. However you may define it. I have no weekends. I don’t need them, because, unlike some other types of work, my work isn’t one where I am involved in intense physical or intellectual activities at all times.
When I read a book that will later be Sponged, I count it as work, just the same as when I am actively typing to script an episode. It’s because, if I don’t count reading as work, I realized that my creative well threatens to dry very quickly. And at that point, no amount of active typing will help me, because there is nothing to type from. So, reading, active writing, editing text, editing audio, watching movies, translations, studying other people’s work, even doing seemingly-random research, and, sure, many activities that count as marketing—all that counts toward these 8 hours, and I think because of the nature of what I do, 8 hours a day without weekends is entirely reasonable. Some people think I’m working too much, others may think it’s too little. I would say neither, but if I had to choose, I would agree with the side that says I’m working too little.
I mean. We’ll talk about this in one of the future episodes, about Müdigkeitsgesellschaft, or Burnout Society, which is a book. The short version right now is that sometimes, outside observers simply do not understand what it means to live and breathe something. Such outside observers frequently have a life setup where they themselves can very clearly separate their work from life. And because of that, they assume that everyone, ever, everyone who has ever worked separates their work from life. And sometimes they will tell me so. They will tell me that they assume that. Not only that, sometimes they will tell me that I should follow their assumption. That I should separate work from life. This is amusing for me at best, and offensive at worst, because my work is my life.
There is no such thing as a work-life balance for me. Where does my work end and where does my life start? Where does my life end and where does my work start? The reason I have 5 hours allocated for body care, at all, is so I can keep doing my work. I could even say that the reason I have any sort of relationships is to feed my work. Very bluntly put, if a person is detrimental to my work, which is sitting alone in a room and making shit up, I will remove that person from my life. Of course I will do it. What kind of person is that, to prevent me from doing that?
And it also works the other way around. What some people call life, as opposed to work, will affect my work. I’m not making excel sheets here. If I love someone, ya think it’s gonna stay separate from my work? Of course not! I’m gonna immortalize that man endlessly. He’s gonna be in every single thing I write, probably indirectly, but oh, he will be there. He will be in every blog post, in every podcast episode, in every fiction story, especially. What the hell does it mean to separate work from life? I mean, I know the meaning when it comes to folks who are employed in a setting where they have a boss and they would like to get the hell out of work on time, I understand that—but in my life, what the hell does it mean to have a work-life balance?
You know? And I get so annoyed by this, because sometimes, folks who have bosses will try to make me feel bad for working too much. But I don’t need nobody who tells me that I should stop reading because I work too much. That’s ridiculous. People read after work, after employment work, to rest. And I call that work. Of course I can work without weekends. What the hell.
Anyway. End of that rant. 24 hours in the day minus 7 hours for sleep minus 5 hours for body care minus 8 hours for work. That leaves 4 hours a day, on average. That is spent on people.
And most likely, there will be some overlap. So, for example, I could be working out with a friend. I could be eating with family. Things like that.
And the exact numbers in the allocation of time may vary from person to person, and it will probably change within my life as well. But what stays the same from person to person and within a person, mostly, is that this is how few buckets most people have. I really doubt that many people have a lot more than these large buckets. Sleep, body care activities, their calling, and their relationships—human relationships.
Should marketing happen at all, then it would fall under the “calling” category. In my case, it would need to consume some of the 8 hours per day that I have allocated for this category.
But… I told you, this category also already has reading, active writing, editing text, editing audio, watching movies, translations, studying other people’s work, and seemingly-random research. So, okay, to some extent, I can convince the other activities to make some space, so marketing can live among us.
The danger is this. Compared to all these activities—reading, translations, and so on—marketing, even with its seeming patience and long-term view, is the most impatient activity. Compared to everything else I do, marketing is the most short-term activity.
And some might say, “Well, just do a little bit of marketing.”
But. No. That’s actually not possible, if you want to reap the benefits of the current marketing trends, which is more more more new new new constantly. Just creating one Tiktok video does not cut it. That goes entirely against the marketing wisdom of the year 2023. You gotta make at least one Tiktok video every day. Even better, three. Even better, ten. You’re basically throwing things at a wall and seeing what sticks.
