Since authors designed Smartlike, it covers all the creator’s needs (naturally). But there is one reason, apart from all the functionality, why we need an app like Smartlike. Here it comes.
If this post were a YouTube video, I’d stretch it to over 12 minutes, no matter the content, and in total disregard of viewers’ interests. Why? Because then the Tube will display two ads, improving my ranking with their algorithm and making everyone more money.
If this were a Medium.com article, I’d be forced to write it ten times in slightly different ways to generate a new post daily. Why? Because Medium favors consistency.
If this were an Instagram post, I’d spend more time thinking about #Hashtags than the actual post. Why? To increase visibility. To succeed, authors must create specifically for the platform and less for our audience.
As a creator you own nothing
No matter what platform I focus on, I’d also live in constant fear that any of them might change their algorithms. Medium, for instance, changed theirs recently, halving the income of many authors abruptly. YouTube is even more frightening. Their recent change will put hundreds of thousands of channels out of an income, suddenly ineligible for ad-revenue sharing.
Many authors diversify by using a subscription service like Patreon, cut out the middleman (and woman), and have a direct financial connection with their audience.
Turns out that Patreon is a business like all others, middlemen themselves. They are gatekeepers and decide who can or cannot earn money. If an author is thrown out of the YouTube ad program, chances are Patreon might follow. Controversial author Jordan Peterson can tell you a thing or two about that. (Btw, I am not a fan of his messages, but I would have a tough time censoring him.)
Imagine you spent years creating content, publishing on platforms, building your audience. Heck, it was authors like you who made the platforms what they are today. And suddenly, with a snap of a finger, you are out of income. You grew your business on leased land.
Independence: Hello, loneliness
I am not the first commentator to point this out. Most give the very cheap advice: “make your own platform, become independent.” Yeah, right. That’s like moving your handbags from Saks on Fifth Avenue to your own shop in Bugtussle, Kentucky. Sure, you’ll have a shop full of your hard work, but who’s going to notice it? My personal platform is in the Bugtussle of the internet. It’s real enough, but after years invested on the other platforms, it is never going to perform as well as the Saks-level YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram.
What authors really need is an additional way to create visibility as well as an additional way to monetize without depending on the whims of another Silicon Valley money-maker platform. And please throw in transparent algorithms to get a sense of stability.
Drum-roll for Smartlike
Smartlike was born out of the pain of authors like me. We want to create, but we need a piece of the cake in order to live. Smartlike can be a vehicle to get that.
The app has two primary functions: visibility and monetization. Fans can give financial appreciations either as subscriptions (like Patreon) or on the spur of the moment for as little as one penny. These appreciations – we call them smart likes [J2] – are the basis for a content recommendation engine that lets users personalize the best stuff across the web. The more money your content receives, the higher the visibility in the recommendation engine. This makes more money, more views – the cycle delivering to an audience who will engage thanks to the recommendation. That is the core functionality, but here comes what we authors desire:
You don’t have to change a thing, work with all your channels and all existing revenue streams. Just add Smartlike as an additional income stream. When users surf on the Smartlike platform, their clicks lead them to your Youtube videos or your native blog. You get more organic views.
You never really deal with Smartlike financially. You have a direct connection with your fans. We don’t take a cut, we don’t store your data on our servers, we can’t sell your profile, and we can’t censor you. All data is encrypted so only you can read it.
Smartlike proves these claims: our code and our algorithm is open source. Everyone – well, every programmer – can check.
Smartlike gives you control, but it also gives you responsibility. We’ll do our best to help everybody and mediate problems. But we need both the support of the community and the understanding that we are not a business in a classical sense and thus have limits.
Collaboration is the new platform
We all use one or many platforms – Facebook, Amazon, Uber, Google, and a host of others. They have one attribute in common; there are always three distinct participants: consumer, professionals (sellers with Amazon, drivers with Uber, and companies placing ads with the others) and the platform itself. Power always lies with the platform owner. In a growing market, all three participants can flourish. But when the market is saturated, the platform owner starts to squeeze the other participants like a lemon to maximize profit.
Take social media platforms. We users create all the content and provide all the usage – for free. The platform controls every aspect of our experience to sell ads most profitably. This can be manipulative and unfair as with Facebook selling our data to Cambridge Analytica, who, in turn, uses this to influence elections.
This still worked in the 2010s when platforms had only just become ubiquitous in our lives. But we learn and can’t be taken for a fool forever. More and more people voice their discomfort with Facebook. Many feel that the platform abuses their data and trust. Some leave as Facebook’s declining user base might indicate.
Let’s make the 2020s the decade of collaborative platforms. Platforms where every participant benefits in the same way, where rules and algorithms are transparent, where the goal is not to grow numbers at all costs but to make existing users thrive. The advances in software technology allow us to make code rule. Authors and their fans don’t have to trust Smartlike. All our code is transparent and public. We use so-called decentralized and encrypted data. This means we don’t host it, own it, and or control it. Every participant controls her own data.
Let’s make Smartlike the beacon of the collaborative era. I am in. Are you?
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