Can I make money from posting?

published in

18 de May de 2021


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Every relevant content on the web will soon turn into a subscription service

In 2006, two leading thinkers of technology and the Internet, Yochai Benkler and Nicholas Carr made a bet. The first claimed that most of the content posted on social media would be produced for free, solely motivated by pleasure and self-exposure. The latter foresaw that in the future the major social media platforms would eventually come to pay users for the content they post on them.

But who won that bet? Not long ago, Benkler was winning. After all, only a handful of celebrities and influencers get paid for their content. However, a seismic shift seems to be underway. Carr has now gained the upper hand as a whole new generation of platforms is emerging. Their motto is precisely to get content creators paid, even small ones.
Yet, it’s worth remembering that content creation is always a modality of work. Nowadays, many are willing to do it for free. However, their work creates value that in most cases is appropriated by the platform. But this has changed. New platforms such as OnlyFans, Patreon, Substack, or the online game Roblox have grown precisely because creators can get make cash in them.

For those who don’t know, OnlyFans, Patreon, and Substack allow any user to charge a monthly subscription (or an individual amount) to access their content. The service allows you to view photos, videos, and texts locked behind a paywall (the famous “subscriber-only” feature).

Since 2016, OnlyFans has distributed over $2 billion in revenues to its creators. Even good ol’ email newsletters seem to have come back to life. Many of the most interesting content found on the internet today is hosted on Substack, which allows users to create email newsletters and charge for users accessing them.
This modality of services has fulfilled a prophecy made years ago by Kevin Kelly, yet another thinker of the Internet. He envisioned that anyone with 500 assiduous fans would be able to make a living from them, provided they agreed to pay $50 a year to access their content. This would lead to the emergence of a new “middle class” of autonomous creators.
Of course, this change has put enormous pressure on traditional platforms. It is now commonplace to run into accounts on Instagram or Twitter that are just “samples” of actual content, which has migrated to OnlyFans or Substack. Fearing to become mere showcases, platforms are fighting back.

For that matter, several of them have started to dig deeper into their pockets. TikTok, for example, has set aside a $2 billion fund to pay content creators. New platforms such as Zynn have got straight to the point: they are hiring celebrities to move onto the platform, by offering them a salary and everything else. For its part, Twitter has copied its competitors and announced the creation of a subscription service allowing the most popular tweeters to charge for their tweets.
This movement can be compared to what has happened with banking services: once concentrated in banks, they are now provided in an unbundled way by an array of new players.

And that also means the triumph of paywalls. Those readers who protest every week that they can’t read my articles because they don’t subscribe to Folha will soon be grumbling more and more. Every relevant content on the web tends to migrate to a subscription service soon. And that shall be the ultimate triumph of #forsubscribersonly.

What’s out Joining collective email newsletters
What’s in Substack’s growing success
What’s next A significant part of the most interesting content on the Internet will be distributed by email newsletters through Substack

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