All These New Social Media Features Are Taking a Toll On Influencers
In recent days, Instagram redesigned its home page and Twitter launched Fleets, one after the other. The social media landscape hadn’t seen as much change since, well, three months ago, when Instagram launched its TikTok competitor Reels, shortly followed by Snapchat’s creator profiles. With so many of us living virtually this year, apps have been tripping over themselves to launch the next big “thing” that leapfrogs them ahead of the competition—but some creators say they’re being left in the lurch.
“Please I beg of these platforms to think of the people who already have to find content for Pinterest, Facebook, Facebook Stories, Instagram, Instagram Stories, TikTok, Reels, IGTV and Twitter,” YouTuber and online creator Gemma Tomlinson tweeted. “Also LinkedIn and YouTube sometimes. It’s too much!”
please I beg of these platforms to think of the people who already have to find content for Pinterest, Facebook, Facebook Stories, Instagram, Instagram Stories, TikTok, Reels, IGTV and Twitter. Also LinkedIn and YouTube sometimes. It’s too much! 😂— Gemma Tomlinson (@OMGgemma) November 17, 2020
Tomlinson posts sustainable and plant-based content for her 30,000 Instagram followers and almost 80,000 YouTube subscribers, and is also active on Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok. In addition to her personal pages, Tomlinson tells me over Twitter DM that she does freelance social media work for small businesses, and the increasing number of features a content creator must use to stay relevant is creating an inescapable “rabbit hole.”
“If I shoot a longer video, should that live on my YouTube channel or IGTV? Is the video shot in a way that it would even work well on both since one is portrait and one landscape? Facebook Watch—should it go there?” she says. “If I upload it to all of them to reach as many people as possible will that overwhelm and annoy the people who engage with my content everywhere? If they don’t watch a few YouTube videos because they caught the same thing on IGTV already will the YouTube algorithm assume they aren’t interested and stop showing them my content?”
Kat Molesworth, cofounder of the Creator Union, echoes Tomlinson’s concerns, and tells me over Twitter DM that the chaos is creating other problems, too.
“Really high quality pictures and videos aren’t quick to produce so you can become trapped in a cycle of creating below your best abilities to stay relevant in the eyes of the algorithm and audience,” she says.
“I wish [social media companies] understood that their value was driven by creators and that often the creators are showing up for free,” she adds.
In fact, while I was reporting this article, Instagram rolled out another feature—Guides, a longform content tool that they launched in a limited capacity earlier this year.
“I’ll just be over there, rocking back and forth in the corner,” Tomlinson said upon hearing the news. “It can be so overwhelming that it feels easier not to create anything at all.”