Nadia Eghbal on the Creator Economy

The creator economy

As we’ve pushed past the dawn of this so-called creator renaissance, however, and the sun starts to loom high in the sky, I’ve found myself wondering where it all goes. I still think that the new models that have been, and continue to be, developed today can offer creators stability and financial freedom in a way that the gig life does not. But once we’ve addressed a creator’s financial needs, I find myself turning my attention to purpose and meaning…

I have a growing fear that maybe we’re all just a little too overresourced and understimulated, taking part in the constant onslaught of more content and degenerate internet pranks, whether it’s making a video or blog post, or an NFT or a DAO. While media is an important, influential part of culture, I’d hate to see “being a creator” become synonymous with entertainment, where people are never intrinsically motivated to explore any of its potential beyond that…

I struggle to find meaning in the creator economy, in its current form. Without any deeper purpose in mind, aspiring to be a “creator,” as a career move, is almost tautologically devoid of cultural meaning and impact.

When I imagine a cultural renaissance that inspires me, I think about working together to address unsolved questions, tugging on threads in conversations that need unraveling, creating enduring artifacts for generations to pore over and iterate upon. The “publish or perish” model that nudges people to rack up more followers is not the pinnacle of creative freedom; it’s indentured spiritual servitude.