Peggy K's Creator Weekly: YouTube's 2023 Priorities, Meta AI Personas, Flipboard's Federated Future
New this week: YouTube’s priorities for 2023 (and how to get YouTube support), Flipboard’s future is federated, and Meta is working on AI personas. Plus there are updates for video creators, productivity, social media and more.
YouTube’s 2023 Priorities
YouTube’s new head, Neal Mohan, shared YouTube’s priorities for 2023. The short version: more Shorts features, more podcasting features, more shopping, and, of course, “AI”. And there were a few more stats shared by Leo Olebe, YouTube’s head of gaming.
The latest numbers
Over 500 hours of content uploaded every minute
50 billion daily views of Shorts in 2022
Over 120 billion watch hours of gaming related content in 2022
Over 500 million logged-in Daily Active Viewers of gaming content globally in December 2022
Hundreds of thousands of channels “earned money for the first time” in 2022
6 million viewers paid for channel Memberships in December 2022, an increase of 20% over December 2021
6 billion videos have been automatically captioned and more than 1 billion viewers per day watch videos with captions enabled
Over the past year YouTube doubled the number of creators with direct support (although it’s still a relatively small percentage)
YouTube is expanding and improving non-ad monetization options, including subscriptions, shopping, and paid digital goods.
YouTube will be expanding access to the new language tracks feature that allows videos to have audio tracks in multiple languages.
This is in addition to the machine-translated captions available in 16 languages that were announced at Google I/O last May.
It’s all about Shorts
Most of the new features in the works are for Shorts:
Remix clips into Shorts
Easily make Shorts from gaming content
Record a Short side-by-side with another video, TikTok style.
I thought we had hit peak podcast, but apparently YouTube still wants in.
There will be more video and audio-only podcasts in YouTube music, podcast management tools in YouTube Studio (currently being tested) and later this year RSS integration to make it easier for podcasters to import their content
YouTube does not exist in a bubble. It is affected by politics and policies around the world. And so they do speak up. The latest is the European Union’s new Regulation on Political Ads, which is still being shaped.
YouTube’s position is that “political advertising should only apply to paid-for political content and ads, rather than potentially all political content online”. The current definition is apparently so broad that it could include any content that touches on societal issues and debate, including human rights, the economy, climate change and more. Apparently none such content could be recommended by YouTube under the proposed policy.
It sounds to me like that would heavily favor whoever is currently in power, as legislators, world leaders and well-known commenters would remain highly visible in popular mainstream media (which also posts content to YouTube), but smaller voices would become even less visible than they are now.
Of course, AI
The current trendy technology is content created by “AI”, such as text-to-image generators like Stable Diffusion and chatbots like ChatGPT.
YouTube says they are working on integrating AI into creator tools:
"Creators will be able to expand their storytelling and raise their production value, from virtually swapping outfits to creating a fantastical film setting through AI’s generative capabilities."
But it’s going to take some time, as YouTube wants to "embrace this technology responsibly".
I think using AI for augmented reality and editing tools is a natural fit for YouTube, and I’m looking forward to seeing what becomes available.
And that is much more interesting than the vague "we know NFTs are trendy, so we are mentioning them" in Susan Wojcicki's January 2022 letter. And no, I haven’t seen mention of NFTs since.
YouTube Support in English
Posting to the official YouTube English help community has been turned off, as the support team works on improvements. You can read the announcement here.
Why is YouTube support making this change ?
“This forum has always been a place for users and creators to discuss YouTube with each other, and share tips and ideas to help each other get the most out of YouTube products and services. Unfortunately, many threads are not relevant for user-based discussion and a large amount of questions go unanswered. Our goal is to ensure this can be a helpful space for all of you, so we’ll be using this time and these experiments to inform the long term plan for this forum – more to come!”
So how can you get YouTube help?
This only affects the English language help community. There are YouTube help communities in Arabic, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese. If you speak one of those languages, you can post your question in one of those help communities.
You may be eligible for direct support! Start here.
Check out the answers to frequently asked questions.
Team YouTube provides support on Twitter.
If you are trying to get support in English and have run into a problem doing that, I am interested in hearing about it. I can’t necessarily get you support, but I can pass on feedback about the process to YouTube.
More YouTube and Video Updates
Will adding Shorts hurt your long-form video channel? YouTube Creator Liaison Rene Ritchie says no, and it may actually help your channel.
There is an interesting discussion on Twitter with YouTube creators sharing their numbers from the new Shorts ad revenue sharing. It’s not big bucks - RPM (revenue per 1000 views) seems to be at most $0.06. But that is apparently better than TikTok and Instagram Reels revenue.
TikTok has a new “Sounds for Business” library of music and other audio cleared for commercial use on the platform. Small (and big) business owners may not realize that not all music that is available for “organic” content is licensed for videos promoting their business. This makes it easy to find the right sound. You can find the library here.
Facebook Reels can now be up to 90 seconds long. And you can create ready-made Reels from Facebook Memories.