So, it’s not a matter of “just doing a little bit of marketing.”
Meaning, social media marketing itself, if a person wants to see some effect, needs to become its own project. My question is, given the individuality of an individual, just how many marketing-specific activities can be squeezed into a person’s life, when it is already squeezed significantly?
More importantly, with such seemingly patient but actually quite impatient marketing activities, will the work stay the same?
It’s a matter of focus. Focus on one’s work, calling, craft—whatever you want to call this… this core, this love that compels someone to want to accomplish anything at all. This focus is what keeps a person sane, despite all the hyper-activity around them.
Call it flow state, call it absorption.
Everyone knows what it’s like. We’ve all experienced this as a kid. When we’re so absorbed in playing with our friends on a late-summer evening, so we don’t know that the sun is setting and coloring the whole sky orange and pink, so our parents have to call out our names, making all the nearby dogs bark with excitement or annoyance, and we still don’t respond to our parents because we don’t hear them, we’re so absorbed in whatever game we’re playing with our friends, so our parents have to come looking for us all over the neighborhood, positively catch us, so we come back home for dinner. And the dinner is already cold, but it doesn’t matter, it friggin doesn’t matter, because we had such a great time, oh, what a marvelous time, anything in the world to experience that level of absorption one more time.
And yet, because I also knew that without any sort of marketing, nothing happens, I was in a weak mind-state and kept searching for nonexistent answers.
I completely lost focus. The most in-vogue, impatient marketing hypes about more more more new new new completely took possession of me. This hyper-active era of social media and algorithms exacerbates our impatience. It is designed to take whatever impatience we had and magnify it. It disguises such impatience as hustling or long-term grinding—but I… even, even given that I am a person who says I don’t need weekends, because of the nature of the work I do, which some people would say it’s not work at all, because, as I said, you know, some people, work at an employment, like a, as an employee, and then they come home and they read for rest. So, what I do, for them, doesn’t even count as work. But still, I do it, regularly, repeatedly, and I consider it work, and even so, even though some might say that I hustle too much or grind too much or whatever, even so, even given the person I am, after a quarter of a year of ruminating about the modern marketing trends…
I have concluded that the hyper-activity around marketing is entirely different from the focus I can get and give from the usual work I do. Because, no amount of information does any good, if not acted upon. And the best way to act upon anything is not getting caught in this spiral of impatient newness, activity for the sake of activity, literally accomplishing nothing.
No. The best way to act upon something is to form a steady, healthy, and supportive long-term relationship.
A steady, healthy, and supportive long-term relationship is by no means static. Within it, lots of changes occur. In fact, changes must occur, otherwise a relationship would go stale, just like a human who does not undergo changes would… go… bad. This is both at the literal and figurative levels. A human who does not learn new things and do new things is dead. But also, at the cell level, if the cells stop dividing… we’re dead.
And so it is with relationships. Relationships, like many intangible concepts, are like organisms. Numerous changes do occur. And yet, such changes never occur to such an extent that it, that they disintegrate the organism. As in, the organism can still be identified as that same organism. In the same way, a given relationship can still be identified as that same relationship. Meaning, there are some very fundamental elements that absolutely cannot be changed. This is my concept of the core. Humans change, but I believe that we each have a core that is absolutely immutable. If we were to change this core, I believe we would disintegrate completely.
The immutable component in the relationship could be anything. For example, it could be who is involved in the relationship. A woman and her man. Or two women and a man. I don’t know. Whatever keeps ya going, I don’t care. But I’m saying, an open-invitation orgy wouldn’t be considered a relationship. Such randomness does not create an environment in which we can bond.
Bonding creates the safe basis from which we can do anything outside of the relationship. I mean, people in strong relationships—be it romantic or a family relationship or friendships or work relationships—are able to do amazing things because of the certainty of their relationships. At the same time, bonding is, quite literally, bonding. In some ways, we are unable to move. For one thing, we cannot abandon the relationship, for another, within the relationship, we can’t just do anything and everything we want to, because such actions might affect the immutable core of that relationship.
