‘Don’t Wait, Create’: La Jolla native’s book looks to shed light on using social media

La Jolla native Erica Barry's debut book is “Don’t Wait, Create.”
Erica Barry says she wrote her debut book, “Don’t Wait, Create,” to “unpack this whole new economy of content creation.”
(Courtesy of Erica Barry)

La Jolla native Erica Barry knows the power of social media and content creation — from a recipe going viral when she was 16 to creating channels on various platforms with more than 30,000 followers.

Barry wrote her debut book, “Don’t Wait, Create: How to be a Content Creator in the New Digital Revolution,” to help “unpack this whole new economy of content creation.”

“Don’t Wait, Create,” which was published Aug. 30 and is available wherever books are sold, is “a guide for people that want to start leveraging these platforms to make content for themselves, but also for business owners that want to use social media for marketing their business and for those who love watching things on their phone,” she said.

It features concepts such as the importance of content creation, how things have changed in the realm of social media, the history of media, how niche markets and channels came forth, interviews with content creators, and advice for those who want to improve their internet presence.

In addition to drawing from her own experience, Barry connected with professionals and experts in the field “who see this as the new frontier of entertainment.”

Rather than use a vehicle reflective of the media, such as a podcast or a YouTube channel, “I liked the idea of using the oldest form of content creation [a book] to talk about the newest forms of content creation,” Barry said. “We are living at such a pivotal point in digital media that I wanted to freeze that moment in time by creating a book.”

Having grown up in the “online generation” in La Jolla (her parents still live in the Mount Soledad neighborhood) before moving to Washington, D.C., for high school, Barry had a food blog as a teenager that included a banana bread recipe that went viral. “It got a million hits in one day,” she said. “It was surreal.”

When she went to college, she started a YouTube show and continued to build her social media presence. She now posts videos on other platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.

In writing the book, Barry took the advice she was getting from experts and applied it to her own platforms.

“One piece of advice I got was to listen to the audience … and respond to your viewers,” she said. “So let’s say you are mulling over what to post and you wait a week. You aren’t going to get anywhere. Just get out of the gate, post three videos and see what people respond to. If one does better, you can make more like that. You learn as you go.”

Barry said the value of online platforms and content creation can range from “something as serious as increasing voter turnout or as simple as a recipe.”

The internet also provides a place for people to be heard who might not otherwise have a platform, she said.

“With content creation, there are so many niche creators that the likelihood is much higher that you can find someone who you resonate with personally. The ability to put your story out there is much easier on these platforms. It’s a way that every voice can be heard.”

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