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What’s popping in the influencer space this week. The highlights, opportunities and challenges for influencers and content creators in the MOOTS platform roundup.

Snap Summary

🛑✋ Parents Urged to Limit Children’s Exposure to War Content on Social Media

📸✨ New Interactive Features Announced by Instagram

🔄📱 Threads Enhances Features to Compete with ‘X’ App

🌐🤖 Meta’s new AI Experiences

🕺🏆🇦🇺 TikTok Partners with BINGE for inaugural TikTok Awards (Australia)

🎵💲🚫 TikTok Explores Ad-Free Monthly Subscription

🎨✨ Canva launches Magic Studio

😀🍳 Google Emoji Kitchen

In the face of unfolding situation in Israel, this week we start our bulletin with an important update:

Parents Urged to Limit Children’s Exposure to War Content on Social Media

  • Parents advised to consider deleting TikTok and Instagram from children’s devices to shield them from violent extremist content.
  • This warning comes as Hamas threatens to broadcast the execution of Israeli hostages.
  • Schools are alerting parents to monitor their children’s online activity closely.
  • Various organisations are providing guidelines on discussing the Israel war and its distressing online imagery with children – check with your local school or cybersafety organisation.
  • The Anti-Defamation Commission’s Chair, Dvir Abramovich, suggests disabling or removing such social media apps for children’s safety.
  • The stance is supported by child psychologists and cybersafety experts.
  • Cybersafety expert, Susan McLean, mentions that extremist videos might not be immediately blocked by social media platforms.
  • Child psychologist Rose Cantali backs the idea of deleting apps, highlighting that even adults find the content distressing and young individuals might not comprehend its depth.
  • Cantali has noted an increase in children expressing distress over what they’ve witnessed on these platforms.

New Interactive Features Announced by Instagram

  • Instagram reveals new features targeting younger audiences including birthday shout-outs, selfie videos for Notes, and fresh group interaction capabilities.
  • Features were previewed at the ‘Instagram University’ event in New York.
  • Users will have additional methods to celebrate birthdays, with birthday effects on profiles and reminder notifications for connections.
  • The Notes inbox group chat feature, already popular with younger users, will soon support audio clips and selfie videos.
  • A new “close-friend groups” option will allow users to share Stories with select groups rather than public sharing.
  • Upcoming music features are in the works to boost creative expression within the app.
  • Other features in testing are ‘Crews’ for private Story sharing and a trivia game within Instagram live-streams.
  • These features aim to boost the platform’s attractiveness to users aged 16 to 25 and compete with TikTok’s growing appeal.

Opportunities for Influencers and Content Creators: Influencers and content creators can use these new features to foster a more intimate and interactive connection with their audiences, especially the younger demographic. The addition of music and trivia elements provides creators with fresh ways to create content and drive engagement, potentially making their content more appealing and versatile.

Challenges for Influencers and Content Creators: Adapting to these new features may require content creators to re-strategise their content planning and possibly invest time in learning new skills. With Instagram’s focus on private and close-friend groups, influencers might face challenges in reaching a broader audience if their content is limited to these specific groups.

Threads Enhances Features to Compete with ‘X’ App

  • Meta’s Threads app is introducing a host of new features to compete more effectively with ‘X’.
  • A “Trending Topics” feature is in the pipeline for Threads, which will spotlight top conversations within the app in real-time.
  • Threads aims to get closer to ‘X’ in terms of real-time news discussion, though it’s wary of leaning too heavily into news and politics.
  • The app is expanding post creation tools, including the addition of voice posts, GIFs, and in-stream polls.
  • An editing option, potentially with a time constraint after posting, is being tested by Threads.
  • The platform is exploring ways to promote user activity within Threads, both on Instagram profiles and within the Threads app.
  • Despite these innovations, it remains uncertain whether Threads will become a major social media contender.
  • ‘X’ app’s changes, especially regarding link previews*, have diverted attention towards Threads, especially among journalists and media organisations reevaluating their platform preferences.
  • * X is rolling out its new link preview format which will remove the headline and preview text, and only show the header image from your post

Opportunities for Influencers and Content Creators: With the addition of more tools on Threads, influencers and content creators have opportunity to diversify their content and engage their audience. The focus on real-time discussions provides an avenue for creators to lead and participate in trending conversations, thus boosting their visibility and engagement.

Challenges for Influencers and Content Creators: While Threads seems promising, the platform’s success isn’t guaranteed. Content creators will need to be wary of investing too much time and effort into a platform that might not provide a stable audience base in the long run. Additionally, navigating the nuances of a new platform, particularly in its early stages, can be challenging and time-consuming.

