The creator economy finds community

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The Future. These days, every social platform wants to be more like Discord or Reddit — places where people can gather with like-minded folks and find entertainment, belonging, and support. They also want to put creators at the center of those communities. But it’s a trend far bigger than just the creator economy, encompassing industries as varied as film and online dating. The most successful of these communities may be the ones that get people off their computers, out of their homes, and into places where members can meet face-to-face.

Group chat
The creator economy is putting the “social” back in social networks.

  • Platforms like Patreon, Kajabi, WhatsApp, Fourthwall, and Automattic are redesigning their platforms to cater more to creators who can communicate and monetize their communities.
  • While that doesn’t sound very different from social shopping and content-plus subscriptions, the focus is on making it easier for creators to have more of a back-and-forth with their fans.
  • That includes beefing up messaging capabilities, conference calls, personalized notifications, “close friends” features, and, yes, hubs for exclusive content.

There are several reasons for the quick shift to community — what Kajabi head of products Teri Yu describes as a place for “developing relationships, supporting each other, [and] helping each other answer questions.” It’s a way to make subscriptions more “sticky,” help address the growing loneliness epidemic (especially among young people), and provide an alternative to social shopping, which hasn’t been the silver bullet companies expected it to be.

But, maybe more cynically, travel startup Dharma summed up the appeal when it wrote to investors that “belonging is the new luxury.”

May we all feel luxurious.


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