124 Comments
Jun 30, 2022Liked by Gurwinder

New Gurwinder-post days are my favorite days. Truth bombs for all!

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Jun 30, 2022Liked by Gurwinder

As usual, you knocked another one out of the park with this wonderfully insightful and illuminating piece. Would you liken this to imposter syndrome, in that you begin to imagine yourself as someone you're not in order to keep up appearances?

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Sure, audience capture leads to all the main symptoms of imposter syndrome. Well spotted!

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Please expand on this. It seems as though imposter syndrome functions quite differently in the sense that it's fuelled by doubt rather than certitude i.e Imposter syndrome results from a divergence between our imagined identity and the way we're perceived, while audience capture results from the convergence of our identity and the way we're perceived.

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I don't believe imposter syndrome is a specific condition—certainly it's not recognized as such in the DSM. It seems to me that imposter syndrome is the name given to a common set of experiences that people report, a loose grouping of symptoms that people may feel for different reasons, audience capture being but one of them.

The core similarity I see between audience capture and imposter syndrome is that they both involve feelings of inadequacy due to the perception that one is not living up to the expectations of others. In this sense I believe that both audience capture and imposter syndrome are fuelled mostly by doubt.

They also fuel each other. When one becomes audience captured, they're pressured to live up to other people's ideals of them, and if they fail, they may begin to feel like an imposter.

Conversely, if one begins to feel like an imposter, a possible solution is to end the doubt by becoming more like the person your audience wants you to be...

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Jul 1, 2022·edited Jul 1, 2022Liked by Gurwinder

Very interesting. There are probably several paths to AC, the one you've highlighted stems from feelings of inadequacy, and there the overlap with IS is clear, but I think there's a path from the other end of the self-esteem spectrum.

Individuals prone to narcissistic personality disorder (which itself could emerge from feelings of inadequacy) may be prone to AC because the internet enables them to build a cohesive identity - I suspect this underpins the correlation between contrarianism and AC. Until such a person develops an online community that reinforces their sense of self, they experience significant cognitive dissonance due the mismatch between their identity and their status.

It is ultimately far more comfortable to think the world broken than to examine all the ways in which one may be horribly mistaken.

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Do you think the narcissist personality types is increasing over time, increasing percentage wise? or those people who are more inclined have always been that way & it’s just talked about a lot more now?

I do believe that I am less prone to narcissism because I had such low self esteem growing up.

Do you think those same ‘kids’ who ‘bullied’ me all through primary school (mainly it was boys, not so much girls) are those types to strongly lead to narcissism?

I don’t wish to attract these types of people they can read my trustworthiness and honesty a mile away & uhhhhh always leads to being treated like less then!

But that’s what I had for 8 years of my primary school life & so hard to change! 😩

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Damn this is so well written and hits hard.

I felt myself going down the path of being captured by a potential audience earlier this year. I was in a LinkedIn growth cohort and was posting generic content for a few months. I started to gain followers, but I quickly noticed that I was becoming one of the multitude of LinkedIn 'influencers' who just posts the same mundane platitudes. Rarely anything of substance. Just vanilla motivational, "who's with me?", or sympathy posts that I can't stand.

So I ditched it and started posting things that were specific and important to me. My general rule of thumb is:

If it can be written by someone else and does not speak to my lived experience, then I should not post it.

That was liberating and allowed me to unknowingly protect myself from audience capture.

My audience is growing much slower now, but the people who find me really resonate with what I create and I'm getting to know them. That's the way healthy and fruitful relationships are forged.

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Jun 19, 2023·edited Jun 19, 2023

Ah! Keith! So great. I was looking for an example of someone who could let go of the socialized mind that drives the dynamic in the OP.

This dynamic is not nearly as problematic for adults who have developed a self authoring mind. These adults, choose their own values and can stand firm in them in the face of demands otherwise.

Sounds like you have arrived there. Well done.

This is why I teach and coach leadership. A world run by people functioning from socialized mind is a mess. We need leaders who can choose and hold values and a vision of the future despite calls to degrade those visions and values.

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Absolutely! It's not always easy to listen to your values. So many voices are telling us what to think!

That's why I recommend the people I talk to spend a good amount of time thinking about who they want to be and what is important to them before they step out and start creating.

It can save a lot of pain and frustration in the long run.

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Aug 5, 2022Liked by Gurwinder

Excellent article, and what a grim fate that has overtaken Nikocado. But -- I want to point out that this kind of projection is common and pervades our everyday reality. What woman hasn't heard, "you need to smile more" or "talk nice" or "get your hair cut" or any of the innocuous little directions we might receive from our romantic partners or our work colleagues? And what about people who are not from the dominant white society? Aren't they required to put on masks in order to pass?

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Well then, ffs...where does it end? Sound & fury, signifying nothing?

