Death of the Follower & the Future of Creativity on the Web with Jack Conte | SXSW 2024 Keynote
This conference is a keynote by Jack Conte, CEO of Patreon, at South by Southwest, focusing on the evolution of the internet, the concept of the "true follow," and the future direction of Patreon and the creator economy. Conte shares his journey as an artist and the genesis of Patreon, emphasizing the transformation from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, and how this enabled creators like him to reach a broader audience and build a following. He discusses the critical shift brought about by platforms like Facebook and TikTok, which moved away from the direct connection between creators and their audiences to algorithm-driven content delivery. This shift, he argues, threatens the core of the creator-follower relationship by undermining the direct and sustained connection crucial for building communities and successful creative careers.
Conte introduces the concept of "true fans" — a small, dedicated segment of an audience willing to support creators financially, enabling them to pursue their creative endeavors sustainably. He critiques the current state of the internet for creative work, emphasizing the need for a platform that prioritizes deep connections between creators and fans over superficial metrics like views and follows. He outlines Patreon's evolution from a membership platform to a comprehensive ecosystem supporting creators with tools for community building, commerce, and content distribution, focusing on nurturing true fans and fostering genuine connections.
He concludes with personal advice for creators navigating the changing digital landscape: invest in deep connections with true fans, prioritize creating meaningful and fulfilling work over catering to algorithms, and stay true to one's desires and goals as a creator. Conte's message underscores a vision for a more supportive and connected internet for creators, where the value of creative work is recognized, and deep, meaningful connections between creators and their audiences are cherished and maintained.
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