QUOTE OF THE WEEK 📜
"Aspirational is out. Relatable is in. The age of the macro-influencer is out, and micro-influencers — or what we term as “community-centric” marketing — are in. We will see the future of the creator economy based on the establishment, substance, and growth of communities over platforms."
NEWS: NEED TO KNOW 🔎
YouTube’s ripple effect on the Canadian Creator Economy
In July, YouTube published a report called The creator economy – where passions become businesses. Oxford Economics surveyed 6,000 YouTube content creators to help show the economic impact of YouTube's creator economy. The YouTube ecosystem is estimated to have contributed more than $25 billion to the American economy and supported more than 425,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2021. By December 2021, over 45,000 YouTube channels had obove 100,000 subscribers and over 5.5 channels had obove 1 million subscribers in the US.
The news is also positive for YouTube creators in Canada. Becoming a digital creator which was once uncommon is now considered a viable career path in Canada. In 2021, YouTube's creative ecosystem contributed $1.1 billion CAD to Canada’s GDP in 2021. It also supported 34,600 full-time equivalent jobs in Canada. YouTube channels making $100K or more in 2021 in annual revenue (CAD) is up 35% from the previous year.
In terms of channel and subscriber growth, more than 4,500 YouTube channels have more than 100K subscribers while over 550 channels have above 1 million subscribers in Canada. This represents an increase of 20% from the previous year.
Why marketers are ditching influencers for 'authentic' user-generated content
Asked to predict the future of the creator economy, Robbie Murch, founder of BUMP told Rolling Stone,
"Aspirational is out. Relatable is in. The age of the macro-influencer is out, and micro-influencers — or what we term as “community-centric” marketing — are in. With the rise of community-based platforms like Discord, Reddit or OnlyFans, we will see the future of the creator economy based on the establishment, substance and growth of communities over platforms."
The shift from influencer campaigns to promoting user-generated content from "real people" is most evident in TikTok's remarkable ascendancy. Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok's algorithm prioritizes content types over the creators, and specifically internet celebrities. In other words, TikTok's algorithm focuses on real user-generated content (UGC) from small creators that feels real and genuine.
Consequently, brands are quickly shifting away from influencers because the more "produced" the content is, the more disconnected the consumer feels. Instead, brands now want to work with smaller creators because the user-generated content is real and has an emotional connection. Consumers see themselves in the moments and camera angles and enjoy the genuineness of the content.
Expect smaller creators from diverse backgrounds to get better at authentically engaging with their smaller but growing communities across various social media platforms and at in-person events.
TikTok vs. Instagram Reels vs. YouTube Shorts: Who Will Win the Short-Video Race?
TikTok's rapid rise saw the platform pass 1 billion users in September 2021 in just 5 years. It is forcing its competitors - Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube - to take notice and play catchup. This is shaping up into what is being called the short-video race between TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts.
Facebook, Instagram and YouTube introduced features similar to TikTok short videos in the last year. In late July, Facebook tweaked its algorithm to allow people to discover content that is "uniquely personalized to them". This means that users won't see posts from friends they follow and instead will see content from accounts they don't follow. In June, Facebook rolled out creative and audio tools, templates, and other features to make Instagram Reels more like TikTok and extended their duration from 60 to 90 seconds.
A survey conducted by Pew Research showed that:
American teens between 13 and 17 using Facebook declined from 71% between 2014 and 2015 to 32% today. While TikTok has the fastest growth rate, YouTube still leads all social media platforms with 95% of teens using it today.
YouTube rolled out YouTube Shorts, which are short-form, vertically-oriented videos up to 60 seconds. YouTube Shorts was first tested in India and rolled out in the US and Canada in the last year. The YouTube Shorts Fund has pledged $100 million to reward creators for short-form content, which includes Canada. Full details about the creator fund for Canadians can be found here. TikTok pledged $1 billion over a 3-year period to its top creators but is not available in Canada. Currently, it's only available in the U.K., the U.S., Germany, Italy, France, and Spain. The Wall Street Journal reported that more than 1.5 billion logged-in users currently watch YouTube Shorts each month.
TikTok’s algorithm attracts the most engaged users today. Expect intense competition from Instagram and YouTube in the race to catch TikTok for short video supremacy.
PROFILE: DO WHAT YOU WANT ❤️
Trans actor Bilal Baig wants you to know that transition is a universal experience in award-winning CBC series 'Sort Of'
Earlier this summer, CBC and HBO Max’s groundbreaking TV show “Sort Of” won a Peabody, a prestigious US award. Bilal Baig, a playwright, and actor is the lead of the comedy series. Sort Of Season 2 premieres in Canada on CBC Gem, and in the USA on HBO Max, in Fall 2022.
Co-created by Fab Filippo and Bilal Baig, Sort Of is a Canadian television sitcom, released in 2021. The dramedy explores life at the intersection of identities and social worlds. Baig plays the character, Sabi, a gender-fluid millennial in Toronto who is learning to navigate their own gender and sexuality. They balance roles as the child of Pakistani immigrant parents, a nanny to an upper-class family by day, and a bartender at a queer space by night.