What I find severely lacking in popular marketing is both the certainty to freely do anything outside of the relationship and the immutable core within a relationship. Because of these lacking elements, I felt so hollow after a quarter of a year of panic spiraling into its depths.
There was absolutely no certainty to freely do anything outside of these marketing spheres. These tips from these gurus—it doesn’t matter to them what you do outside of their marketing tricks. All they care about is that you do the 10 Tiktok videos a day or 20 Instagram posts or whatever. Instead of letting you grow in whatever it is that you actually do, besides marketing, they will suck you into the marketing death spiral. It’s just like any bad relationship.
And at the same time, there isn’t even an immutable core. Your worth to them depends on whether you do your fifty tweets per day or not. It’s a friggin’ abusive relationship. When you start listening to these gurus, unless you do what they say is oh, so completely necessary, some of the languages that they use is like… Wow. The implication, and sometimes overt statement of how lazy you are because you don’t listen to them, or worse, how negative you are, is… it would be funny, had it not been so disgusting. I mean, talking about lazy, calling someone negative because they don’t generate the same bullshit ten Tiktok videos a day that regurgitate some popular marketing wisdom is… that’s lazy. Because, beyond what they keep recommending, which is new new new more more more, what are they actually acting upon? I mean, they claim that they’re acting all the time, because, like, new new new more more more does require action, but what are they acting upon? The answer is obvious. They’re acting upon acting upon. The whole point is to act and nothing more. Why do they act? What for? Who for? There are no answers. Well, they say that they want to market their business, but frequenly, 1) it’s a pyramid scheme of marketing, meaning, what is being marketed is marketing for marketers so they can go market that to more marketers who want to market that to marketers, or 2) yeah, sure, there is a business behind all the marketing talk, but even then it’s like… I’m sorry, but I have never found a case in which the actual business that isn’t part of a marketing pyramid scheme was in any shape or form interesting for me. And partly that is personal taste, yes, but, largely, it’s because that business itself is also focused on the more more more new new new mentality that I not only cannot understand at the personal level, but also cannot understand at the societal level. Like, what is the point? What is the point of more more more new new new all the time? I don’t understand.
And, as mentioned in the prevous episode, episode 24, it’s not that I don’t see the value in money or wealth in general. Oh, absolutely, make money, get fame, have an impact. But impact for what? Fame for what? Money for what? I don’t understand. And this is the case even when I want millions. Of dollars. Even so, I don’t understand the point of just getting the million dollars. Maybe I’ll never get my million dollars because of this stance of mine, but sure as hell, I will not delude myself that I am being positive or digiligent because I create ten more Tiktok videos that contains nothing but the same bullshittery of more more more new new new.
But, all these marketers want is for you to pay them, or for you to become like them, in a marketing pyramid scheme. So, when you don’t do what they say you should do? You’re lazy. You’re negative. It doesn’t matter to them what you actually do, besides marketing. I mean, there’s got to be a reason you wanted to market, to begin with—hopefully. Hopefully you’re not in the busienss of marketing marketing. But to those marketers? Nah, it doesn’t matter what your actual, immutable core is.
See, there is a lot of criticism about Tiktok and Tiktokers, but there seems to be less criticism about all these marketers claiming that Tiktok is necessary, which is why I’m criticizing the marketers. People may post Tiktok videos for various reasons, I mean, there are so many different types of Tiktoks, but the reason these marketing gurus create their content seems to be to build pyramid schemes without overtly appearing so.
So, I could have social media, I could try different things, but this… perspective that some of these marketers have? This is what I am trying to avoid. I believe that consumers of long-form content, such as you and me, consume long-form content for a reason.
Even if we may enjoy the occasional 16-second videos—because, I mean, immense respect to the people who can put so much concise entertainment into a 16-second video—even so, why do we come back to this long-form format over and over again?
Because of the bond. That is my answer, at this time, that we do it for the bond. For the relationship, where, because of its steadiness, health, and support, we can do things freely outside of the relationship, while also having an immutable core.
