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Creator Weekly: Go Live Together, Twitter API, AI-generated content

Dear readers, I hope you are staying warm! 

This week YouTube launched the option to “Go Live Together” using the mobile app; Google will automatically create a Google Analytics 4 property for your site, if you don’t; Twitter announced they are ending free access to their API, likely killing many fun (and useful) bots and third party services; new Twitter alternatives launched and more.

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Black History Month

February is Black History Month, so it’s a great time to discover new creators, art and history as Black creators are highlighted around the web.

Google is highlighting Black artists and creators of apps, games, books, Chrome background art and more.

The Google Arts & Culture site has an updated Black History and Culture hub.

YouTube Music has a Black History on YouTube playlist with “iconic moments in music video history”

You can discover Black creators on YouTube with highlighted channels on cooking, style and beauty, relaxation and wellness, family, tech, entrepreneurship and gaming.

There is a #BlackTikTok programming hub in the TikTok app, with creator spotlights, livestreams and music playlists.

The Lift Black Voices hub on Facebook has exclusive content from Black creators.

Instagram is asking for participants to #ShareBlackStories

Meta has more Black History Month programming on Facebook, Instagram, and VR content for the Meta Quest 2.

Twitch is highlighting Black streamers and has live Black History Month events for creators.

Pinterest is launching “Find Your Routes”, a curated Black Travel Hub. It is inspired by The Negro Motorist Green Book, the “bible of black travel” during the Jim Crow era in the United States.

Snapchat is offering a collection of Black History Month Lenses and Black History Month Spotlight Challenges with $40,000 in cash prizes.

Tumblr highlights Black excellence in art.

YouTube wants you to follow standout Black Shorts creators.

Go Live Together on YouTube

YouTube is rolling out the option to invite a guest to your live stream, which they call “Go Live Together”. It’s pretty simple: start a live stream on your mobile phone, then share a link to invite a guest to join you live.

The live stream is only available on the host’s channel, and only the host will receive monetization revenue.

If your channel is enabled for mobile live streaming, you may already have this option available.

No more free access to the Twitter API

On Wednesday, Twitter announced that they are removing free access to the Twitter API starting February 9. 

A week’s notice is better than just shutting down the service, but it’s still pretty lousy.

This will likely cause many of the fun and useful bots to shut down, from daily art and animals, to automated weather or news updates. And it will affect third party tools for posting, blocking, migrating to Mastodon, and possibly even using Twitter to sign in to other sites. It may also prevent academic researchers from analyzing the spread of misinformation on the platform.

What’s more,Twitter has not yet announced how much API access will cost (and I can’t imagine why this wouldn’t be part of the original announcement). Current free API users will have little time to set up funding for access if it does turn out to be within their budget.

CEO Musk announced this change is meant to shut out “scammers and opinion manipulators”, but it isn’t clear those types of posters are even using the API. Of course, there is no way to know if that’s the real reason. There’s speculation that this is meant to block Mastodon cross posting or force people to visit to post (and see ads) or maybe the new Twitter just doesn’t like developers.

So what is happening?

Technologist Tim Chambers is collecting a list of good Twitter bots moving to Mastodon. You can find the list in this Google Doc. And some automated content from businesses or government organizations may remain on Twitter if the price is right.

But the bigger implications for Twitter functionality across the web remains to be seen. One change I expect to see is social media management platforms (for example, Buffer), removing Twitter posting from their free tier. Or features like Streamlab’s automatic Tweet when you go live may be removed. 

Web Content

If you have been putting off switching from Universal Google Analytics to the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4), Google will migrate your site automatically in March. I got an email notice, and there is more detailed information here. If you have a Blogger blog, you can add the GA4 tracking ID in your blog’s Settings.

Google has been testing “Content Ideas” in Search Console, but that experiment will be ending March 28. It’s not clear if Google is dropping it entirely or if they will continue to experiment in the future. For what it’s worth, it sounds very much like YouTube’s “Content Gaps” that you can find on your channel’s Analytics Research tab.

The Noto family of fonts was designed by Google to support thousands of different languages. You can access them in Google Fonts, and add them directly in Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides and Blogger. Fun tip: try the Noto Emoji font to add characters to your document.

Google Docs, Sheets and Slides has improved color selection options, either by using an eyedropper tool to select a color on your screen, or entering RGBA values.

Beehiiv, which powers the email version of this newsletter, is adding more customization options to the website that goes along with your newsletter. I’m getting the sense that newsletters are just email-first blogs.

