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Ask Jules: I want to be a content creator. No one in my life gets it.

(María Alconada Brooks/The Washington Post; iStock)

Hi Jules: How do you deal with friends or family who don’t understand the allure of being a content creator? I’m in the Midwest and my friend group doesn’t really participate in online culture at all — just sports and Netflix. I’m trying to become a full-time creator, and they talk to me as if I’m just trying to become famous at all costs. Is this just a part of growing up and moving onto the next chapter of my life?

— Mat

Mat: For younger generations, internet careers are embraced as a growing piece of the economy. But older generations, who use social media platforms differently, are unlikely to consider a career in this field a viable option.

With that being said, your family probably just wants what’s best for you.

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On the other hand, your friends have different interests — which is fine. Because they consume other types of media, they may not understand the countless ways in which someone can show up as a creator online. Yes, many are entertainers, but many are also educators, reporters, etc.

My question to you is, do you know what type of creator you want to be?

Just saying you want to be a YouTuber, TikToker, podcaster or whatever it may be isn’t saying much. If you cannot dig deeper and present a concrete vision of what value you want to bring to the internet, I understand why your friends and family would look at your desire as a fame grab.

If you haven’t found what makes you tick, prioritize using your time online as a way to spark curiosity and exploration to uncover it. A wide range of traditional career titles can still be applied to many creators today — whether that be artists, researchers, real estate agents, financial advisers, you name it — they’re just digitizing their journey.

If or when you find that thing, don’t look at being a creator as all-encompassing or a means to an end. Look at being a creator as a way to make connections that eventually get you into your ideal spaces and industries. If that ends in being able to be a full-time creator, well, awesome.

Ask Jules: I think my cousin’s kids spend too much time on screens

In the meantime, bring yourself to compromise with your friends and family by having a part-time or full-time job that supports you financially while you build your portfolio of content on the side. Prove that there is a demand for what you create and that it leads to livable financial opportunity.

If your friends and family are still critical after you achieve those things — you’re simply coming into your own.

Loved ones tend to assume they understand all facets of you, but in reality, the only person who truly does is you. Some relationships are better off compartmentalized where they best suit your life. Luckily, the internet is bound to help you make new connections and friends within this path.

As long as you prove the viability of this decision to yourself, you do not need approval.

@julesterpak Advice column with @washingtonpost ♬ original sound - Jules Terpak
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