April 18-2022 – Platform Transitions Are Natural – Here’s What’s Coming Next: Technology-first industries are constantly being disrupted, replaced, and updated. This is nothing new – think back to the cotton gin, printing press, air conditioning and automobiles. But digital technology continues to accelerate the pace of change. IBM gave way to Microsoft. Microsoft was usurped by Google. All our today’s top platforms will be replaced at some point. Maybe soon. This past week saw significant developments in the race to replace today’s leaders, including TikTok, Google, Twitter and Facebook.
- From YouTube to TikTok to What?: Everyone’s gunning for TikTok, now the most visited global platform. But it’s unlikely that anyone will dethrone Double-T anytime soon. That’s because the company keeps launching innovative video creation tools that make life so easy for creators. Sure other platforms can copy them – like Shorts adding its own video remix feature last week. But while others copy, TikTok innovates. I love their latest gift to creators: Now everyone can join TikTok’s “Effect House” and spice up their productions. Newsflash: copying TikTok isn’t going to dethrone TikTok. Instead, it will be something entirely new, innovative, and different. And we likely won’t see that for many years. Oh, they are also testing a “dislike” button, something others have tried and killed.
- Google Won’t Last Forever: The “don’t be evil” company has dominated search for 15 years. But its problems are legion, from ad-dominated search results to privacy concerns and accusations of bias. New search options like DuckDuckGo offer a better way to use Google, but new search engines – like what Brave is building – are fewer and far between. Although it seems inconceivable that Google will be replaced, this thoughtful piece explores what the “next Google” might look like.
- Whither Twitter: Now Elon wants to buy Twitter and take it private. You’ll read lot of breathless takes as this story develops, but the broader consequences are more intriguing. An Elon takeover would likely damage Twitter in the same way as Joe Rogan owning Spotify or Dwayne Johnson snapping up Universal Pictures. Top VC Fred Wilson thinks that Twitter should be decentralized, not owned by one person. That’s not going to happen – although it looks like Dorsey is hoping lightning strikes twice. If Musk buys Twitter and takes it private, it will likely be the end of Twitter as we know it. If so, what will take its place? Maybe it’s finally time for Wt.Social? Or some new startup? For another point of view Trung Phan has a look at what Elon likes and doesn’t about Twitter and other networks, culled from his tweets. And this essay explores what a marketplace of open algorithms on Twitter might look like.
- Facebook and Meta: Facebook is huge, but it’s also in decline. The company decided to creatively destruct itself, betting big on the Metaverse as its next area of dominance. I’m a fan of that move. But Facebook hasn’t truly innovated in a long time – although that’s not necessarily required. Deft acquisitions and strong execution give the company a chance. Alas its tone-deaf move to demand nearly 50% of revenue from metaverse creators is not positive. I think Roblox and Epic are more likely to succeed here as they are relatively unencumbered by Big Blue’s baggage. Epic in particular is gearing up by raking in another $2b in investment and parterning with Lego to build a kid-friendly metaverse. I’m bullish on Roblox too – and I’ll be sitting down with one of their top execs at VidCon in Anaheim in June to explore this – and other developments at the fascinating 16-year old “new” platform.
How Made-Up Words Are Evading Algorithmic Detection: Wondering why everyone in your feed is talking about “spicy eggplant”? Here’s a tip – it’s not about food. That’s just one code phrase creators have minted to talk about a subject that would likely get them banned – or at least deprecated on top online video platforms. Using code words to avoid censorship isn’t new, creators have embraced them in other media for years. My favorite: how Pearls from Swine comic strip creator Stephan Pastis uses “Oompa Loompas” and “Hoo Haws” to substitute for, well… just click on the link, OK?
- Ex Maker exec Courtney Holt is leaving his podcast leadership role at Spotify.
- TikTok’s odd Russia strategy creates effectively a completely separate app. Precursor of things to come?
- Snapchat uses RSS to let news publishers auto-post breaking stories to Discover.
- Nice interview with Crunchyroll CEO Colin Decker talking about how the niche SVOD service wins by being “community first”.
- Why we love “React” videos (Thanks Rafi and Benny)!
- LA is no longer the center of the creator economy.
- China secretly used creators to promote the Olympics – this is why we need to enforce disclosure rules.
- Interesting research on Teens from Piper Sandler – although they aren’t very forthcoming with the full survey results, alas.
- The Washington Commanders enlist TikTok and Shorts star Katie Feeney as social media correspondent. I wonder how much editorial independence she’ll have in what might be a wrenching season.
- HBR weighs in on the future of DAOs and work itself.
- Critical Ethereum update pushed out to fall.
- Geek Alert: Building a Web3 app or service? This longish essay on distributed models is worth reading.
- Worldcoin feeling the hate from MIT.
- NFT characters soon to get their own 3-part movie.
- Informative essay argues that the reframing of Web3 into something tangible is just a Web2 head fake.
- Logan Paul’s Liquid Marketplaces raises $8 million to let fans own fractions of prized collectibles
What’s The Future Of Creator Monetization? Join Joseph Albanese, CEO of Stir, and Ashley Yuki, Head of Product at Instagram in Anaheim at VidCon US this June as they discuss the evolution of the creator monetization landscape. Buy your tickets now!
Tip of the Week: This week’s tip is from Grace Wells, a TikTok content creator and expert:
My philosophy when it comes to content creation is that social media is both highly narrative and process-driven. These platforms were initially conceived to help us keep up with the lives of our friends and family, and that interest in the daily human experience has expanded to content creators, influencers, and now even brands. So, allow your journey to be the focus of your content, rather than your destination. You’ll often find that audiences will resonate far more with the “how” than they will with the “what.”
Grace is leading a workshop at VidCon Anaheim teaching creators how to move into the lucrative world of directing commercials. Don’t miss it!
What We’re Watching:
- Do you know the difference between Sway House and Hype House?
- Comedian Brittany Lee McDonald woke up her boyfriend with a Nicolas Cage impression every day for a week.
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