White House Hosts Creator Economy Conference: Why Govern When You Can Go Viral?

Ascannio / shutterstock.com
Ascannio / shutterstock.com

The “Creator Economy” seems like a slick marketing ploy to get people hooked on social media. However, the U.S. government is on board, with the White House planning a “Creator Economy Conference” to bring together industry experts, creators, and government officials to discuss their challenges and opportunities. They claim it will help shape policies, but I’m skeptical.

The White House says the conference will be the first event hosted by the Office of Digital Strategy. It will gather digital creators and professionals to discuss privacy, fair pay, AI, and mental health issues. The aim is to foster conversation and let attendees voice their concerns to Administration officials. The conference is supposed to help the Administration learn from these creators and professionals to inform policy decisions.

It’s a grand meeting where industry reps and government officials will supposedly ensure the government understands creators’ critical concerns. But let’s be honest; the opportunities in this space could be better.

Earlier this year, Kajabi, a creator monetization platform, reported that 96% of online creators earn less than $100,000 annually. Only a tiny fraction is making big bucks. Aspire, an influencer marketing platform, found similar results in 2022, with only 4.3% of creators making over $100k annually. A survey by Influencer Marketing Hub revealed that over 48% of creators earn $15,000 or less annually.

Moreover, 90% of all YouTube uploads never reach 1,000 views. While we hear about success stories like Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson turning his YouTube fame into a billion-dollar business, the reality is that making it as an online creator is incredibly tough. Most people won’t be able to turn their passion into profit through online posts.

The platforms love the “Creator Economy” concept because it suggests anyone can become a millionaire by posting what they like. This idea encourages more people to upload content and drives more traffic to their apps.

Sure, they’ll promote the “Creator Economy” all they can. Still, the truth is that, like any career or business venture, it takes hard work, planning, and natural creativity to succeed as an online creator. So, while online exposure offers more opportunities, I’m not convinced there’s a real “economy” here. Most benefits go to the platforms themselves.

The White House would do better to present the actual figures and compare these opportunities with other careers and business ventures. They should also highlight the dedication and effort required to make it as a small business because that’s essentially what being a creator is. Only about 5% of online creators will make it comparable to the success rates of novelists, graphic artists, musicians, and others.

Selling a dream might be appealing, but outlining reality is crucial too. The White House announced on June 28 that it will host the first-ever Creator Economy Conference in August, bringing together digital creators, industry professionals, and senior administration officials.

Christian Tom, the White House’s director of digital strategy, announced this at Vidcon, an annual convention for social media influencers. His office oversees the Biden administration’s online communication across social media, digital creators, and publishers.

Scheduled for August 14, the conference will tackle issues like artificial intelligence, fair pay, data privacy, and mental health, according to Mr. Tom, who is also an assistant to President Joe Biden.

“It will be the first of its kind, focused specifically on the creator economy,” he said.

Mr. Tom explained that the conference aims to create a dialogue between digital creators, industry professionals, and senior White House officials on “substantive topics that specifically address this community.” He emphasized that the creator economy is a multi-billion dollar industry vital to the United States’s economic and cultural landscape.

Mr. Tom added that the creator community needs an opportunity to voice its unique needs and that the White House needs to hear these directly for the first time.

Attendance is by invitation only, but interested digital creators can apply via an online form on the White House website.

Last week, the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) announced it would allow content creators to request credentials to access critical spaces during the convention. The event, at which Democrats are expected to nominate President Biden as their 2024 candidate formally, will be held in Chicago from August 19 to 22.