Meta’s new AI Experiences

  • AI Stickers: Meta is introducing a feature allowing influencers and content creators to generate personalised stickers based on text prompts. These can be used across WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook Stories.
  • AI-Enhanced Image Editing: Instagram will soon host “Restyle” and “Backdrop”, tools that allow influencers to dramatically transform and customise images, boosting visual content quality.
  • Meta AI Assistant: This tool, accessible across several platforms, offers real-time information and image generation, which could be integrated into influencers’ content, making it more dynamic and responsive.
  • AI Characters with Celebrity Personas: Meta is launching 28 AI characters with unique personalities, some represented by major celebrities. Influencers could potentially engage with these AI personas, offering fresh interaction avenues on platforms like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram.
  • AI Studio & Sandbox: Meta’s new platform will allow even those without coding experience to craft their own AI. This could lead to customised AI experiences tailored to an influencer’s audience or content theme.

Opportunities for Influencers and Content Creators: The introduction of these AI tools by Meta will enable influencers to create personalised stickers that resonate with their audience, AI-enhanced visuals that stand out, or engaging AI characters that add depth to their narratives – increasing the potential for richer, more interactive content.

Challenges for Influencers and Content Creators: While these tools offer creative advantages, there’s a learning curve involved. As with all new technologies, understanding how best to integrate AI into content without over-complicating or alienating audiences will be essential. As AI-generated content becomes more prevalent, maintaining authenticity and transparency with audiences about what’s human-made versus AI-generated will be crucial.

TikTok Partners with BINGE for inaugural TikTok Awards (Australia)

  • TikTok is transforming its end-of-year awards event, transitioning from the “For You Fest” to the newly introduced “TikTok Awards.”
  • The inaugural TikTok Awards, sponsored by CeraVe, is scheduled for 6 December at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.
  • The ceremony will spotlight the most-watched TikTok creators, the most significant viral trends, and notable moments from 2023.
  • The event will be co-hosted by Tony Armstrong, Abbie Chatfield, and 2022 Creator of the Year Kat Clark. Attendees can expect music performances, international guest appearances, and more.
  • A new partnership emerges as BINGE, a leading entertainment streaming service, will be broadcasting the TikTok Awards. This partnership will boost the event’s reach and integrate BINGE talents into the award show.
  • Fiona King from BINGE and Sophie Lacorne from CeraVe expressed excitement about their brands’ collaboration with TikTok, emphasising the synergy between their audiences and the TikTok community.

Opportunities for Influencers and Content Creators: Influencers and content creators have an incredible opportunity to be recognised on a larger scale through the TikTok Awards. The partnership with BINGE amplifies their reach, exposing them to wider audiences. And, collaborations with established brands like CeraVe can open doors to potential partnerships and sponsorships for creators.

Challenges for Influencers and Content Creators: With the evolution of the awards and the inclusion of high-profile brands and partners, there might be increased competition and standards for content creators. Staying relevant and innovative in such a dynamic environment could be challenging.

TikTok Explores Ad-Free Monthly Subscription

  • TikTok is trialing an ad-free monthly subscription plan.
  • During this test phase, the subscription is priced at $4.99 per month in the US.
  • Despite rumors, TikTok confirmed that this testing is happening in a single English-speaking market outside of the USA, not in the US itself.
  • Previously, TikTok’s revenue model was predominantly ad-driven, with features allowing users to directly subscribe to creators. This is TikTok’s first attempt at an ad-free subscription model where they collect directly from users.
  • Other platforms, like X (previously known as Twitter), already have ad-free subscriptions, such as X Premium. These platforms often provide other benefits along with ad-free experiences.

Opportunities for Influencers and Content Creators: The introduction of an ad-free subscription might change the dynamic of content consumption on TikTok. Influencers and content creators can potentially benefit from a more engaged audience, as users who pay for ad-free experiences might spend longer periods on the platform without ad interruptions. Additionally, the potential change in revenue distribution models might provide more direct monetisation avenues for creators.

Challenges for Influencers and Content Creators: With a new monetisation method in play, TikTok might update its algorithms or prioritise certain content types to encourage more users to opt for the subscription. Influencers and content creators will need to adapt to these potential changes to maximise their reach and engagement. Additionally, the overall reception and acceptance of this model by the larger TikTok community remains uncertain.

