Death of the Follower

Patreon and Jack Conte aren’t perfect, but for quite a while when they made predictions/placed bets on changes in the creator economy — they were generally right.

All the “platforms” are definitely not prioritizing the “follow” mechanic as much as they used to. Arguably the only one that does is Substack, but even they’re doubling down on the “social media” aspect of their product lately.

And while I’ll always be “team ‘own your content’” and encourage everyone I know to have their own website, platforms like Patreon (and Buy Me a Coffee) really do feel like the best option for people who want to “create things” for a living.

However, their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness because any “platform” is always trying to pull off the balancing act between discoverability and “follows”.

Follows are worthless if getting followers doesn’t equate to getting a reliable following. But they’re also worthless if there are no discovery mechanisms to initially gain followers.

Recent changes in the YouTube algorithm makes it more appealing for creators. YouTube seems to be pushing smaller channels in the home feed (at least that’s been my experience in the past couple of weeks). But the “subscriptions” tab is still very much a “power user” feature for people who watch YouTube videos regularly.


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