Not in the billboard business


Neither as a billboard owner nor as a billboard.

There is marvelous freedom in this, because one needn’t succumb to the whims of “the masses.”

Or more like, “people who drive past at great speed, not paying attention to the billboards anyway,” unless they happen to be trapped in a jam, and at that point they would be willing to be distracted by anything.

So there is no pride in having gotten their attention. If those drivers could help it, they would consume anything but the billboards. Only when they can’t help it do they consume billboards.

The less time people are required to spend wasting on the road, the less likely a billboard business or any individual billboard is to succeed.

This is basically the Tiktok model. Have people scroll through at maximum speed out of sheer boredom and hope that a lot of people see you, which they do–there is certainly traffic in Tiktokworld.

But what is the point?

Someone gets a million views, so what?

So they will wear clothes made by their sponsor and drink beverages by their sponsor and dance to whichever tune that will get more views… and so what?

How many of the viewers are willing to take detours to another road (by moving to a different platform) in order to see a particular Tiktoker?

I am guessing that some Tiktokers will build sustainable businesses, bc the sheer size of the Tiktok pool is immense. Through sheer probability, many people will become true supporters of the Tiktoker.

But I don’t think such cases will be numerous. Drivers who want to rush past as fast as possible aren’t the ideal candidates for forming a bonds with. And drivers who need other drivers’ attention as “social proof” don’t stick around when there aren’t others to be “the masses” with.

The scariest part isn’t the lack of money. (Using Tiktok for pure fun without money motivations is a possibility.) It’s that once you’re a billboard of significant enough stature, you cannot say everything you want to say.

Even when one runs a Tiktok account for “pure fun,” I haven’t seen or heard of many cases where people with millions of followers are able to easily give up those numbers in order to say what they want to say.

Too often they put up an apology video when they realize that their lifestyle “offends” enough of their subscribers for them to unsubscribe.

Also often, it seems they forget that there was a past when they used to be people, not billboards. People, who had something of their own to say, instead of deciding what to say based on what gets the most likes and views. And because they have forgotten, it seems they don’t even feel the need to be anything other than what the majority expects them to be.

Some people return from such an oblivions, others don’t. They remain billboards for the billboard business owner.

One day, the traffic on that road will dwindle. Such a day always comes. I sometimes wonder what happens to the billboards afterward.

Do some of them get to pick a different road where they can distract drivers?

But where would the billboard stand, without the platform?