tiktok: Internet is an extension of the real world: Burned out content creators

Content creators are suffering from overwork, stress and exhaustion as they attempt to keep their followers entertained and keep up with the social media algorithms. Last year, more than one international content creator gave up on social media because of burnout. Famous YouTubers Jenna Marbles and Ingrid Nilsen stepped away from their Youtube channels stating mental health reasons. In March last year, Charli D’Amelio, the most famous TikTok star with millions of followers on social media, said that she had ‘lost the passion’ for posting content. Another international content creator Spencewuah, with nearly 10 million followers, announced he is stepping back from the platform.

‘Work-life balance is a myth’

“I’ve always believed that at a given moment, mastering the art of balancing your personal and professional life is a MYTH and the pandemic has just strengthened this belief for me,” says Masoom Minawala, a popular Indian fashion content creator. She shares that the initial stage of the pandemic was stressful since more and more people were consuming social media. “During that time I prioritized my profession and worked twice as much as I usually would. I’m not going to lie, initially, it was tough to constantly curate back-to-back content and find a quiet corner in a full-house ,” share Masoom. But Masoom decided to give herself the required breaks. Though she did not get off social media, every now and then when she felt over-worked, she took short breaks before coming back to creating content.

Vibely, which is a global creator community platform recently shared that 90 percent of creators had experienced burnout, and 71 percent said it had made them consider quitting content production altogether.

‘Keeping up with the algorithm is stressful’

When you start monetizing your content a lot of aspects like insights, views, etc. come into play. According to Vibely, 65 percent of creators said that one of their top stressors is changing to platforms’ algorithms. While creating content might be a fulfilling process but the work that goes behind making it viral is a stressful task that can bring in a lot of stress. “Things that exhaust me are checking insights, engaging with the followers, constantly scrolling for feedback, comparing growth with others. Creating is therapeutic for me but contrary to popular belief it’s just a tiny part of a content creator’s life, the majority of the time is spent doing things I mentioned earlier which results in burnout because your mobile is your office, you’re never off the job,” says Aanchal Agrawal, an Indian digital content creator and stand up comedian. Keeping up with algorithms affected Aanchal’s well being. ” I used to be so exhausted with all this initially. Then I set a rule of taking breaks. I started logging off all platforms and put a time limit of 45 minutes every time I felt saturated. for when I come back. Now, I am in a very healthy place mentally, I create when I feel like it and I play my own game, it’s liberating,” expresses Aanchal.

‘A lot of work goes behind the 30 seconds video’

There are multiple aspects that content creators have to look into before posting a video or content that social media users see on their feeds every now and then. Brainstorming, ideation, targets, deadlines, etc. requires a lot of time and energy. Content curation is no longer a one-man show, there are designated teams that handle different aspects of content creation and what we see is just the final product. “Capturing impactful, hard-hitting content within 30 seconds is definitely not as easy as it looks. It needs a crisp script and a whole lot of planning and brainstorming in real life before it becomes a reel,” says Masoom.

“If the past two years have taught us anything it’s that there’s nothing more important than your health, and when I feel guilty of taking a break I remind myself how I was feeling when I took the break and it makes sense,” says Aanchal

‘Internet is an extension of the real world’

Roberto Blake, a popular Youtuber made a video about creator burnout, in which he pointed out some of the important factors that are affecting the mental well-being of the creator community. He points out that the community is dealing with the crisis of mental health, burnout and toxicity. “The world itself seems to be coming apart at the seams and the internet is not separate from that, it’s an extension of the real world. We are all real people on the internet. Whatever happens in the world impacts and affects us. And whatever happens on the internet adds to it, so at some point, people break, which happens because of chronic stress,” says Roberto in his video.

According to the International Journal of Stress and Management, burnout is defined as a ‘job-induced syndrome combining emotional exhaustion, depersonalization/cynicism, and a sense of reduced personal accomplishment’.


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