Creator Pools Of Attention, The Role Of Platforms And Web3

A couple thoughts on creators and web3 I had written back in November. Access to the post was token-gated until now.

Hey! Here are a couple thoughts on creators and web3 I had written back in November. Access to the post was token-gated until now.

I think its interesting to think about the Creator Economy as the tools which allow to create, monetize and sustain pools of attention. If industry type businesses were made possible by large pools of capital structured as corporations, the creator economy is made possible by large pools of attention accrued as audiences by creator through social platforms.

A potential narrative for the trajectory of the Creator Economy is the following

  1. 2010s: creators started accruing pools of attention on platforms like Instagram, YouTube or Twitter. Monetizing worked for most successful creators through ads and brand partnerships.

  2. 2015s: new platforms emerged for specific content niches and direct monetization. Options for creators increased a degree in sophistication. Gamers could livestream on Twitch instead of posting YouTube videos and any creator could implement subscriptions with Patreon.

  3. 2020s: recently platforms have specialized further. The trend towards more customization is accelerating. Substack and SuperRare focus on a single categories of creators, providing bespoke tools for monetization and distribution. Zora specializes in innovative drops amongst all distribution means, and paid creator communities are communities building organized around creators and building bespoke tools for themselves first.

New Monetization Avenues For Creators

Like Substack, Zora and SuperRare help creators monetize their work. Only this time around, blockchain and crypto enable entirely new ways of distributing and valuing their creations. SuperRare let's digital creatives sell .jpeg, .gifs or mp4 files the same way oil paintings are auctioned on art markets. Something unimaginable only a few years ago.

"I produce a lot of personal work and all ive ever used it for is to show clients my abilities so they hire me for work. I've always loved the idea of being "paid for my personal projects" but I always assumed that could only be through Patreon" - Conversation with a digital artist

For these "business to creator" ventures which take a cut on their creators' sales, the only way to succeed is for creators to thrive on the long term. The bespoke monetization -subscriptions, drops, auctions- and distribution -publication, gallery, drops- tools could be seen as a first step towards more holistic community platforms. Hubs where creators can grow in various ways, socialize, sell and create as they wish. Something you could never see on a regular social media or even a generic subscription platform like Patreon (recommend this piece).

Platforms To Support Creators In More Holistic Ways

Substack launched in 2018. Besides its publication and monetization tools, it has launched several community programs tailored to the needs of its specific 'niche' of creators: writers.

In June 2020, It announced the second batch of substack fellows. A program aiming to support writers financially to accelerate their path to independence but also provides them with coaching in editorial development, publishing strategy, community building, personal finance...

In early October, Substack launched its community mentorship program Bridge. Which appeals even more to me in that mentors are members of the Substack community itself. A really cool way to instill a culture of reciprocity in the community and at the same time implement a system that can scale with it.

... a publishing tool is not enough. We aim to create the conditions for important independent writing to flourish, which means helping writers get access to the resources, expertise, and communities they need to do their best work.- Introducing the Substack Fellowship

The platform has been growing quickly with 100k+ subscribers and millions of readers to date. Community programs seem to have added value to their offering. Recently attracting big names like Casey Newton who left The Verge to create his own publication.

"I’d say that legal is about the biggest protection they’re offering, and it’s very significant. They’ve said they’ll spend up to a million dollars in your defense, and when you’re writing about potentially litigious companies, that matters a lot." - Casey Newton

Wether these support programs are financial, social or business oriented probably has to be thought for each specific creator category. A way to frame the question is ask: what support does this specific type of creator need to make the most out of its pool of attention? In Substack's case that would be mentorship and legal defense for example.

Taking Advantage From Web3

In order to get these programs and services up and running, the interoperability of Web3 is an advantage. It allows platforms and creators to quickly integrate with various tools and services ranging from financial services to community engagement.

ERC20/721 tokens can be used as interfaces to a growing number of CommunityLegos and the whole DeFi ecosystem. When it comes to growing and engaging an audience, social tokens and tools like Unite, to engage or and Snapshot for governance can already be leveraged.

It is still early but there are lots of opportunities to work with creators and help them uncover the right bundles of services across the growing offering of Web3 tools for monetization and community building. And possibly integrate these services more tightly as part of creator platforms or communities down the road.

Upsides to this are the ability for platforms to integrate while focusing on their core business. On creators side, using multiple services means you don't have all your eggs in the same basket, lessening the risk of being deplatformed entirely.

“If I’m reliant on Substack for the thing to work, then it’s not really working in the way that I envisioned.” - Casey Newton

Thanks for reading! This post is a collab between JammSession and Albiverse. Supporting creators with the right programs and tools is something we're actively exploring through collective projects. Bring your own background and views to the table and let's keep the conversation going.