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The Algorithms Have Changed
The other day, I was chatting with a buddy who has over 3 million followers on TikTok.* I asked him, “So do you spend most of your day trying to come up with new hilarious TikToks?”
“Nah,” he said. “The algorimths have removed all of the predictability. I can’t build any momentum.”
(By the way, if Al Gore didn’t invent the internet, then why are they called “Al-Gor-ithms”? Huh? Go ahead. I’m listening.)
The same is true of my wife’s Instagram account.* It grew rapidly from 0 to 200k followers in just a few years, but now reels have taken over, and Ainsley can’t bring herself to dance on video.
Last night, she literally said to me, “I won’t be caught dead pointing at words on a screen. I’ll cancel myself before I do that.”
The algorithms have changed.
For the past year, I’ve been on —what you could call— an “apology tour” quietly sharing my story with anyone who would listen.
But now that seven years have passed and I’m starting to pursue projects again, I’ve discovered that the algorithms have changed.
The world no longer works like it once did, and I’ve found myself confounded by systems that are no longer predictable.
The fear is that if I can’t figure out this strange new world I’ve re-emerged in, then my best is behind me. I’m stuck in the past. I might as well dye my sideburns, drive a Mazda Miata, and play Tears for Fears at full blast.
I’m reminded of the lyrics to this Chris Tomlin song:*
Do I have to be on YouTube? (I do)
Do I have to get on TikTok? (I do)
Do I have to dance my ass off and post another podcast? (I do)
Is anyone worthy?
Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break out on Clubhouse and become vi-ral?
If you can’t relate, you can stop reading here. (My Al Gore joke is the most you’re going to get out of this. You’re welcome.) But if I’m reading the mail right out of your mailbox, let me share a few things for the both of us:
The goal is significance, not relevance.
There are no algorithms in real relationships.
God has a vested interest in disrupting you.
You don’t get to be both stagnant AND used by God.
Things aren’t falling apart, they’re making way.
God has a plan for your life. It’s not all on you.*
Cast all your cares upon him for he cares for you.
The only influencers who endure are real friends.
The rules have changed for everyone else too.
And the rules will change again and again.
God has a way of calling us to promised lands without giving us the coordinates. It’s the journey he relishes, not the arrival.
WEEKEND IN THE WOODS
Poets, prophets, pilgrims, and priests. Artists, writers, and editors in chief. Armchair analysts and creative technologists. Right hand men and cultural apologists. Tree climbers, moonshiners, collectors of knives. Guys who date the hell out of their wives. Forward thinkers and high achievers. Future shapers and people displeasers. | Weekend in the Woods: June 3-5, 2022.