Democratized gatekeeping

“When I started, I couldn’t beg a fashion writer to write about my project. But with Instagram, I took an open-source tool and made it my magazine. I once said to Kevin [Systrom, Instagram co-founder], ‘You made it possible for me to have a fashion brand without using the traditional system.’” Virgil Abloh’s words, via GQ

That’s effectively the promise of the social internet, including and not limited to social media; you can connect with people, without traditional gatekeepers—like publicists, editors, writers—that used to control the flow of attention.

It’s not that gatekeepers aren’t people; rather, now every person is a gatekeeper. They hold a chance to share your work with their people.

So rather than begging a writer, you can effectively build relationships with people who want to follow your work (i.e., fans), as well as people who already have others following their work (i.e., influencers). 

You can do this because you have something to offer, too! 

At the very least, you are also a gatekeeper. Maybe you share similar fandoms, values, or worldviews. Maybe your skills complement each other and you can work together to make new work. 

None of those assets would have mattered to the traditional gatekeepers; they matter a lot now.

(Just make sure that you can connect with them away from social media as well.)

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