It’s tough to break large monopolies, particularly in social media. The big players have staked out their turf. They jealously guard their territory and consumers tend to gravitate to the providers with the largest reach.
Facebook has the social networking wrapped up. Youtube has the videos cornered. Twitter has the short form communication dominated. Instagram owns the image sharing market and Linkedin has the business sector. How does an up and comer possibly chip into those markets.
Remember Myspace? Only 15 years ago it was the largest social networking site in the world and it held that title for years. It seemed that nobody would replace it. Facebook blew it out of the water and while Myspace still exists, it is essentially a backwater echo on the internet now.
The lesson here is that any current social media monolith can be knocked down even if it looks impossible right now.
We are due for a sea change among these providers and perhaps we are starting to see evidence that one is coming.
The news that Joe Rogan has signed a deal with Spotify and will be removing his content from Youtube and Apple by this September has rocked the social media world.
Joe Rogan is undeniably one of the top podcasters on earth with his show garnering a staggering 190 million downloads per month. Rogan’s video version is popular as well with 8.4 million Youtube subscribers. Apple and Youtube will now be losing that massive amount of traffic along with the associated revenue.
Apple and Youtube are massive and this move will hardly financially cripple them as platforms. The loss of such a prolific producer of content for them is significant and will have ramifications. People often follow the leader and other major content producers are surely re-examining where they distribute their productions now when they hadn’t considered it only a few weeks ago.
Content hosts such as Youtube, Twitter and Facebook have forgotten who draws that lucrative traffic to them. These platforms feel that they have become too big to fail and that has allowed a lot of arrogance to creep into how they treat people who create content. With ever increasing de-platforming taking place, particularly among conservative creators, social media giants are creating a demand for a new platform. The heavyweights have already forgotten the fate of Myspace and perhaps that is a good thing.
Spotify is hardly a lightweight in the social media world but it was tiny compared to Apple and Youtube. For them to have grabbed an exclusive deal with such a major personality as Rogan is an incredible coup. It has demonstrated that competition still exists and that social media giants can only take their content creators for granted for so long.
Tiring of the increasing squeeze from social media giants, some content producers have been working on creating their own platforms in order to get their shows out.
David Rubin, host of the “Rubin Report” has launched a new platform called “Locals”
De-funding conservative commentators has gone hand in hand with general de-platforming. Patreon provided a service where readers/viewers could directly sponsor the content providers they enjoyed. The problem was, Patreon notoriously and shamelessly shuts down conservative content creators.
Frustrated with this, Rubin created a whole new platform where people could create content and make money while remaining immune from censorship. Aside from outright illegal content, people can create, post and try to gain a following with whatever content they please.
Locals is subscription based. That does make things tough. People are programmed for “free” content and are often loathe to dig out their wallets and directly spend on content. This formula does inspire creators to make content which will grab and retain those subscribers. It can be lucrative and the creator won’t need to fear having the rug pulled out from under them.
With a subscriber based system, quality of discourse among platform users immediately improves as well. It is nearly impossible to have a rational discussion on a topic with a horde of anonymous trolls who flood Twitter and Youtube commentary. It reminds me of when I played online poker. When playing in the free games, the play was horrible. People went all in on a whim and didn’t really care about the game. When entering even a 25 cent entry tournament however, they play became incredibly better. With even that tiny investment, people felt compelled to take it seriously.
Its going to be a tough slog all the same. Time will tell if Locals takes off. I sure hope it does.
Thinkspot was created around Dr. Jordan Peterson and has a similar goal and subscription based platform.
The intent of Thinkspot is to have some uncensored and reasoned postings from thought leaders and to have reasonable debate and discourse on these postings.
Hopefully this platform grows as well.
No new platform is taking the social media world by storm yet but it is inevitable that one eventually will. Frustration with the de-platforming of voices will surely be one of the prime drivers in this change.
Who or what comes about to replace the current content hosting status-quo remains to be seen. When we see folks like Joe Rogan moving away from what was considered to be the traditional platforms, we see a shift in thinking beginning. Rogan can afford to go wherever he likes. It is tougher for smaller creators to do so. Rogan is blazing the trail though and hopefully it leads to a larger exodus from the social media heavyweights.
Without creators, Youtube, Apple and Facebook are nothing. Its time that they were reminded of that.