I think that compared to a platform like Tiktok, which is specifically designed to make its users addicted, long-form content like a podcast, even when it’s on a fairly centralized platform like Spotify or Apple, cannot help but let its consumers act freely. That’s because long-form content requires much more participation from the consumer’s side. You don’t just swipe left, right, up, or down, for the next next next tiny bit of entertainment. Whatever you, the specific you, are doing right now, it’s probably not that, that constant, never-ending movement. You are more likely to be doing your own thing, such as commuting, folding laundry, or doing the dishes. And, hey, if you’re absolutely doing nothing else except listening to my voice right now, then, wow, what an honor. What an honor that you are willing to listen to Sponge for an hour or more instead of getting repeated and guaranteed dopamine rushes. In whichever way you all are listening right now, you are able to make a choice about it, because long-form content isn’t that addictive and doesn’t require you to be constantly on the edge.
And yet, you come back. And I believe that means something. We have a relationship. A bond.
And so, I want to nurture this bond. To accomplish this, as mentioned in the last episode, staying will be critical, yes. Being there is the most critical. In most things in life, showing up matters the most. If Woody Allen ever said anything that was right, then it was that “80 percent of success in life is just showing up.”
But also, how will I stay? How will I show up?
And that is where we finally reach Thursday’s child from the title.
Monday’s child is fair of face,Monday’s child
Tuesday’s child is full of grace.
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go.
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living.
And the child born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, good and gay.
Most children listed here have straightforward descriptions, but for one. Thursday’s child.
“Thursday’s child has far to go.” Now, what does that mean?
According to an article on Famlii, quote, “Both positive and negative connotations have been associated with Thursday’s child over the centuries. The traditional meaning is associated with Thursday children having a long, successful life without limitations. Going far in life is typically viewed as a positive attribute with children having a lot of potential and talent. Modern interpretations of the meaning vary. Thursday’s child is sometimes associated with children having special needs or setbacks in life. This concept of “far to go” implies that children have obstacles to overcome.” End quote.
But, look. When I heard this rhyme, I immediately thought about the traditional meaning, not the modern meaning. I mean, way to make things complicated.
My Thursday’s child is gonna have far to go because it will have a long, successful life without limitations.
To be more precise, my every-other-Thursday’s child.
What’s gonna be my every-other Thursday’s child? Sponge.
That’s right. Sponge will go on a biweekly schedule. Every other Thursday, there will be a new episode—unless I die, in which case there will be no more Sponge, but, you know. That’s kind of a given, that there will be no more Sponge if I die, right?
Before now, Sponge didn’t have a schedule, because I figured, ooh, what if I don’t have time? What if I cannot find the right format? And so on and so forth. But after this quarter-year death spiral of marketing research? Girl, you definitely got time. Don’t you try to deny that. In fact, I have so much time that I wasted it on friggin’ fake market research that led to absolutely zero, and I tell you, zero actionable insight.
The fundamental answers tend to be obvious ones. Instead of trying to get ten million Tiktok followers, how about I just make you happy? You, who is already listening to this? Why not give you the option to listen to me with regularity?
I did consider an even more regular schedule, a weekly schedule. But right away, wow, so quickly, as soon as I thought I was gonna announce a weekly schedule, “Decision to Leave” happened. It’s a movie. We will sponge this in the next episode. And that episode, it’s gonna be long. And doing an episode that is more than two hours long every week is 1) not feasible for me because of the amount of work, 2) will create fatigue on your end, in my opinion. The purpose of a regular schedule is to form a relationship in which both sides, you and me, can thrive. We each gotta have room to do our own thing.
I also considered splitting up a long episode, but that’s… personally, I would find that annoying. It’s kinda like when Netflix doesn’t drop the whole season, and instead does the weekly release thing, when, everyone knows full well that everything already has been filmed and edited and finished, it’s just Netflix trying to get more subscription money. I find that annoying, personally, so, nah, I didn’t wanna split the long episode into two. If you want to take breaks while listening to the episode, you can do that, but I will not withhold half an episode and make that decision for you.