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Jul 1, 2022Liked by Gurwinder

Dude, love your writing and your willingness to discuss things that uniquely interest you and then allow us to resonate with it or not.

The idea of building a personal brand has always felt a bit off for the points you mentioned. It’s always seemed a bit strange to find a specific niche within our personal/creative lives, as being human is inherently a process of discovery and experimentation.

Also, the ending to this essay reminded me of a chapter in Ryan Holiday’s book, Ego is the Enemy, in which he tells the story of a military trainer speaking with “high potential” cadets and encourages them to decide whether they want to be someone or do something.

Becoming someone is the path laid out that is the least in our control because as you mention, the path of becoming someone is dependent on who the people around us want us to become.

So although the external rewards may not come to those who aren’t the type of person others want, the risk of losing ourselves should be enough to persuade most of us to chose the path of doing something.

Love what you’re doing man, keep it up!

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Brilliant post and terrifying examples. The Nikocado before & after pictures left my jaw on the floor. What a devil's bargain...

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Jun 30, 2022·edited Jun 30, 2022Liked by Gurwinder

I dont know why but I remembered my time at school. I had classmates who asked me to stay with them because I was "fun" (according to them). I naively thought that I was someone great, but the truth is that I had physical and movement defects (I was a ridiculous guy by nature), so those classmates had created a mocking figure about me that entertained them.

When I tried to see the reality, they treated me cool, they wanted me not to notice, because if I realized that I actually funny people because of my deffects then I would feel ashamed and try to change, then I would stop be ridiculous and it would no longer be their entertainment.

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Jun 30, 2022Liked by Gurwinder

Loved this. It makes me realize why some people I follow online have evolved in certain ways. Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity for starters.

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Hi Melanie, I thought of Chris Martenson too!- I often wonder what effect punching out so much content every week because you have to for your audience does to someone. What direction do you think he took? For better or worse. I think he’s been good at chasing the data and asking questions and in my experience is always ahead of the rest of the media by weeks or months ( supply chain issues anyone?) but I do wonder if the finite oil story does sort of limit a person or society- Like Paul Zane pilzers counter argument would be that the scarcity will drive an innovation In energy markets because of the necessity and incentives to do so will come into being- which sort of checks out historically, I mean the club of Rome is consistently wrong in their predictions around energy and population declines (well at least twice)- and wrong by a lot too. Anyway- you must have had similar thoughts too just thought I’d chime in

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Hi T Hom, I'm afraid I don't have a strong view either way on the energy debate. I'm certainly rooting for alternative energy to take off, but am reading Vaclav Smil now and am biased to think it won't happen in a meaningful way anytime soon. I was thinking more of Chris M. backing himself into a corner on the data on vaccines - so much so that I got tired of the same arguments. I tried to engage him online, but with no success. So I stopped subscribing. He probably has enough revenue coming in from his hard-core anti-vaxx supporters anyway. Of course I am grateful for his early breaking news on Covid and warnings on energy shortages. Is he saying much interesting new stuff these days?

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Audience capture has a commonality with what many people call "mission drift", or "a confusing or inauthentic shift from one's initial focus". Perhaps it's the same thing. I see it especially in the way gay and lesbian advocacy groups basically abandoned the "LGB" cohort of their very reason for forming to embrace transgenderism and "queer identity" as their priority. But they use the identifier "LGBTQ+" to give the appearance that these cohorts are one big, happy family without conflict. Organizations like Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, even PFLAG, now openly pursue the trans/queer agenda in the face of vivid and disturbing conflicts with gays and lesbians. For example, GLADD, once known under the name of "Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation" disavowed their original name, opting for a simple pronunciation of the initials as "glad" but without the baggage of gays and lesbians or, it seems, anti-defamation. Their media guide on their web site declares the word "homosexual" as offensive and out dated and they teamed with word-processing app provider Grammarly to prompt users of the software who type "homosexual" to avoid its use because of its alleged offensive nature. That seems like open defamation and homophobia to deem a scientific term used by millions of homosexuals worldwide as "offensive". I promptly added "homo" to my Twitter profile in reaction to that. I really don't want to be dragged into defending what GLADD does any more since my entire homosexual community was essentially cancelled by them. They've gone off into absurdity territory.

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Scroll to literally any comment section and there is some dude attacking trans people. The internet sucks.

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I would only quibble that the context of my criticism is aimed at advocacy organizations, not trans people. In case you are concerned that I did not accurately report what GLADD has done with "homosexual" I provide for you a link to their web site where the media guide entries for "gay", "lesbian", and 'homosexual" will provide the insight I described on GLAAD's philosophy concerning 'homosexual'. Also note that "homosexual" has a companion term "heterosexual" listed on this media guide which, curiously, is not regarded by GLAAD as offensive even while it was coined by the same person who coined homosexual over 160 years ago. I appreciate your comment.

https://www.glaad.org/reference/terms

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Find a different hobby than complaining that GLAAD isn't defending straight people. There's a whole globe filled with real problems that need work.

