Home PodcastBlog Navigating Kitsch in Digital Reality
Navigating Kitsch in Digital Reality

Navigating Kitsch in Digital Reality

May 9, 2024

On your way to self actualization and achieving enlightenment, you’re going to find a lot of kitsch. It’s ok. Take a deep breath. It happens. It may even happen when you’re just being a regular human. So…what is kitsch and how do you avoid it? Kitsch is art, or rather…wannabe art. Kitsch is content that lacks context. Kitsch is often seen as art’s less profound cousin, and it happens alongside mass production and fast consumption. How do you keep your content meaningful amidst the kitsch clutter?

What is Kitsch? 

Let’s start with the definition thing. According to ChatGPT, kitsch refers to art or objects that appeal to uncritical taste, often characterized by gaudy qualities rather than artistic merit. Kitsch originates from the German word “kitschen,” which means to cheaply throw together; the term has evolved to describe items that are devoid of any genuine cultural or aesthetic value.

Kitsch is often mass-produced, and it embraces cliches rather than original thought. It frequently mimics revered art forms but lacks the depth and purpose, offering instead superficial pleasure without challenging the viewer intellectually or emotionally. Kitsch is prevalent in various forms of media, especially those created for the mainstream.

Understanding Kitsch in the Digital Realm

Kitsch in the context of content creation refers to materials that might appear catchy but lack genuine value. This type of content is typically shared without thought; it contributes to the white noise of the internet. In the realm of digital content, this translates to creations aimed for immediate emotional response rather than lasting impact.

Walter Benjamin famously criticized kitsch for providing “instantaneous emotional gratification without intellectual effort,” highlighting its nature to appease rather than challenge or enrich the mind. This surface-level engagement is what Douglas Rushkoff calls “Present Shock,” and it describes a cultural overwhelm, where everything happens now. It muddles our capacity to reflect and respond mindfully (I interview Douglas on my podcast here).

Elevate Your Content Beyond the Clutter

To rise above digital kitsch, content creators must embrace thoughtfulness and depth:

  1. Mindful Sharing: Aim to share content that offers insightful reflections, not just reactionary fluff. In an era where everyone can broadcast their thoughts, the choice of what to share becomes crucial.
  2. Thematic Curation: Stick to curated themes that resonate with your brand and values. In the Aquarian age, there is an enhanced connection between thought and manifestation. This means that the power of gratitude can become pivotal in shaping our realities. Sharing what you’re grateful for can consciously create your future and redirect your energy.
    For example, last week, I was momentarily feeling unsupported. But then I received flowers from a friend – and so I shared a photo of the beautiful bouquet. This practice of gratitude not only helps redirect our energy towards positivity but also aligns our emotional landscapes with the vibrations of fulfillment. Expressing gratitude through our content is not merely about acknowledging the good in our lives; it consciously creates and magnetizes more of what we cherish into our experience.
  3. Quality Over Quantity: Invest time and resources in creating high-quality content that educates, entertains, and informs. Quality content is like carefully tended gardens; it requires patience and persistence – and an eye for detail.
  4. Embrace Silence: Remember, sometimes the most powerful statement is made in what you choose not to share. Like pauses in music that enhance the melody, silence in content creation can amplify the impact of what you do share.
  5. Resist Oblivion: Milan Kundera once remarked that kitsch is the stopover between Being and oblivion. To avoid this cultural limbo, strive for content that is meaningful. Push beyond the “easy.”

The push against kitsch is not just about avoiding bad content; it’s about advocating for a more introspective digital experience that values beauty and depth. Go beyond the sea of digital sameness, and enhance the collective digital landscape.

Learn more about hiring me for your branding, messaging and communications strategy here.