ICYMI: YouTube’s "Super Thanks" Edition

Here's what happened on social media this week, July 23

[via Simone Biles on Instagram]

▶️ YouTube has settled on the name Super Thanks for their new tip jar feature showing up on all of a creator’s videos. (It’s an evolution of earlier tipping options, including Applause and Fan Funding.) 

Super Thanks, which is meant to convey fan appreciation, is the latest in a string of options YouTube is offering creators to monetize their audience, including Super Chats, Super Stickers and channel memberships.

YouTube is also testing livestream shopping videos which will let creators add a “view products” button to their live videos. This puts them into a space that’s seen a lot of activity lately from companies such as Amazon, Talkshop Live and Popshop Live

If any of this sound familiar… Yes, we’re basically looking at creator-led versions of a PBS pledge drive and the Home Shopping Network. And yet, despite the track record, neither option is a sure thing. Flipping the switch on Super Thanks might be easy enough but crowdfunding is hard work with inconsistent returns. And Americans have been slow to embrace livestream shopping on mobile devices, according to Kaya Yurieff’s Creator Economy newsletter.

YouTube does offer a creator fund (along with ad revenue) but the platform is like every other company right now doing their best to provide monetization opportunities that stop short of actually paying creators for their content — despite enjoying the benefits of free entertainment programming.

📈 TikTok announced Spark Ads which allows brands to sponsor trending content as it’s going viral. It seems like a good idea for all involved: brands get exposure, creators get paid. However there aren’t a lot of details on the program or how creators would opt in. For this to work consistently and at scale, the process would have to be automated and that seems tricky to do in real time — for example, can the content creator object to a particular brand? But it’s got potential.

⚖️ Instagram launched a “Sensitive Content Control” slider to let people decide what shows up in their Explore tab.

📝 Tumblr is letting bloggers offer paid subscriptions for premium content.

👍🏻 👎🏻 Twitter is testing a new feature that would allow you to upvote and downvote replies within a thread. Reddit, which pioneered the upvote and downvote, unlocked a major achievement by getting more engagement on their response to Twitter than the original message. 

🔵 Twitter’s also testing a new design for their power user product, Tweetdeck. And the response was… not good.

🔓 Clubhouse is no longer invite-only in case you were were curious.

💀 First, Joe Biden accused Facebook of killing people by allowing the spread of vaccine misinformation. Then he took it back. But, according to CNN, maybe the President had a point. Meanwhile, Bloomberg asked why isn’t YouTube getting criticized for the same disinformation? It’s like a warped game of whack-a-mole with no end in sight.

🌎 Mark Zuckerberg wants to bring the metaverse to life through Facebook. But he’d probably still be the villain tbh.

🧠 How does TikTok’s algorithm seem to know you so well? The Wall Street Journal experimented with different profiles and found it takes as little as 36 minutes to figure out exactly what you’re all about and push you deep into niche content.

🚀 Jeff Bezos went to space in a phallic rocket ship and Twitter rose to the occasion.

🎤 In the cannon of greatest TikTok Duets created — Mashed Potato, Grocery Store, Sea Shanties, etc. — this Franken-mix may join the list as one of the greatest duets.

🥇 The Olympics officially kick off today. As with everything on social media, what you see depends on who’s curating the account. But rules for athletes and their sponsors have loosened up a little.

📲 We’re all just background extras in each other’s content and this Starbucks employee has had enough.

🎓 In Session

I had some amazing guest speakers join my UCLA Extension classes for creators and entrepreneurs this Spring/Summer. I’m sharing some of the best advice or wisdom they shared.

“I have other Instagram accounts that are not as focused on food so that I can see things outside of my category and my niche for inspiration, because looking at your own category for inspiration is not that exciting. Nothing's new. You probably already have all of the ideas you need from your own category at this point.

So the best place to look is somewhere else. Some other category. I look at fashion stuff. I don't post fashion, but I look at fashion, beauty, gardening... I look at farm life, ducks and pigs. It's great.”

Sarah J. Gim of The Delicious 🥑 on looking beyond her niche for inspiration in order to keep evolving and growing as a creator