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Scroll to literally any comment section and there is some dude deliberately misunderstanding someone’s comment in order to scold them for some modern sin.

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Whew what??

TBH I don’t know how you have linked this to the well written audience capture post but WOWWEEEEEE! Gee whiz! R u serious?

The term ‘homosexual’ is deemed offensive by writing software? How? lol. Who says? So like millions of books published by thousands of bestselling writers over time who have used term ‘homosexual’, & thousands of movies newspaper articles etc Were not PC?

I grew up believing it was a normal term to describe (mostly) gay men. And that’s probably cuz it’s a companion word to ‘heterosexual’, as u pointed out.

Look I did a teaching/education bachelor degree & used the free version of grammarly here & there, but I never needed to write that word (don’t need to comment on young children’s sexual preferences in my unit/lesson plans!). Ob it dosent affect me personally but I say NO! We won’t stand for it.

Same with the changing acronym of the LGB stuff. Can’t keep fkn adding more & more it’s too confusing!

As a kid it was ‘les, gay or bi’, & that’s ok. It includes every single one. And that was even confusing! So many of my female friends seemed to class themselves as ‘bi’ and I was like ‘well I don’t like women that way. Why don’t I? Why can’t I be bisexual?’ But I just liked men that way even though I loved female company a lot more! Never like that.

Also there seemed to be either gay men or straight men, no in between.

Now in last decade or so they added more & what its just BS if u ask me that if u don’t put the whole acronym on ya poster/signage then ur bullied & threatened & boycotted against ALL OVER SOME EXTRA LETTERS & the addition symbol?

As an adult it’s too confusing, most of our workplace & Uni stuff uses acronyms to help u remember methods/strategies/terms etc so yes yes completely absurd!!!!

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Good read, very thought-provoking. Thank you 💚 🥃

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It's one of the scariest things I've read lately, to be honest.

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One thing that goes unmentioned here is that an internet "audience" of any sort isn't necessarily real; because no "Social Proof" online can be trusted anymore. Bots, burners, influence ops, and the like are in every corner they want to be in, and can artificially swell audience numbers for their own transitory purposes.

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Aha! Yes! Essentially wiping out human existence online for real.

The average YouTuber viewer (me), who just watches & listens to content of interest & gets swept up reading the comments by all the other viewers but barely comments themself is unbeknownst to the reals & the fakes.

And don’t get me started on X. Barely I go on there as it’s such a comment driven space! that’s why I like you tube ppl just say things can’t link much or post a meme pic/gif and u don’t go off tangents like X. So I avoid X it drains wayyyy to much time!

So yeah how can I tell the difference between real hoomans on X & insta & stuff and computer AI programs?

Cybernet 2.0! whoever made up the story of terminator was honestly predicting truth of future! I feel it will be more bots/burners/non sentient programs will wipe us out online. Won’t know whether it’s a real person debating you or not! WTF!

How to we stop it? lol. So blind blowing. And scary. And will continue to increase IMO not decrease with the non-human interactions.

We will be literally having relationships with computer online program software! Stop it!

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Aug 10, 2022Liked by Gurwinder

Damn... speaks to my experience on YouTube and LinkedIn (as a creator) so eloquently and personally. Thank you so much for this.

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Jul 1, 2022Liked by Gurwinder

Really, really enjoyed reading this! I guess it doesn't always have to have a negative consequence in that the audience might be really interested in the person who presents their real self. Their continued support/fandom might encourage someone even more to be their authentic self! They could help a person to blossom, maybe? Or would that not be audience capture, perhaps something else?😊

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Sad but true. I've watched Maajid Nawaz go down the rabit hole the last couple of years with great disapointment. I actually unfollowed him on Twitter because he's now just a crack pot. The effect you speak of is not just something influencers experience on social media. It's how politicians re-calibrate. It's also how people re-calibrate in social circles where there's "culture" holding the thing together. Conformity to belong. Great read.

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First, I love your writing so much that I was looking forward to the new post, and it is great.

Now on biases: Human mind is so prone to biases that it can't operate without them. In that sense, biases are not bugs but the operating system. An essay could be written in favor of biases, as without them the mind would be so lost it's crazy to imagine. Biases are the anchors for the mind.

That said, the attention economy has exacerbated the biases to the extent that is not normal. As such the biases fueled by these new mechanisms have become counterproductive and harmful. Hence the need for one to check their biases is more than ever today.

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Great read and a lot similarities to playing professional sport. Gotta keep the fans happy or else.

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