YouTube and Video

This is the first week that YouTube channels in the YouTube Partner Program can earn from Shorts. It’s probably too early to say how well it’s working, but if you are a Partner with Shorts content, you can filter your revenue reports in YouTube Studio by “Shorts” to see your stats. So far I have earned $0.002 - less than a penny - from Shorts Feed ads, so I’m not expecting this to be a big money maker.

YouTube Analytics also shows new metrics for live streamers: hours streamed (in Advanced view) and peak and average concurrent viewers. Learn more about live stream metrics.

If you post video on your own website or blog, the Google Search Console Video Indexing report has been updated to show daily video impressions (not plays) over time. You can also filter the data to only show reports for pages in a particular sitemap.

TikTok is implementing a “strike” system for violations of the Community Guidelines. Severe violations (such as child sexual abuse or promoting violence) may result in a permanent ban for the first strike. Otherwise strikes expire after 90 days. Multiple active strikes may result in a ban. They will soon be adding an “account status” page and other information so that creators can be kept informed and appeal if they think a strike is in error.

The Verge’s Alex Heath visited TikTok’s “transparency center” and felt that it was designed “to show people what it thinks they want to see”, with technical explanations “designed for a typical member of Congress to grasp.”

Twitch shared an overview of their plans for 2023. They plan more tools for creators to promote their content on other platforms (for example creating short vertical video clips), highlighting Upcoming Streams and Pinned Clips, improving ads, improving community building tools and more. If you are a Twitch streamer, check out the link for details.

Twitch will now show Follower and Sub Goals on your channel. Testing showed this helped creators reach their goals more quickly.

Social Media

Twitter supposedly started ad revenue sharing with creators on February 3, for ads that appear in reply threads. To be eligible you need to pay $8 per month for a Twitter Blue subscription. (Note: you should not pay money for a very slim chance to earn money.) But it’s not clear that Twitter has actually developed revenue sharing functionality, and even if they have done so, earnings are likely to be pennies, even for people who post click bait with long reply threads. Since it doesn’t seem to be mentioned in the Twitter help center, this may have just been a CEO wish (or maybe a ploy to get people to subscribe to Twitter Blue).

According to Matt Navarra, Twitter is emailing businesses to offer gold check mark verification for $1000 per month. If the business wants to add “affiliates”, those are an additional $50 per month each. It will be interesting to see which brands decide to pay. It’s hard to imagine small businesses budgeting that much money for little apparent return.

Meta is testing members-only spaces in Horizon Worlds for private VR communities.

LinkedIn is making Newsletters more prominently featured on author profiles, including in search results, letting creators overlay links on images or video, launching a new analytics page, and launching article (and Newsletter) scheduling.

The co-founders of Instagram, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, have launched a new platform called Artifact. It uses AI to show a personalized feed of “high-quality” news and information. You can join the waitlist here.

Steven Levy @Wired reported on Gabor Cselle (formerly Director of Google’s Area 120) and his new social media startup T2.

Spoutible is another Twitter-like platform I’ve been seeing people mention. What is it? “Stay informed with real-time news and insights from people you know, industry leaders, journalists, and notable figures, all in one convenient place.” Spoutible is currently only open to people who pre-registered, but will be opening to new sign-ups on February 6.

AI Everywhere

Google is going to be “Live from Paris” on February 8, with a presentation on using the “power of AI" to "reimagine how people search for, explore and interact with information, making it more natural and intuitive than ever before to find what you need." Watch live. Mitchell Clark @ The Verge notes that in this week’s earnings call Google CEO Sundar Pichai talked about plans to “unlock the incredible opportunities AI enables.” So the guess is that is what the live event will cover.

Tech news site CNET used OpenAI’s GPT-3 to create a bunch of monetized articles that turned out to be full of errors and plagiarized text. Leaked internal messages show that the company is worried about a possible crackdown on their content by Google Search. What they aren’t concerned about is posting loads of garbage content.

Google researchers have developed SingSong, a system that generates instrumental music to accompany vocals. Pretty cool.

In worrisome results, researchers at UC Berkeley have found that image generating models like Stable Diffusion “memorize” images from training data and return those when prompted. Since much of the training data was scraped from the internet without permission, this raises copyright and privacy issues.

If you offer a way for users to create content, it’s a given some will abuse it. ElevenLabs let users clone any voice, and of course trolls have been using it to create hateful content with celebrity voices. ElevenLabs says they have implemented changes to make it harder to do that.

That’s all the updates for this week. Subscribe to get the Weekly Update in your email inbox or favorite feed reader every week. Miss last week’s update? Get it here.

Header image background: Ice crystals by danielbuescher on Pixabay, free for commercial use.