Under the current model, Creators on TikTok can only make a living if we're also full-time "Influencers". "Influencing" is getting paid to make and post content for consumer brands to market to followers. This model is beyond flawed. And, just like in every other industry, finding success is much harder without privilege, connections, and the ability to forego consistent pay. The most important voices on TikTok will be lost if we don't do something. I think we have a possible way forward with The WWWinfluencer Model, or the Patreon Plan... let's get into it.
As I personally undoctrinate, (I made that up, isn't it so good?!?) I have to constantly reevaluate my motivations, intentionally untangling my values from the dollar value. I am prioritizing what I want to do, instead of trying to find the "best" thing to do for the first time in my life. It feels deeply "wrong" not to use money as a compass for decisions, but it's also the only way to know what I ACTUALLY want to do without being swayed by my financial and work traumas.
I truly believed that a 6-figure job would bring me security and comfort. After immersing myself in a Corporate CULTure for two years at a Fortune 100 company, I know that there is no amount of money will make me feel safe and secure. "Financial security" does nothing to mitigate emotional insecurity, or unsafe environments ripe with systemic and interpersonal dehumanization.
I have spent 2+ years in therapy trying to heal and reduce my stress around my work trauma. I call it PPTSD (Post Professional Traumatic Stress Disorder), and I want to provide validation to others going through it because I felt very alone for a long time. But I would also love to provide an alternative mindset for those coming behind me.
I am finding myself much more hopeful when I think about the ripple effect of the change we are inspiring within my TikTok community. I mean, think about it. The fact that white strangers would go against their natural instincts, and voluntarily pay Black artists?? when it is not required of them?! WITHOUT RECOGNITION??... the ancestors would be floored!! And if authentic generosity is as infectious as I think it is, we may become a problem that money can't solve...
The WWWinfluencer model:
It's not what you know, but who you know... with a twist!
The Patreon Plan: Anti-capitalist mutual aid for Community Creators and their community.
Creators can be supported directly by their audience. Work together, investing directly into a shared safe space.
I discuss this a bit at the end of my most recent podcast episode if you want to hear/see more.