3 Alternatives to Clout

Photo by James Hartono on Unsplash

“Where is your biggest audience?” “How many followers do you have on _?” are 2 questions I had to answer if I wanted the opportunity to post on a new app called Faves (TikTok for business).

I don’t blame this app for using online clout as their barometer for curational ability. Generally,

good content = more people want to follow you

However, follower count is not a direct proxy for creation ability on a given platform. It’s that and…

your output frequency + getting promoted by mysterious algorithms [+ for a lucky few, a viral moment] + real world social capital + innate characteristics that give you an edge

And let’s be real, physical beauty remains a substantial edge for instagram, tiktok, and any platform with an avatar.

There’s talk of UCI/UBI but until we paradigm shift the attention metrics of the creator economy, we’re going to widen the gap between the fan-rich and the fan-poor.

Creators with high follow-counts will get more fans and transfer seamlessly between platforms, whilst everyone else will sing into an abyss or be forced to play the attention game, sacrificing time spent on their craft.

What are some alternatives to clout we could employ?

1. Dedication level. Do you have 2k followers that kinda like you or 20 that love you a lot? More platforms should borrow tinder’s “super-like” to differentiate the mildly amusing from the knock-you-off-your-socks.

2. Independent quality review. Writing contests are sprinkled in niche corners of the internet, but employing a diverse group of humans with expertise to judge quality isn’t mainstream. It’s time-consuming, but aren’t we looking for ways to pay creative people?

3. Proof of skills. Balaji’s 1729 project is modeling this fabulously. A transparent record of skills acquired and time devoted to learning or creating that could be applied to science, art, technology, etc.



PM @DISCO | Co-founder of The Farmlink Project

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