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A Huge and Welcome Shift in Social Media Money is On the Horizon



Above: Photo / Adobe Stock

Platform wars are heating up and influencers may be prime beneficiaries…

Something strange is happening in social media: influencers are getting paid, sometimes directly by platforms.

To clarify; there have always been ways for creators with a large following to monetize their stats. Mainly, however, until recently that mostly involved sponsorships and affiliate merchandise, and the like.

On top of the efforts required to create winning content, getting paid for it was an additional job and creators got little assistance from the greatest beneficiaries of the work: the host platforms themselves.

Suddenly, it seems, the value of creators in bringing and keeping traffic for the platforms is so high, as a war rages between platforms for that traffic, that some have gone as far as initiating new programs to pay influential content makers directly.

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Naturally, YouTube has had a monetization program that requires elevated status to qualify for and then takes a more than 30% cut of the proceeds, but on the whole payment for creative content production has been minimal for all but the most massive stars in the social media firmament. Now, that appears to be changing, and fast.

Snap, a once hot destination, is trying to boost its attractiveness by paying out $1 million per day for popular posts. TikTok, the fastest growing platform recently, has also set up a fund to pay out to creators and says it will increase the fund to $1 billion.

All of this is not going unnoticed by the platforms with the most traffic, Facebook and its owned entity Instagram, and, in an unprecedented move, payments are beginning to flow on those platforms also. Twitter, Clubhouse and others have various plans in the works as well.

There’s a massive shift toward coveting creators as a result of competition for traffic and members

What this all boils down to is two things. There’s a war going on (in reality battles left and right in many areas of internet dominance) and the spoils are traffic growth, and that growth is only possible for the platforms if creators migrate in and stick around.

As long as Facebook, Instagram and Google’s YouTube were untouchable monopolies they did not need to admit that they needed the allegiance of creators and influencers.

As the only game in town, each in a different monopolized neighborhood, there was literally no where for the creators to run to. No more. Mainly TikTok and now upstarts like Clubhouse are changing the landscape and that is scary to the legacy platforms.


Anecdotal evidence points to the ability for talent to garner views and followers, via the algorithm settings that either promote or hide content from prospective consumers, as the prime mover, at least initially, for the creators to favor TikTok.

Stories abound of creators that, within days or weeks, were able to get millions of views due to the “democratic” openness of the TikTok system for featuring content based on less restrictive algorithms than the entrenched platforms.

The once invincible behemoths at Facebook and Google let greed get the best of them. It has been literally years since organic reach, the ability to get views and traffic just on the quality of the content, was possible on facebook and the price to reach an audience, with paid posts, just kept going higher and higher.

Now, due to this tectonic shift in power, from the platforms to the influencers and users, there is, unbelievably, a situation emerging where Facebook must appease the talent and creativity of the content creators if they want to remain relevant.

Pending antitrust actions and privacy issues are just adding to the shifting status and uncertain future of social media

In a sense, there was always a kind of unwritten rule of social media: the owners and creators of the platforms retained all the money and power with none of the liability or labor requirements.

That relationship, which is like slaves who built the great pyramids, but without the allowance for food or shelter, was doomed from the start as it is based on a lie.

Ultimately the platform has very little to offer, technological and software designs are easily replicated theses days, and these platforms are not in the business of generating any of content, yet they expect that content to be created for free by users.

This ridiculous valueless and vampiric scam has been lionized and worshiped as the ultimate internet success formula for more than a decade.

Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg, have stood as the ultimate arbiters of how to become obscenely rich by enticing the world to work and create content for your platform for zero renumeration.

Once a company, coincidentally one that originated in China, came along and decided not to worship the Zuckerberg formula, but to undercut it by giving creators an ever-so-slightly less terrible deal, the spell was broken.

Next, it was only a matter of time before the war over the real value began: the content itself that users and particularly top creators on each platform provide.

Not to say that TikTok is heroic or intentionally upset the apple cart as a result of any foresight or altruism, this is just the inevitable outcome of a failed and corrupt system eventually becoming mature and collapsing (slowly) under its own stupidity.

For now, this slight reprieve from endless exploitation is an extremely hopeful sign. Let’s hope that creator payouts and the competition for content, real content that has value regardless of which platform hosts it, will continue to rise in stature.

Any creators or influencers out there who are listening, do what you do best which is create, and now add the option to sell your services to the highest bidder to your toolkit and keep your eyes and ears open for the next, even more accommodative platform to emerge from the muck. Then go there.

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