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A Peek Inside Instagram's Buzzy Creator Week 🧐

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Hi angels!!!! Today is an absolute special edish of the newsletter, because yesterday Rubes and I attended the BUZZIEST event we’ll probably ever go to (as the press, no biggie) and I need to give you ALL MY HOT TAKES! Fear not tho - you’ll be getting the news, as usual, tomorrow, but first you gotta read ALL about our day yesterday….
A peek behind the curtain of a buzzy AF creator event
yep, that's a Meta coconut
yep, that's a Meta coconut
Let me give you a rundown of yesterday because it was WILD. So Instagram’s ‘Creator Week’ is happening all over the world this week, but we’re at the gorg Potato Head beach club in Bali (for the APAC creators.)
FIRST OF ALL, Rubes and I feel like potato heads considering this place makes the best fries EVER and we were munching them down from about 9am yesterday (when in Bali eh??) We started the day at a press briefing (very profesh of us) where we met some of the Meta team and heard about their plans for not just the day but also the ✨future.✨
Huuuuge green flag to start off with was the authenticity from members of the Meta team - they said that internally they had a debate as to whether to even bring media to this event - after all, it’s not for us - it’s for creators (and if you’re wondering what defines a creator, tune in to our bonus podcast episodes where I ask some execs these questions.) The cons to bringing media? They can’t manage/ control what 100+ people are saying and doing, and what if a quote gets taken and run with? What if the creators are less comfortable with us around? The pros of bringing media? You get a chance to prove to the world (or at least the audiences of the APAC media outlets that were invited) that you really care for your creators (which is a big thumbs up since platforms would be nothing without creators) and that you aren’t leaning out from hearing feedback or the truth being told. Rubes and I have been heavily encouraged to be authentic as hell in our reporting - which is lucky because that’s kinda our whooooole vibe.
After the press briefing about what lay ahead, we got to go and see for ourselves what was up. We walked past the NFT activation, ‘Wellbeing Cocoon’, ‘Reels studio’, & the ‘Creator Support Bar’ to attend our first event of the day at the ‘Meta main stage’: a Keynote from Ivana Kirkbride the Director of Product Marketing for Meta. Before she even got to speak there were some ✨technical difficulties✨ (which naturally tickled me and Rubes.) We got a lil video message from Adam Mosseri (head of Instagram) and it was in like 2x speed. Me being me, I thought this was all intentional, and he was leaning into the minion memes that were made about him when he made that incredibly earnest video earlier in the year…
… so I CRACKED up at how self-aware he was/ how good the joke was. Turns out it wasn’t actually meant to be like that at all and someone had just accidentally sped the vid up.
Anyway, jokes aside, here are my hot takes from the day:
Hot take one: It’s all about Reels
After a few giggles, we got into panel number one of the day: ‘Reels Talk.’ Here we heard from a bunch of different creators about - you guessed it - Reels. This is a thread that ran through the entirety of the day’s events - if you want to make the most of Instagram and all its new features - you gotta use Reels. In fact, in the rooms I was in, there was not a single mention of photo sharing and the power of ‘still’ photos, it was all about Reels. I actually asked Ivana this question in an episode of The Shit Show we recorded with her (out soon) and it’s less of a ‘we don’t care about still photos anymore’ and more of a ‘sign of the times/ the future’ kind of thing. There was no mention of the platform that shall not be named (TikTok) during any of the events, but it’s clear that Instagram is really trying to get its creators to do unwatermarked short-form videos for their platform as a reaction to this rise in short form vid - and kinda fair enough from them. PS, if you’re interested in the product updates, you can read about them here.
Hot take two: They’re trying to be more transparent in how it all works behind the scenes
The next panel we attended was ‘Fake vs Fact’ -  a mythbusting panel that creators seemed to LOVE (and even push back on some of the things that the team were saying which was cool.) At the beginning everyone was asked three questions:
  • “Do you believe you fully understand the algorithm” (no)
  • “How many of you think Facebook is still relevant to growing your audience” (not many)
  • “Do you believe in shadowbanning?” (YES)
The team then went on to try and bust some of these myths - for example: of course we don’t understand the algorithm, because there is no single algorithm. And then the classic ‘there are a bunch of different factors that go into making different algorithms for different people’ and no one really understands it. (Though when I made the comment ‘make algorithms transparent to all I reckon!’ Ivana did tell me that they’re public in the US - I’m waiting on confirmation of this so I’ll let you all know when I get it!)
Next: is Facebook still relevant to growing your audience? Most of the creators didn’t seem to think so, but we heard from a few who had made a bunch of money by ‘cross posting’ to Facebook (to get those Mom views) and it seemed like a good way to help creators make a living, even if they’re not using Facebook themselves. This section felt a lil like a ‘make Facebook seem relo again’ bid, but look - if it’s a way to keep creators employed (and put good content on that often hellish site) I’m here for it!!!
And finally, our least favourite S word - ‘shadowbanning.’ When they asked who in the room believed in ‘shadowbanning’ (where your content seems to be ‘punished’ by the algorithm/ distributed to less people than usual) almost EVERYONE put their hands up. Here at SYSCA we’ve been ‘shadowbanned’ to the point where people will search our account RIGHT NEXT TO US and it simply ✨won’t appear,✨ or our views have seemed to drop for ✨no reason.✨ The mythbusters assured us though, that shadowbanning isn’t a term they claim, nor is it really a thing. In fact, there are a few reasons creators may be seeing a dip in views. Either they’ve violated community guidelines (which results in a warning/ a post being removed), they’ve done something to make their videos stop being recommended to audiences outside of their own, OR they just need to take a good hard look at their content (maybe it’s just not landing??) This was defs the myth that got most of the audience interested because at the end of the day, views and engagement are their currency and they rightfully take this incredibly seriously!
Hot take three: They’re trying to make NFTs happen
I knew and expected NFTs to make a splash at this event. There was a whole NFT hub when we walked in, and we had to scan a couple of QR codes in preparation for a big surprise… our very own limited-edish NFT. This announcement (which was very Oprah-esque - “you’re getting an NFT, you’re getting an NFT, you’re ALL getting NFT’s!”) was not really met with hooting and hollering, and a lot of people kinda zoned out a little during this panel, but I have to give some MAD props to the creators on the panel who’d made some amazing NFT products (and a living off them too.) A HUGE shoutout has gotta go to the Indonesian creator Ghozali - the most WHOLESOME creator of all, who has taken a photo of himself every day since 2017, and now sells them as NFTs. Ghozali has made billions of Rupiah (millions of dollars) because people are so invested in his journey, and genuinely love buying his NFTs. He’s also just the cutest and most understated dude ever. He apparently didn’t come from much money, so he’s used the money to fix up his parent’s house, and buy them a car 🥺🥺
Ghozali
It's been 3 days and left 331 NFT
sold out now because for the next few years I won't be listing

