TikTok is turning everyone into a micro-celebrity
The Future. TikTok is so popular that it’s making everyone seem popular on it… which is bad news for people who are actually popular. While that reality may seem elitist (and TikTok has propped up several unexpected and refreshing creators), the economic implications — payouts from ads and brand deals, consistency of views, every social platform’s race to mirror TikTok — could make a creator’s career unsustainable.
When everyone’s famous, no one’s famous
According to The Information, TikTok is minting everyone as a professional creator.
- Since TikTok’s algorithm optimizes the platform for entertainment rather than social networking, any user can go viral overnight thanks to the For You Page — a phenomenon TikTok wants to happen, according to COO Vanessa Pappas.
- But, since only 14% of a creator’s views come from their followers (according to an insider), the creator’s viewership overall can be wildly inconsistent.
- So, someone may have a million followers on TikTok — and there are more users with a million followers than on any other platform — but it may not be a good indicator that they are “influencers.”
That fragmentation of popularity dilutes the impact of creators who are actually popular (never mind the quality of the content being produced). Brendan Gahan, the chief social officer at creative agency Mekanism, says that TikTok has developed “inflation essentially within the creator economy.”
Influencers with no influence
That fleetingness and inconsistency of view is a major reason why creators on TikTok make significantly less than on other platforms, even though TikTok is now the largest and most popular social platform. Influencer-marketing firm NeoReach reports that American creators earned an average of $1,674 per month, compared to $4,118 on YouTube and $3,853 on Instagram.
This could potentially become a bigger issue as every major social platform is working overtime to remake itself in the image of TikTok. That’s understandable. (Although, there really only can be one TikTok.) But that could spell bad news for creators trying to grow a consistent following… and a semi-consistent living.