TikTok’s “Heating” button signals the beginning of the end, Short form video is revolutionizing the content landscape and Buzzfeed pivots to AI

This Week – 1/30/2026: More analysis and fallout from TikTok’s “Heater” scandal as short-form video eats the world, experts debate the future of AR and VR in the wake of Apple’s headset news and the Buzzfeed pivot to AI that has everyone talking Plus, the latest research on influencer marketing, the new Google anti-trust suit, Twitch’s 2023 plans, and much more!

Plus join me in Paris this Thursday February 2nd for a fun Inside the Creator Economy Meetup that I’m throwing with Hugo Amsellem. 18:30-20:00 – Address is 38 rue de Malte, Paris 11 – Code: 41963 / Ring at Intello / 5th floor. Can’t wait to see you all there!

It’s (practically) the beginning of February and here’s what you need to know.


  • TikTok “Heating” is the Beginning of the End: We also talked in last week’s newsletter about the “Heating” button, which lets internal employees promote videos directly to your FYP feed. This circumvents TikTok’s USP, the awesome algorithm that just gets you. But it’s worse than I thought. Legendary blogger Cory Doctorow writes a scathing analysis of how big tech platforms die, tracing their history from serving users, to serving advertisers, to screwing over both. And now it’s TikTok’s turn. Forget Josh Hawley’s upcoming bill to ban Double-T in the US – corporate greed will do it instead.


  • Short Form Video is Eating the World: It won’t replace longer form – no “new” media ever obviates the old – but the move to short form is inexorable. However, the road to redemption is bumpy at best. Axios calls it a “creativity crisis”, while Centennial Beauty openly decries the lack of influence among short-form creators. Valid points, but they miss the forest. Yes, short-form hinders parasocial relationship development. But for top-of-funnel and cheap “TikTok Made Me Buy It” products it’s already a winning. And with a Final Cut Pro equivalent in every phone today, a profusion of creativity is already blooming. But just like any other new media it requires “live with” expertise, not bolt-on adoption.


  • Buzzfeed’s Perilous Pivot to GenAI: The much maligned media company says it’s embracing AI tools in a way that will “benefit both content creators and audiences”. Their beleaguered stock tripled. The Platformer’s Troy Young called it a sign of digital media’s “existential quagmire” as it embraces that which might kill it. It reminds me of when print magazines used to celebrate cutting the paper and moving to the web. Or pivoting to video. I hope it works, but I fear it’s just one step closer to death. Also is Buzzfeed now a Facebook MCN?







Tip of the Week: I “borrowed” this from Tim Schmoyer and the awesome weekly Video Creators newsletter that Tim and VidIQ put out.

  • Biggest Time Waster – The biggest thing creators can waste their time on in 2023 is metadata optimization. Focusing on keywords and tags does nothing for you. It’s amazing how we constantly still interact when people who haven’t learned this yet. You don’t need to fit in all the right keywords in your description. Optimize for PEOPLE not robots.

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!

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And don’t forget to listen to The Creator Feed – the weekly podcast Renee Teeley and I produce – get it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher!

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