You can do anything like flipping or whatever but please don't abuse my photos or my parents will very disappointed to me

I believe in you guys so please take care of my photos. https://t.co/oyGGR2Aben
My take on this, is as always, I’m an optimist about new tech, no matter how weird or confusing it is. Who knows if it will ever be widely adopted, but I really appreciate that the people at this event are doing their best to keep their creators in the loop with new opportunities like this to keep us from getting left behind. I’m also still yet to receive my limited edish NFT from the event, but I’ll let you know when I do!!
Hot take four: They reeeeeaally give a shit about their creators
The overarching vibe - one that oozed out of every employee/ exec that we chatted to, was that they really do care about their creators. And that makes sense - creators are what keep their platforms alive, making money, and (in a perfect world) having longevity - so they should be protecting them at all costs. We even got to sit in on a spesh ‘Creators of Tomorrow’ panel (which is just one of) the programs that they’ve set up to help foster and grow emerging and established creators.
One of the most amazing things has truly been watching people from Australia and all over Southeast Asia meet each other for the first time, genuinely collaborate (I can confirm - it’s not forced or fake, these creators truly fucking looove making content), and meet other people who feel the highs and the lows of this bizarre world we they’re living in. 
Hot take five: Rubes and I are the most unprofesh media - but it’s authentic as hell
After all the ✨formal✨ events of the day, the creators went off for some activities, and Rubes and I recorded a couple of podcasts. One thing we loved about coming to cover this has been the absolute freedom of it all, and the encouragement to be totally ourselves in our coverage. For example, you’ll hear in our episode of Culture Vulture that we had to stop it about 5 TIMES because - we were recording at a damn beach club and after 5pm the doof doof music begins, the BeReal notification went off during it so we all stopped for that, my phone ran out of storage as we were trying to get some vids (turns out TikTok was taking up 70GB of my phone storage on ‘documents and data’???) and then Ruby’s phone DIED while filming, so honestly?? Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong, but we persisted and had a LOT of lols along the way.
Hot take six: I’m not sure if I’ll ever see an event quite like this ever again
Meta events are out the GATE. Think of the most extra event you’ve ever been to and times it by 10. For example: our day of work was followed by a rooftop party where there were Meta branded coconuts (and cheesecakes), dance performances, laser light shows, smoke machines, a firework show, all the food and drink you could ask for, and just (dare I say) excellent vibes. This whole event was really for creators, and no one was holding back (especially not on the dancefloor, no matter how sweaty we all got.) 
An assortment of pics to give u an idea of the ✨vibe✨
It has been a true privilege to get to come and cover something like this - to be respected in our weird role as creators/ media, to be trusted to tell it like it is, and to genuinely feel like the people who are working hard to make this platform shine are being supported and looked after.
If you’re reading this and want Shit You Should Care About to cover your next event, you know where to find us!
SEE YOU TOMORROW FOR THE NEWS!
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