Meanwhile, I do think this one topic per one seed model is nice, as opposed to the short episodes and multiple topics model from the very early days of Sponge. That’s because, really, I could go on and on with multiple topics. So, it’s like, if I start doing multiple topics per seed, I might as well do, twenty episodes on one book or one movie. It is possible. But I think it would probably get too repetitive.
Lastly, I considered unconventional schedules, such as every 9 days or every 11 days or every 13 days—but that seemed too complicated. Same with the 1st, 11th, and 21st of every month. It’s a mouthful. “Every other Thursday” is just so much easier to say.
At any rate, long story short, methinks that in creating more regular/reliable opportunities to listen to Sponge, perhaps I can contribute a small part to your version of steady, healthy, and supportive long-term relationships.
Imagine that, my friend. I’ll be here every other Thursday. I have committed now. Sponge and I are in a serious relationship now. Are you gonna join us in our serious relationship? Hmm?
It’s gonna be one in which I can act on the information that I have and do some good by acting upon them. I have a backlog of movies and books and articles and life events that I have absorbed, which I should have already sponged, but instead, I was doing infinite scrolling on Youtube.
I am going to stop that. Yes. I believe my commitment to sponge something every other Thursday, with depth, will help me quit Youtube. Honestly, Youtube is so helpful, but also, all that help, after a certain point? It doesn’t do any good. Sometimes I find myself just watching Youtube, acting upon no information whatsoever. And then I feel so stupid. Just, so pointless. And that’s even though Youtube content is great, and the content creators are great!
It’s me who has to do the prioritizing. Instead of haphazardly watching this and that, and calling that learning, I should invest in my steadiest, healthiest, and most supportive relationships and help them grow.
I mean, could Sponge one day benefit from an Instagram account? Maybe. Could Sponge benefit from a Tiktok account? I don’t know. Or maybe I should have my personal Instagram account or Tiktok account. I do keep experimenting with them, but they never stick. And one of the marketing tips going around to make it stick is “oh, just share your process, then you don’t have to create something new, so it’s likelier to stick.”
But that is such a… it sounds like it makes sense, until you think about it, and in so many cases, it does not.
There truly is an observer effect, in that, just by being aware that someone is observing you, the results change. It’s not a matter of sucking it up or toughening up and dealing with people’s eyes on you. Art, creation, doesn’t work that way. There are some creations that can only work in private, depending on the nature of the creation itself and also the nature of the creator. And if that privacy is not respected, it’s like holding an unborn baby in a mother’s womb under a constant X-ray telescope, or worse—dissecting the mother to see the baby. It is grotesque, to normalize the publication of privacy in the name of fake positivity that supports the pyramid schemes of so-called marketing gurus.
We are all Mother to our children, in the symbolic sense. To our creations. You can replace Mother with Father, or any other word; I don’t care. I am Mother to my creations and, sure, the parts that I can share, I might share. Especially the end result, I will share. Everything that is born gets sent out to the wider world. I have stopped a long time ago trying to ground them inside me. Trapping things inside isn’t ideal for me or the other children.
See, I mentioned in episode 22 that I may use the child analogy when people are really insensitive to the relationship between the creator and their creations, and this is such a case—when I see so-called self-proclaimed marketers who absolutely cannot create anything except more marketing, because they have nothing to market except marketing itself— normalize the act of dissecting and tearing and displaying the innards of artists. Yeah, I think this is a case where I want to use that dramatic symbolic analogy of Mother and womb and children and whatnot.
Moreover, sharing our processes also takes more energy than these marketers claim. The act of sharing the process becomes a project of its own.
Even a study-with-me channel, which looks like it isn’t a lot of work, is a lot of work. It is a project of its own. The ones that are actually the sharing of the process have channel owners who study for 16 hours a day, because they actually are students. Either that, or they’re very aesthetically-pleasing compilations of images and music. So, in that case, no, this isn’t purely their process. They have made the study-with-me channel its own project.
I guess I could do a Twitch stream of me sitting there and typing away. I have heard that it is a thing now, on Twitch, just like it has been a thing now, on Youtube. All the “Study with me” channels, you know? But also, studying with breaks in-between, for chats.
