• Cheek

What the F is: Announcement culture

It's a term that fitness brand founder Grace Beverley accidentally coined when writing her book, Working Hard, Hardly Working. While the term has only been around for a short time, it's a concept we all understand.

A quick definition

Announcement culture is our ever-growing need to announce everything we're doing, therefore perpetuating our anxiety about having 'things' to announce in the first place. It refers to focussing solely, or predominately, on our 'annouceable' goals (eg. new job, graduation, moving cities, starting a media company... Oops, that one's personal), and placing focus on the quantity of announcements we make, rather than the quality.

Social media announcements

When we think of announcements, most of us will immediately think of influencers. It's become a fave of influencers to make announcements, and even announcements about announcements ("big news coming at 5pm PST!"). And as fucking annoying as those are, that's actually not what Grace is talking about. It's a lot closer to home. Uncomfortably close. We're talking about the cap and gown and 'couldn't have done this without my family!' pics. We're talking about the LinkedIn new job update feature (yes I would like to alert my network of this update). We're talking about the moments in our lives that aren't real until they've got a corresponding Instagram feed post, and preferably upwards of ten congratulatory comments.

The to do list

Announcement culture isn't only present on social media and among peers. You could be doing it for yourself as well. Grace reflects upon her own habit of writing, and subsequently ticking off, items on a to do list as 'part of the problem, saying she gets a kick out of ticking something off the list even if it's not a particularly 'useful' task. But on the flip side, there is plenty of evidence that ticking items and tasks off a list provokes a positive psychological response. Lots of experts in the field recommend breaking tasks down into smaller tasks so you can tick that little box more regularly, and hopefully feel more accomplished. Others say you should add a few things to your daily list that you've already completed, so you can immediately enjoy the thrill of ticking a few boxes or crossing out tasks. However, Grace goes on to say that, in her case, long to do lists with small and inconsequential tasks on them served as a cover up for procrastination.

It's very likely that both things can be true, and at the end of the day, it will come down to personal preferences, and how your brain works. As a Type A, slightly neurotic individual, I have a strong belief in the power of a to do list, and I do use it honestly. If you lie to your list, you're only letting yourself down after all (I am a very fun individual).

Is it really that bad?

As with many issues, the answer's probably 'it depends'. Performative and public-facing announcement culture is arguably bad for society because, by nature, it feeds into comparison and fosters poor self esteem. We all already know that posting the absolute highlights on our social media feeds isn't the best thing to do. But how much of that blame and responsibility can we normal people take when the issue is more often with celebs and influencers? Even if all of us normies stopped posting humble brags (or just straight up brags), there would still be enough content on the internet to turn a bad day into a spiral.

What's my opinion? Thanks for asking. I think it's about evaluating your actions. Why are you doing these things? Why are you low key bragging to your 307 IG followers? Are you updating your LinkedIn so future employers can see how great you are? Are you posting hot pics on the Gram because you went through a breakup and need some comment-based validation from your friends? Are you putting graduation pics up on Facebook because your cousin has deferred their Business degree four times and you finished it in three years? Are you writing a to do list so you can put it on your story? Are you writing down tasks you did yesterday so you can procrastinate more or so you can genuinely get the boost you need to complete your real tasks? Once you can answer the question of why, you can decide.

Just try not to lie to yourself, okay? ;)