Canva Launches Magic Studio

  • Unified AI Platform: Magic Studio consolidates a range of AI tools within Canva, simplifying design processes for users regardless of their expertise.
  • Broad AI Integration: AI capabilities span across Canva’s entire platform, from the early stages of ideation to the final output.
  • Purposeful Design Solutions: Magic Studio isn’t just about the novelty; each tool addresses real-world design challenges, aiding in swift content creation, process automation, and expert-level design outputs.
  • Overcoming Blank Page Syndrome: Magic Design™ offers a solution for those horrid moments of staring at a blank canvas, streamlining the initial stages of creation.
  • Prompt-Based Design Creation: Users simply provide a written prompt, and Magic Design™ instantaneously turns these ideas into elaborate designs.
  • Media Upload to Design: Apart from textual prompts, users can initiate their design by uploading media. Magic Design™ then tailors the design around the uploaded content.
  • AI-Powered Curation: The tool identifies the user’s needs from their input and crafts sophisticated designs tailored specifically to them, all within mere seconds.
  • Customization & Branding: After generating the AI-curated design, users can further personalise it or seamlessly integrate their company’s Brand Kit for consistent branding.

Opportunities for Influencers and Content Creators: Magic Design™ provides influencers and content creators with the tools to significantly enhance their content quality and consistency. With AI-driven design capabilities, you can reduce the time from ideation to creation, allowing for more frequent and impactful content releases. TIP: Consider using Magic Design™ to update your Influencer Media Kit!

Challenges for Influencers and Content Creators: While Magic Design™ streamlines the design process, creators might face challenges in ensuring their unique style isn’t overshadowed by AI-generated designs. Maintaining originality and authenticity while using automated tools could be a delicate balance to strike.

Future of Influence: Collective Influence

  • The Creator Economy, kickstarted by YouTube’s launch in 2005, has significantly influenced the marketing landscape.
  • This evolution has transformed unknown individuals into celebrities based on their charisma, skills, and personalities.
  • Unique behaviours, codes, and language have developed around content creators and their platforms.
  • This Creator Economy provides brands with access to engaged and eager consumers.
  • Despite its advantages, the Creator Economy presents challenges like being at the whim of ever-changing platforms and algorithms.
  • Creators feel the pressure to constantly engage across various platforms, leading to potential “always on” stress.
  • Parasocial relationships, where followers feel a one-sided intimate bond with creators, can lead to boundary issues and fans overstepping.
  • Creator burnout is a significant concern, with burnout rates ranging from 61% to 90% in various studies.
  • As many as 71% of creators have contemplated leaving their careers due to stresses like platform changes, unstable incomes, and constant production pressure.
  • Creators often face content fatigue, difficulty in disconnecting, and feelings of isolation.
  • Relationships between creators and other entities (platforms, brands, communities) are becoming more transactional in nature.

Opportunities and Challenges: The rise of the Creator Economy offers new stars a platform to shine, and gives brands direct access to dedicated audiences. However, the very platforms that propel the Creator Economy forward also place heavy burdens on creators. Navigating platform instability, the mental toll of “always on” culture, and blurred personal boundaries, leads to many to confront burnout and the potential loss of authentic connections.

Source: We Are Social Future of Influence Report

Google’s Emoji Kitchen

Today’s MOOTS ICYMI started with such a heavy piece. Creator burnout is a challenge we all face, most especially as our world faces trauma escalating at a horrific pace. A distraction from the heaviness of these events can be welcome – whether that be offline (recommended!), or online.

You may like to take a moment and step into Google’s Emoji Kitchen. Introduced in early 2020 for Gboard on Android devices, Emoji Kitchen lets users craft unique sticker versions of Google’s emoji designs. By September 2023, this feature expanded to Google search on various devices. How does it work? When users input two emojis, the feature often suggests a combination of those two. Inputting the same emoji twice? Expect an amplified “doubled up” version of that emoji. Interestingly, some emojis share identical Emoji Kitchen designs.

As of December 2022, the feature boasts support for over 650 emojis, including those from Emoji 14.0 and a few from Emoji 15.0, leading to nearly 30,000 potential combinations. However, flags are yet to be included, and only a few gesture and person emojis like 👍 Thumbs Up and 🤷 Person Shrugging are supported.

A nostalgic twist came in summer 2021, reintroducing designs inspired by Google’s beloved blob emoji set (2013-2017). Users can access these by pairing a  Magic Wand or a ✨ Sparkles emoji with another eligible emoji, revealing the blob design as the primary option in Emoji Kitchen.

With love and peace to you all.

Peace Dove and Love - from Karan's Emoji Kitchen