Taylor Lorenz reports for the Washington Post how so-called meme pages are posting horrifically violent and gory Reels on Instagram to “boost engagement”. With high engagement they can charge more for sponsored posts (mostly for OnlyFans models).
WordPress is turning 20 in May, with celebrations planned. They even have a Spotify jazz playlist (WordPress’s versions are named after jazz musicians) and special logos.
Meta is the latest company to dedicate a tech team to inserting “delightful experiences” with AI into their products. Mark Zuckerberg announced they are working on “AI personas”, text in WhatsApp and Messenger, and creative Instagram filters and ad formats.
Social news aggregator Flipboard says “the future is federated”. If you have a Mastodon account (on their new Flipboard.social server or elsewhere), you can connect it to your Flipboard account and then interact with your Mastodon timeline in Flipboard. It sounds like you will have access to most Mastodon features (reply, favorite, boost and post), and Flipboard features (flip a Mastodon post into your Magazines). This is in beta for iOS, with Android coming soon.
Snapchat now lets you pause or restore a broken streak. But only the first restore is free. Subsequent streak restores cost 99 cents. And pausing your streak requires a Snapchat+ subscription. It makes sense to offer this with gamified features like Snapchat streaks. It will be interesting to see if more platforms follow suit.
LinkedIn has launched “collaborative articles”. They start with “AI-powered conversation starters” that are matched with an expert on LinkedIn who writes an article with professional advice. Participants can earn a Community Top Voice badge and potentially bring in new followers .
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky platform has launched on iOS. It’s currently invite-only and apparently pretty minimal. It’s big selling feature is that it uses “Authenticated Transfer Protocol” which can be used to create a federated decentralized social network. It isn’t immediately clear why that was developed when ActivityPub, used by Mastodon and others in the Fediverse, already exists.
Reddit now lets you search for comments within a post (no more “cmd-f”).
Ryan Broderick, of the Garbage Day newsletter, thinks he might have cracked the code for viral posting on Twitter. And it explains why it feels like Twitter is getting less useful for sharing links. In short, quote tweet viral posts, then reply to yourself a bunch of times.
The big takeaway for me is that instead of being an app that prioritizes breaking news content or, at the very least, quickly developing trends, Twitter is now Reddit moving at the speed of Tumblr. What goes viral here feels more like what goes viral everywhere else.
— Ryan Broderick (@broderick)
Feb 27, 2023
Juliette Kayyem writes for The Atlantic that “Elon Musk has broken disaster-response Twitter”. And John Worth writes “In EU politics we treated Twitter as a social network, not as a digital public infrastructures - and built it all on a platform we don’t control.”
TikTok is running an awareness campaign for Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
Pinterest’s collage-creation app Shuffles is now available in 9 new countries in Europe, in addition to US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and Ireland. The app is only available for iOS.
A new feature coming to Android is a Google Keep single note widget. If you have a note with your shopping list in Keep (like I do), you can check off items in the list right on your home screen. You can get more detailed information here.
Background noise cancellation is now available in Google Meet meetings on most Android phones. This filters out sounds that are not people talking. That means that if you want non-voice audio to come through, like music playing, make sure to turn off noise cancellation.
If you use Google Chat Spaces with a Google Workspace account, be aware that starting March 13 all new Spaces will have in-line threading, and it will not be possible to create a Space with conversation topics. Spaces that use conversation threads now will be converted to in-line threading later this year. Note that if you use a personal Google account, in-line threading in Chat Spaces is already the default.
Google Product Expert Somnath has an excellent tutorial on how to sign in to multiple Google accounts in a browser.
Google Sheets has improved filters. Follow the link for more details.
I’m also reading
Elizabeth Weil writes for New York Magazine “You Are Not a Parrot. And a chatbot is not a human. And a linguist named Emily M. Bender is very worried what will happen when we forget this.”
Ed Finn in Slate’s Future Tense writes about the future of search. He notes that when Bing or Google’s chatbot responds to a question, the websites that are the source of information are hidden. “A list of search results, however curated and manipulated it might be, still stands as a reminder that there might be competing and conflicting answers to your question.”
Lonzijun has a great roundup of free online tools for exploring your musical creativity.
“The cutting edge” is a nicely illustrated feature from Reuters about “How new drone technology is helping scientists in the uphill battle against plant extinction”.
In this time of virtual conferences and online classes it is surprising to learn about significant gaps in those options. That’s why it is good news that content on Harvard Medical School’s Continuing Education channel can now be used for clinicians to claim towards meeting their Continuing Medical Education or Continuing Nursing Education requirements. And the content is available to everyone who is interested in medicine.
Microsoft is tweaking the chat bot in the new Bing preview. You can choose to get responses that are “more creative”, “more precise” or a balance. And they have “improved some chat behaviors that previously would have unnecessarily constrained responses or made them appear defensive or adversarial.”
Header image background: Photo by Proctor from Pixabay. Free for commercial use. Source: https://pixabay.com/images/id-187705/