This newest wave of [TikTok] influencers could quite possibly be the first to escape the internet. Or, at the very least, become bigger than the platforms they use to publish content. This could fundamentally alter the power structures of the web. And I think it’s important context to consider as more and more tech companies roll out their monetization features. These payment features feel like the first public acknowledge that creators will not just keep posting for free.

And, as always, I am both optimistic and deeply nervous about all of this. Part of me thinks that more tipping features could lead to more mid-level creators harnessing the internet to create great content across multiple platforms as full-time careers. But another part of me thinks what is more likely is that the ultra-influencers at the top, capable of pulling in hundreds of millions of views, will soon have infinite revenue streams at the finger tips, while everyone else will effectively become content gig workers, posting for micro-transactions, trapped inside algorithmic systems they have no actual ownership of. Excited to see how things shake out!

Ryan Broderick on tip jars.