BY JIM LOUDERBACK
- The possibility of a ban or sale of TikTok, including recent poll results and how creators could lead the way.
- Meta’s latest layoffs and a historical context for the company’s metaverse pivot.
- The release of GPT4 and GenAI’s potential to supercharge productivity for creators and beyond.
This Week: Three different topics impacting the Creator Economy – first, the possibility of a ban or sale of TikTok, including recent poll results and how creators could lead the way. Next, Meta’s latest layoffs and a historical context for the company’s metaverse pivot. Finally, the release of GPT4 and GenAI’s potential to supercharge productivity for creators and beyond. Excited to welcome our new sponsor MetroPR – an awesome company that has done an amazing job with VidCon the last five years. It’s the third week of March and here’s you need to know.
Boomers vs. Zoomers and the Diffusion of Creator Intention: We’re closer to a TikTok sale or ban today than we’ve ever been. Biden’s been duly authorized to make that happen, and just insisted that ByteDance sell TikTok or else. The press is also banging the TikTok danger drum, blaming TT for car thefts, pushing GenZ into crushing debt via #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt and why being open and democratic is no excuse for being a sucker (NYT$). The TikTok flacks are also out in force, with editorials in The Washington Post, Boston Globe and more to come. Even Garbage Day is on board, saying that TikTok is the last place you can go viral, and predicting election disaster for Biden. However, a recent poll shows that roughly half of America is in favor of a ban, while 40% oppose. I don’t think we’ll see a shut-down, nor will a sale happen quickly enough to quench the outrage. Instead, I expect creators to increasingly hedge their bets by uploading the same video to all three short-form platforms. This diffusion of creator intention will defang TikTok and in the long run will have the same effect as a ban.
Meta Moves from the ‘Verse to AI: More layoffs at Meta, as the company seems to be walking back from the Metaverse. The internet exploded with criticism, but here’s a little perspective. According to Business Insider, Meta spent around $36B over the past four years on the ‘Verse. That’s a lot in abstract but compared to other corporate blunders in tech it’s a bit more reasonable. In 2012 Google bought Motorola for $12.5B ($16B in today’s dollars). Back in 2006 Nokia bought Siemens for $31.5B and then nine years later sold itself to Microsoft for $7B (a double fail!). And AOL bought Time Warner for $165B back in 2000. Would Facebook have been better off waiting to overspend on a Metaverse market leader in 5 or 10 years? Maybe – but who knows. Businesses make big strategic bets regularly and some of them fail. The biggest ding on Meta from my POV? Changing its name before the strategy matured. And not buying Roblox in 2019 instead ($26.4B market cap today). The SEC, of course, would have had something to say.
How GPT4 and GenAI Will Save the Free World: The latest version of everyone’s favorite chatbot was released last week, along with extensive announcements from Google Office and Microsoft 365 (nee Office). It’s “one of AI’s biggest days EVER” wrote Ben Parr in his overview, typical of the praise gushing over a product few have used. But even if it’s just evolutionary (my take), the long-term implications are stunning. I’ve been touting the co-pilot nature of GenAI since last summer, and more and more that’s become canon. This co-pilot is poised to super-charge productivity – from creators and programmers to doctors, lawyers and salarymen. Productivity growth leads to economic growth, which translates into a broad rise in wages and wealth. Alas, productivity in the U.S. peaked in the early postwar boom and again during the rise of the microchip but has been stagnant since 2005. GenAI will make so many of us more productive that overall productivity will skyrocket. What’s the 2030 version of “a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage”? We’re about to find out.
- TikTok continues the charm offensive, adds STEM feed.
- TikTok starts to block certain types of links in creator’s bios.
- Interesting study on how to avoid overpaying creators. But 300 respondents are hardly a projectable cohort. Directional, not truth.
- Can we please stop with the judgy trend pieces about Shorts’ poor monetization until, say, October?
- Buzzfeed is pivoting to creators and AI. Here’s what that means for all of us.
- Bytedance hiring a book acquisition editor in the NY area – maybe that means Douwen Novel is coming to the U.S.?
- Tired of your FYP? Now TikTok lets you wipe the slate clean!
- Walmart beta testing a platform to connect creators with shoppable products – presumably with shoppertainment.
- Thank god creator funds are mostly dead, as the truth starts to get out.
- More changing of the guard, as Twitch’s CEO steps down after 16 years.
- Beware the Hustle Bros. They just want your money.
- Rhett and Link launch their own 24-hour FAST channel on Roku.
- Vault Comics, Kajabi and popular music creators team up to launch a new platform.
- New Illinois bill would give kidfluencers a revshare from their parents while growing up famous.
- The 1 Billion Dollar reason why disclosing sponsorship conflict isn’t just a good idea. It’s the law.
- Inside TikTok’s weird “Bold Glamour” filter.
- The costs and benefits of doing Video Podcasts.
- Stratechery weighs in on the end of SVB – if you’re not bored of the topic yet.
- Rex Woodbury fanboys on Taylor Swift, pulls out five takeways for all creators.
- A couple gets married in the Taco Bell metaverse – and then had their reception at the Taco Bell cantina right near my house. Alas I wasn’t invited.
- Is the world ready for a cookie monster NFT?
- Sign me up for a Snorlax one, though.
- Interesting essay comparing LLMs to CPUs.
- Milk Road explores the Web3 Graveyard, calling out Instagram, Nickelodeon, Game of Thrones and other failed NFT projects. Their conclusion: a plan and community are essential to success, and devoted fans can smell the 💩 from a mile away.
- AI Assisted works are now open to copyright protection. Creator Legal’s Eric Farber tells me that it’s “more than a prompt… like using photoshop after” to adjust the image. But how about if I use an image of cookie monster to feed Stable Diffusion and then modify the result? Do I own that image?
- Midjourney version 5 released.
What I’m Watching: Rewatching some Miyazaki movies in anticipation of his new (and last) movie coming in July (and a trip to Japan in October). Can’t believe I never saw Ponyo!
Thanks so much for reading and see you around the internet. Send me a note with your feedback, or post in the comments! Feel free to share this with anyone you think might be interested, and if someone forwarded this to you, you can sign up and subscribe on LinkedIn for free here!
If you’re interested in working together as a sponsor to reach the leaders in the creator economy, check out Inside the Creator’s sponsorship packages and/or email me at email@example.com.