When you have nothing to say

It’s okay to say nothing.

I write when I feel I have something to say, something important hopefully. Inspiration comes through living: A quote from a book, a long bike ride, watching a child play. As a thought arises, I try to focus on it, contemplate it, and when the time is right, I write about it.

I don’t always have something to say. Sometimes it’s because I am not living enough; not enough input to inspire output. These past couple of weeks however, despite many hours spent offline, biking, playing, soaking up the sun, I simply couldn’t think of something important I wanted say. What I thought I could share, I felt I have already said.

What if I didn’t have anything to say?

If there is one thing plentiful on the internet, it is content.

There are 4.66 billion active internet users around the world, and every 60 seconds, 500 hours of content are upload to YouTube, 21.1 million texts get sent, 200,000 people tweet, and 695,000 Instagram Stories are shared.

Content is the bread and butter of the digital space. Without picture and video, what is Instagram? Without words, what is a Twitter? What is a YouTube without YouTubers?

Before “Instagram Influencer” and “Content Creator” were official job descriptions, the internet was a place for makeup tutorials in badly-lit bedrooms. Somewhere along the line, someone figured out how to make money advertising products directly to their followers, and upgraded from badly-lit bedroom tutorials to the best lighting and camera money can buy. The rest, as they say, is history.

For online content, the more, the merrier. Social media is especially designed to keep its users sharing. What is on your mind? We are all content creators. The more content we share, the more content there is, the more likely we are to stay scrolling, the more money Instagram makes. With low-barrier to access, it is easier than ever to share content online.

Content is king. Content is plenty. We are all drunk on content.

So what you don’t have something to say?

Since there is no shortage of content online, when you don’t have something to say, it is okay to say nothing. For the times when you have got something to say, I encourage you to go through The So What? Test:

  • Is it useful?
  • Is it interesting?
  • Is it entertaining?
  • Is it something I would be comfortable with my boss or my mother seeing?

The act of sharing is one of generosity—you’re putting something out there because you think it might be helpful or entertaining to someone on the other side of the screen,” as Austin Kleon put it. If it is not neither useful, nor interesting, or even entertaining, then it’s okay to not share at all.

The So What? Test

Until next time,

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