June 21, 2023
Arima’s CARE Ministry hosts 12-week health conference on NCDs
June 21, 2023

Posting T&T positivity

Interview with local social media content creator, Alan Charles @trini_surfer

Q: How did you become a content creator?

In a nutshell how I became a content creator is that I developed a love for photography, travelling and wanting to capture a lot of memories. From there, I had the normal social media applications like Instagram, Facebook, and I would post my very irregular photos and stuff on those platforms. Over time, people seemed to like and be interested in the photos.

Slowly, I got more and more into photography. I kept investing in professional camera equipment. I also enjoyed taking videos using a GoPro camera and from there it just grew and grew, and I got more passionate about it.

Simultaneously, people seemed to be more and more interested and over time, it just became second nature that I would be creating videos or posting photos, and I naturally spent time in the forest, by rivers, by waterfalls, by beaches as I am a surfer, and that was what my content was about. That’s exactly how it came about.

Q: How long have you been doing this?

In terms of what it is now, it became strong like maybe about three years ago. I have been doing this as a hobby for maybe about six years.

Q: Did you have a vision for how your content would be shaped?

No, I had no vision; I never even considered the idea of being a ‘content creator’ or anything in that nature. I just really loved photography and by extension video.

Now, it is fun but there is a job aspect to it as well. [On his consistent message of keeping nature clean] I would never classify myself as an environmentalist per se, there are some people who are extremely passionate about it and dedicate their life to it. I definitely care about it, and I think  something as simple as all of us being able to live in a country with a lot less trash on the streets, on the beaches and the rivers.

I do try to drive home the message, because I feel it is an obvious thing, and who would not appreciate having less rubbish and unsanitary things around them in their homes and outdoors? Hopefully, people will try and be like, ‘That just makes sense’.

Q: Do you think that people in Trinidad and Tobago appreciate the natural beauty around us, and is your content helping to shift perceptions to the positive?

I would say based on feedback; a lot of people are using my content to explore more. I do think that there is a handful of people who do not appreciate how good we really have it in Trinidad and Tobago. I have come to find that many people were blissfully unaware that some of these things even existed. I think people were not just told or educated and now they are finding out that there is a whole lot going on there.

Q: Which other local content creators do you find are good and have a positive message?

I have a good relationship with @hungrybelly868 and @foodietaleswithzaak. They are very different to me and are very food specific. I think what they do, they do it well, and they are helping businesses and restaurants grow and helping people like you and me, know about options and restaurants we can visit and stuff. There is also a guy called @trinbago_vibes and he does a great job of covering the cultural aspects of Trinidad.

Q: And what advice would you offer someone who wants to be successful at content creation?

To someone who wants to be a content creator or influencer, my advice, first, is start.

A lot of people may think about it but never even attempt to do anything about it, think they don’t have the right equipment, the right this, or the right that. But the truth is, the hardest part is just start and post something to get it rolling…and you can build over time.

There’s that, and the other thing I would say is acknowledge in advance that it is difficult and time-consuming. It requires intense consistency over time; it does not happen over weeks or months.

You have to kind of give your life to it if you really want it to achieve anything or even earn money out of it. For me, it is a full-on thing. I have not missed creating and posting over the last five years, other than maybe a couple of days each year.

You have to check in throughout the day at different times. It is an everyday thing. You also have to be good at it and have the ability to create things that people are interested in as well.

It is very time-consuming, but my actual career or my day’s bread and butter is photography and wedding photography, that kind of thing. So, you can say I have two full-time jobs. I pretty much do those two things every day.

[To get interesting content] I would say, first, a lot of trial and error, while simultaneously, you always need to adapt. Technology is always changing. Move with trends and you would get new ideas, and then, you could look at other people if you’re trying to be funny, trying to be outdoorsy like me, or if you are trying to be a food person.

I mean, you don’t want to copy, you want to be original, and maybe you could get a feeling of why things are doing well, is the content relatable, the quality, cameras…That kind of stuff is always a good go-to. Then you have to define yourself as different from the pack.

[With regard to trolls] First of all, I am very lucky, the stuff that I create naturally breeds a very supportive, loving atmosphere. A lot of people are very kind toward me but inevitably you get the kind of people who want to have a go at you, who are angry, or whatever the case may be.

I am a very passive person, very unbothered by people who attack me. I tend to make it into a joke or make them look silly by taking their angry comments and showing them to other followers, like ‘Look what people are trying to tell me’. The best way to handle it is to brush it off, and not allow it to upset you. These are people who don’t know you, and you don’t know what is going on in their lives and why they are attacking you. I choose to be very unbothered by it.

Q: Do you still get a sense of awe, of the sacred as you explore our local environment?

All the time. It is just incredibly healthy, inspiring, and motivating. To be in nature and see things…just 100 per cent. I don’t need to sugarcoat it. You go to a waterfall, beaches, spend a nice day with some friends, and for anybody, even if you don’t like it, I doubt that there is a single person on Earth who won’t benefit a little bit mentally, physically, spiritually by going into the world you see. It is definitely a good thing, no two ways about it.