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Commentary: Why social media is hardly social any more

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THE AGE OF CREATORS

This shift has changed the dynamic between social media users and companies. Content that was once free is growing expensive. If you want MrBeast to leave his 167 million YouTube subscribers for your social media platform you’ll need to make it worth his while. Hence the expansion of revenue-sharing schemes and creator funds. 

As creators grow more powerful, their influence is expanding into more areas, including news. In the past, newsrooms have tried to help journalists become social media stars with mixed success. Turning creators into journalists means more views. 

Social media has had a fractious relationship with news, blaming it for negativity and unwanted controversy. Meta created the Facebook Journalism Project in 2017 but has repeatedly said it may opt to remove news. Executive Adam Mosseri, who heads up Threads, says the new app will not do anything to encourage politics and “hard news”.

Other platforms want to incorporate news on their own, more creator-friendly terms. I recently visited the London office of The News Movement, a news start-up co-founded by former Dow Jones chief executive Will Lewis. It has a partnership with Snapchat that offers young creators rudimentary journalism training, helping them to identify bias and misinformation, for example. The creators are then encouraged to add Snapchat to the roster of platforms they use.

Micaiah Miles, a young American with over 58,000 TikTok followers, got 1 million Snapchat views for his video explaining the disappearance of the Titan submersible. Career journalists may wince. But high engagement means advertisers will be happy.

Last year, slowing ad growth led to declarations that that was the end of the social media era. In fact, we are only witnessing the death of social networking.

This is the age of creators. Social media’s role in digital media entertainment is just getting started. 

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