Terry Yu discusses the perils of creating online content and distributing it via consumer social media platforms. Here are the highlights of Yu’s Twitter thread discussing survey data from 150 ‘creators’.
- 90% are burnt out
- 71% are considering leaving social media
- 51% say it is taxing to make a living on social media
The main contributor to this pressure is of course — the algorithm. Creating on social media media looks very easy at first but then the pressures of competition and changes to the algorithm ensure that the platform makes the most profit. With consumer social media, the house always wins.
These social media creators are participating in what amounts to a crowd-milking scheme. Of course it’s not easy finding new market niches but betting on the next social media platform from Silicon Valley is definitely not a good option. The only way to make our talent profitable in the network era is to turn it into a highly specialized capital asset. Feeding crowd-milking platforms is not a sane small-business operating model. It’s better to find your own cow than be milked by someone else.
In 2012 Ross Dawson suggested that “in a connected world, unless your skills are world-class, you are a commodity”. This is becoming obvious today. What will mark the successful people in this emerging network era economy are — Expertise, Relationships, and Innovation. Social media platforms are not our friends. They also make for pretty sleazy business partners.
Content creation should be a labour of love, not a constant treadmill of pushing stuff across platforms. As Yu notes, “Creators must clock 71+ hours minimum across social platforms to stay relevant.” I have discussed this in platforms and the precariat showing that the robber barons of the 21st century are the platform owners controlling much of the economy today. I would say it’s time to get off that treadmill for anyone who wants to build a sustainable business. Since 2003 I have managed to write and build a business without becoming a ‘content creator’ on any platform but my own. I wonder how Hercules would have done as a creator?