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My Personal Relationship with Content

Last year, I went to Abu Dhabi and like every tourist the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was a must visit. I knew that it was going to crowded so I got up early and made sure I’d be first in line when it opened. (I was – entrance doors were still locked). I’m not sure how long I stayed but between my iPhone and DSLR I took about 100 photos. Of those 100 photos, I posted two on Instagram. The light was okay, clouds gave it a different background but I wasn’t totally happy with the photos. So, I went back twice – once for golden hour, dusk and night and another time to retake photos because I didn’t like the composition of earlier ones. Over three different visits, I took at least 400 photos. I posted five more photos of the mosque to social media for a total of 7.

I still have the 400 photos. I think I took 1000 photos during my stay in Abu Dhabi. I posted three photos of other sites – the presidential palace, a selfie with me and a camel and a scenic shot of the Louvre. I still have the 1000 photos from my trip.  So yes, I am a content hoarder. The 20-30 best photos are in folders on different devices. The rest are somewhere on the cloud. And at this point, I don’t have time to delete anything unless my computer tells me to free up space. 

7 photos posted, 7-day trip, 1000+ taken.  And really only two of them I think are great. But for me, that’s about right. I only post high quality images and I don’t want my audience (family, friends, followers) to have to sift through pretty good to see great. On Instagram, I think I know a quarter of my followers. When I post scenic images and caption and hashtag with thought, I get a lot of interest. I’ve kept with that strategy for a few years. 

That all changed in March 2020 with COVID. No one cared about my scenic photos from various local hikes. And I am the asshole that either deletes or archives photos that don’t get likes. If I did get likes, it was from people I knew. So, my strategy changed and posted more of me – with a story attached. This time the quality of the photos wasn’t great but the image and story were authentic. I also asked myself what content brings value and interest. What is my brand? What do I want people to know about me? I am a two-time cancer survivor, stroke survivor and have battled depression. My story is that I don’t give up and I keep climbing but it’s a struggle and it’s important to be vulnerable.

Other platforms? I cultivate and craft my LinkedIn page to highlight the content I produced at work. Facebook – I log on every four months, post four photos and leave. Twitter is a reflection of my work and the brands (NGO – Special Olympics, V Foundation) that I am passionate about and volunteer with. 

How many photos are on my phone? 13 months – 33k. I look around my house – I hoard books too. I have a book shelf with about 20 of my favorite titles. The rest are in large bins in the basement. Physical content from work? I had an entire storage locker with papers, tapes (I work for ESPN), documents. It was about 20+ years of content crap. When I thought I was going to get a job in DC, I started throwing things out. When I didn’t get the job, I was angry and spent a few days getting rid of everything. 

My work though I arrange content by folders and sub-folders. I spend at least an hour a week organizing content and deleting content I don’t need anymore. I also backup my computer often. I am a feature producer at ESPN and I generate a ton of content for projects. I have to be organized especially during edit. All of my work is stored on hard drives and I have about 50 drives – nothing has been deleted. I never know when I will need scenic of Cameron Indoor Stadium. The shoot was in 2014, the drive is in a box in the closet. 

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