I have also seen some interesting cases where people will “meet,” in air quotes, on Twitch or on Youtube or some other live platform, and they will watch a movie “together,” in air quotes. They will all agree upon a time to press “start” of a movie, and they will watch a movie together. The streamer will occasionally make verbal comments, and everyone else in the chats reacts to the movie as well as the streamer.
It is fascinating stuff, folks. It’s a fascinating world. Apparently, the thing that humans love is the reaction of other humans. That’s why reaction videos are such a huge category on Youtube. And I guess, Sponge could be seen as a reaction podcast. Humans are fascinated by other humans reacting to things, and I am fascinated by that.
And you know what’s the strangest thing that gets streamed these days, but also, kinda doable? People sleeping.
Yes. People stream themselves while they sleep, in a very chaste, not-sexual-at-all way, so that other people can watch them while they sleep. Or not watch them, and kinda sleep with them, virtually. Again, in a very chaste, not-sexual-at-all way. I find this… adorable, in a way. I mean, if people feel a connection by watching someone else sleep, and the person who is sleeping absolutely does not lose sleep because someone is watching them, then… it’s a win-win scenario. It’s splendid. Who knows, maybe some of these streamers even make money through their streams. I don’t know. But talk about making money while you sleep. This is as literal as it gets.
Yeah, there are many ways to use social media and algorithms constructively. But for now, I need to cleanse myself first from the bullshittery that I’ve allowed myself to be fed by the marketing gurus. So, I will give Sponge more love. Actual Sponge, not tangential Sponge through marketing and whatnot. Sponge deserves that.
And in doing so, I hope I can add more love to the lives of all my Thursday’s children, you guys. We’re all Thursday’s children now. I hope no one gets caught in the death spiral of marketing research, the way I did.
Maybe one day there will be a suitable marketing channel for Sponge. I want us to be able to sit in silence and think. I don’t want the busy movement of infinite scrolling, no. That is the opposite of what I want.
This idea of sitting in silence, digitally, is really tricky. That is one of the reasons why the digital world overflows with noise. It’s because non-noise, or absence, is difficult to convey in the digital world. Non-noise or absence is just zero, not one, in the binary scheme of things. So we only see one one one one one one. And all the zeros are hidden, or might as well not exist. But absence, in the physical world, ironically, exists. Silence exists. Sometimes it is so tangible that you can feel it pressing down on you. Silence can get heavy.
Very tangentially, this is actually one of the aspects that could make a metaverse interesting. Or a holographic universe, whatever. Say, if I could mimic my study. And maybe, ten of you could sit in my study on this virtual couch. And we could sit in our own physical spaces, but it will be like, virtually, we’re drinking coffee together? And we could mimic the silence of the physical world?
That would be cool. But, by this, I mean metaverse without the stupid Meta characters. Very unappealing characters, those characters from Facebook’s Meta. I mean we could sit together as us, instead of as characters, only, virtually. You never know. It might happen in the future.
For now, no amount of information does any good, if not acted upon, and the best way to act upon anything is to form a steady, healthy, and supportive long-term relationship. So, we will enter a steady, healthy, and supportive every-other Thursday relationship via the standard podcast format of the year 2023. I hope this relationship will be fruitful for everyone involved.
And that is all for this episode. Thank you for listening.
If you liked this episode of Sponge, please share it with a human, so that we can spread the love of long-form content in this world of unnecessary incessant hyper-activity.
You can find a link to the full transcript in the show notes. Also, visit ithakaonmymind.com to find out more about everything else I do, besides Sponge.
Stay true, everybody.
- Burnout Society (Müdigkeitsgesellschaft)
- Monday’s Child
- The meaning of Thursday’s child
- Decision to Leave (헤어질 결심)
- Midnight Escape (Peter Spacey Remix) – Peter Spacey, Ziv Moran
- The Circus of Flies – Francesco D’andrea
- Skeleton BBQ – Ziv Moran
- Pizzi Waltz – Kadir Demir
- For the Broken Hearted – Yehezkel Raz
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© 2023 Ithaka O.