Baig, 27, who lives in Toronto is the first non-binary lead character on Canadian TV. They are also the first South Asian, Muslim Queer lead in a Canadian prime-time TV series. Baig was proud that queer people of color were represented both on-screen and behind the scenes in the writer's room and at the executive level to ensure the show remained authentic.
A major theme is that every character regardless of gender, sexuality or age is going through a transition, evolving, and learning about themselves while holding onto secrets. Baig told Time,
“When we started to understand that we were going to watch each of the characters navigate their own transition—their own relationship to that word—a lot of the nuance came in."
Baig feels it's important to focus on inclusion through the arts and wants to continue elevating other voices. The show even runs inclusivity sessions for the crew and cast with facilitators and psychologists who talk about what means to bring people from different walks of life together. They believe:
"Representation is so important for so many people who feel that there isn't a place for them in this world when they don't see themselves on TV or in film and art and on stage."
RESILIENCE HACKS 💪🏾 ✌🏽💯
Transitions: How to come out on top when you're at a crossroads
Robert Frost, best known for his poem, The Road Not Taken, wrote about coming to a fork in the road and having to make a choice about which path to take. His choice lay between an easier, successful, but less fulfilling road and a less traveled, more difficult road that would ultimately lead to greater satisfaction.
Most of us have faced a crossroads. Managing a transition can be both thrilling and unsettling. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, confused, and scared. William Bridges, author of Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, defines a transition as a voyage from one place to another. There's a departure, a disorienting time of travel, and finally a destination. He calls the time between endings and new beginnings the “neutral zone” -- a “neither here nor there” psychological space where identities are in flux and people feel they have lost the ground beneath their feet. They oscillate between ‘holding on’ and ‘letting go’, between our desire to cling to our past and the excitement of moving towards a better future version of ourselves.
It’s important to note that going through a transition and making a change are different. While change is situational, a transition is psychological and happens first. You need to figure out a transition and what needs to end in your life, so you can internally accept and come to terms with it. Making a change is goal oriented. Transitions can be positive or negative and may not be your choice like losing your job or a relationship ending.
The middle feels the most uncomfortable because you’re in limbo - in a “neither here nor there” place. This period can be short or might last weeks, months, or possibly years as you explore new roles, and identities that make sense and feel right. Bridges says that accepting and getting beyond the confusion and uncertainty of the neutral zone is essential for a successful transition to happen.
Tips for a faster successful transition.
Networking skills and cultivating good relationships are important. For career transitions, sociologist, Mark Granovetter published his famous 1973 paper, The Strength of Weak Ties. It examines the role of developing “weak ties” to build highly effective social networks. He found that 16% of educated professionals got jobs through “strong ties” or personal connections from family, school, or previous jobs. A whopping 84% of people found jobs or opportunities with help from “weak ties” or contacts they rarely saw on a regular basis.
We all know people who seem to “know everyone” and are connected to a broad circle of interest groups and people who are not part of their family or work environment.
There are tips you can follow for a faster successful transition. First, follow Gen Z's lead by being curious, authentic, and relatable when meeting new people. Secondly, in a fast-paced world where we’ve all had a bumpy past few years, get past the small talk and delay talking about job titles or what people do for a living. Instead, connect on a deeper level. Be vulnerable. Have more meaningful conversations around your shared values and important issues for both of you. Third, recognize the key to meeting and helping a new contact transition is how effectively you both build rapport, likeability, and trust quickly.
Like so many successful people who came before you, don’t be surprised if connecting and developing “weak ties” with people you barely know, results in 3 to 5 times the number of opportunities compared to most (but not all) of the people you’ve known all your life.
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I hope your weekend was great. My computer was on the fritz, behaving like it was possessed. As such, I accidentally sent the unfinished newsletter. The computer problem got resolved after I followed Apple's recommendation to upgrade to the latest operating system.
Apologies for the delay in sending the newsletter. I took some time off after getting Covid in July. Moving forward, the Spinning Forward newsletter will be published weekly.
Big platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat have recently been responding to TikTok's meteoric rise by copying it. TikTok's daily watch time, advertising budgets and the number of daily active users continue to grow. Not surprisingly, competitors have responded by adding more short-form videos that are full-screen with vertical scrolling. Cal Newport wrote a New Yorker piece titled "TikTok and the Fall of the Social-Media Giants". He thinks the legacy platforms risk losing their dominance if they abandon the "social graph" algorithm which favors showing content to friends, family, and casual acquaintances. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, TikTok's "scary-good" recommendation algorithm target's a user's interest in as little as 40 minutes. It accurately shows a user's short videos to others interested in that content without your friends needing to be on the platform. More importantly, TikTok does not require you to be famous or have followers you know in order to succeed on the platform.
As the big platforms all go after the same market for attention and eyeballs, there will be winners and losers. Roger Martin, former dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and strategy expert says,
Also covered in this issue is the shift to creator authenticity, the importance of representation on and off-screen, and how you can make a successful transition when facing a crossroads.
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Publisher and Founder, Spinning Forward
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