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    The sea of ever-increasing noise

    By Kieran Drew

    Yesterday, I opened my 𝕏 account. The timeline was filled with people saying I should post more. I flicked to Gmail. More people telling me daily emails are the secret to success. I checked out LinkedIn. Everyone’s posting the same content because ‘that’s what's working right now’.

    On YouTube, 3.7 million videos are uploaded daily — around 271,000 hours of new content. I’m sure TikTok and Instagram are equally flooded.

    And yet few people are discussing the looming problem of too much information.

    Today, you and I will.

    The sea of ever-increasing noise

    The first record of written advertisement is a 5000-year-old papyrus from Ancient Egypt.

    Modern advertising began with the birth of newspapers in the 17th century. TV advertising started in the 1950s. The first smartphone was built in 1994, and today, make up almost 90% of mobiles, with an average daily screen time of 4 and a half hours.

    Attention has always been valuable. But the vehicle for catching it has catapulted from a rickety bike to a flying Ferrari in the blink of an eye — and everyone has keys to the car.

    This means two problems.

    First, it might be easier to gain attention, but we don’t have more to give. There’re only so many hours in the day.

    Second, because self-promotion is free, there’s no filter on what we do to earn it. You wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on an advert only to post pictures of duckfaces or cat memes or broadcast '10 films that will (almost certainly not) change your life’.

    The internet should’ve been a haven of high-quality information.

    Instead, it’s a swelling sea of ever-increasing noise — and if we don’t change our approach, we’ll up drowning.

    Drowning in content

    The paradox of choice is that more availability leads to fewer decisions.

    I noticed this a year ago. I had greedily subscribed to 20 podcasts and 50 email newsletters, but gradually, I stopped consuming all but a few. This wasn’t intentional. It happened because I was suffering from information overwhelm — I’d rather learn where I know people will deliver.

    Many friends have reported the same effect.

    The internet’s a banquet where you can feast on every meal imaginable, except 97% of the choices are fast food. You might enjoy a pizza or two, but once you find the Michelin-star restaurants, you stop going for the crap.

    This means that if you get sucked into the superficial content trap — ticking boxes instead of creating quality — you will spend your life churning through an audience instead of building a powerful platform for your ideas and business.

    The call for quality

    Quality isn’t about the length of content but the depth of thought behind it.

    ChatGPT can churn out a 3,000-word essay in 30 seconds—you can’t compete at that game—but if you spend 30 minutes compressing one idea, you’ll make a bigger splash.

    I’m still early in my writing journey, but there’re three changes I’m making this year. Hopefully you might join me:

    1) Do less but better

    We live in a culture of saying yes to everything, but to do great work, you must say no.

    If you’ve read Essentialism, you understand the harm of spreading too thin. You can’t spin 100 plates if you want to rise to the top of your craft. It’s about doing a few things well.

    The key is to test for signal, then shake off the shackles of what you don’t enjoy.

    For example, at the start of 2023, I was coaching, consulting, leading a group cohort, posting three weekly threads, writing a newsletter, affiliating, and running ads — it was chaos, and I was stuck at $10k/month.

    But then I focused on doing three things well:

    • My newsletter
    • Social content
    • Building products

    My income plummeted by 80%, but I had space to learn, think, and put more care into my craft. 3 months later, my growth catapulted because I could execute the fundamentals better.

    By the end of 2024, I plan on just writing. It’s a terrifying idea, but you have to have faith in the power of focus.

    Here’s another painfully acquired lesson.

    2) Build something timeless

    Recently, I’ve been considering a brand overhaul and a new website. During the initial meeting, the expert explained he would transfer my content carefully to avoid ruining the SEO.

    I told him I didn’t care because most of my stuff doesn’t reflect where I’m taking my business.

    How stupid is that my friend?

    I’ve spent three years creating content with a three-month shelf life. I’ve learned a lot in the process, but the point in writing is to build a body of work that represents you for decades, not just days (I said no to the developer, you can’t polish a turd).

    A great example of how to build is James Clear.

    He only has to spend several hours a week writing his newsletter, but his business growth is insane because his blog and book are timeless assets. This is by design:

    If you want to be timeless, you must focus on evergreen topics. This is difficult because social media will have you chasing current topics and trends. You might even slow down as a result. But it's better to be the tortoise than the hare trapped on the treadmill.

    The third and final point is the most important — and most difficult.

    3) Create something unique

    If content isn’t novel, it’s noise.

    I’m still figuring this out myself — you don’t wake up one day and decide to be unique. I’ll give you two tips based on what I’m working on right now.

    1. Lean into personal perspective

    Everything’s been said before, but not by you.

    Even if your content is about someone else, pepper it with your point of view. A great example is David Senra of Founders. I love hearing entrepreneur stories, but I’m delighted when he gives his opinion on how to apply the advice.

    2. Find what’s missing

    As a beginner creative, finding a gap in the market is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

    But as your skill catches up with your taste, you’ll begin wondering, ‘why doesn’t XYZ exist?’. Pay attention. Some ideas will be false starts, but if you build something you wish existed, other people will love it too.

    What do I think is missing?

    Well, I have to keep a few things secret, right?

    But I’ve got a few ideas cooking. Which leads us to a point to wrap this up:

    Quality is tough (but that’s why it’s worth doing)

    It’s hard to play a different game to the crowd, especially one that feels risky.

    Quality means spending more time learning and thinking. It means committing to a craft and ignoring short-term trends and tactics. This is much harder now than at any point in history because we’re constantly connected, and there are endless opportunities for shiny objects to chase.

    But to steal a quote from John Kennedy, you don’t go to the moon because it’s easy, but because it’s hard. Few people care about quality, which is precisely why you should.

    Shine like a lighthouse in the sea of noise.

    💡
    Writing online to grow your business? Two ways I can help:

    1.⁠ ⁠Get a step-by-step blueprint for attracting an engaged audience with High Impact Writing

    2.⁠ ⁠⁠Join a weekly masterclass and get 5 content ideas delivered to your inbox every Thursday

    Kieran Drew

    About Kieran

    Ex dentist, current writer, future Onlyfans star · Sharing what I learn about writing well, thinking clearly, and building an online business