What If "Good Enough" Is Actually Great?

This is my first time participating in the IndieWeb carnival. I've enjoyed working on my blog, but it very much feels like an island. I'm excited to make it part of a larger community. If you found me through this, welcome!

The most common argument I hear for "good enough" is that the pursuit of perfect leads to less work overall, and that's a bad thing — the idea that quantity leads to quality. I find this idea compelling, and it's partly why I decided to take the approach with my video channel of producing as much work as I can as consistently as I can at the expense of intricate production. I don't know if this is the right way, but it's the way I'm trying right now.

But as progress marches, I find an even more compelling argument in favor of "good enough." It may be one of our best defenses against having our monopoly on creativity destroyed. This occurred to me when a YouTube video pointed out that many popular YouTube personalities now hold their lavalier microphones. Before the video, I had seen this phenomenon, but I hadn't perceived it.

"Being held" is not the proper mode for using a lavalier microphone. They're explicitly designed not to be used this way. These are the style of mics that are meant to be clipped on to clothing. If you're holding one, it means, in a strictly technical sense, you done fucked up. Except these instances aren't mistakes or misunderstandings. At least, not always.

The video positions this as a reaction to a changing YouTube culture. (I'm going to spoil a lot of the video now, so if you want to hear if from the horse's mouth first, watch that and come back here when you're done.) YouTube started out as a platform for non-professionals and has evolved into the exact opposite. It's a sort of quiet act of protest to intentionally be unprofessional on a platform that has evolved to be a more professional one. It's not just an expression of dissatisfaction with the change of the culture, but it's a signal that, "I'm one of the real ones."

I use "real" here to mean "I'm one of the authentic ones," not "I'm one of the ones who exist…" but we're fast approaching a day when fucking up — whether that's intentional or whether you just make a conscious decision not to edit your work — might be a critical tool for identifying "us."

Generative AI produces work that is a brand of "perfect." We've made a lot of noise about all the factual inaccuracies it spits out, and it does spit plenty of those. What it can do though with great ease is present an almost perfectly produced output on the first iteration and in seconds full of text that is all spelled correctly and makes sense and lines that are all drawn precisely. Humans are capable of achieving the same level of perfection given a limited scope and enough time… but time is exactly what we rarely have enough of. AI effectively folds that time by learning only from our already perfected works and producing outputs based on it.

Maybe "good enough" is our best beacon to help other humans find our creative work in the sea of generated content the internet is quickly becoming. I should make an editing pass or two on this post to fix any mistakes. I should punch up this conclusion to make it more impactful. I should do these things to make this post a higher quality one… but I won't because I think you can understand my point and I think you can see that I am a human being like you. I hope that's good enough.