Passionfruit Picks for 2024

Passionfruit 2024. (Photo remixed by Drew Grant on Adobe.)

It’s the beginning of the New Year, and what better way to belatedly ring it in than with a good, old-fashioned staff survey?

It’s how I like to grease up the gears at the ole’ content factory for another rotation around the sun, grinding creativity and self-expression into blog gristle with a mandatory homework assignment during the holiday that won’t be published until after the New Year.

I think it helps us here at Passionfruit to put ourselves in the shoes of our creator audience, and there’s no quicker way to that vibe than being forced to work on Christmas Eve, regardless of whether your boss is some sort of Giamattian Grinch or an algorithm.

Off-topic: has anyone else noticed the rise in Christmas Grinches? Do we know if the Jim Carrey impression is a requirement for that gig or just a choice they all made collectively in some private FB group?

Anyway, here are the Passionfruit Picks for 2024. Just to temper expectations here, none of these are actually resolutions, and about two-thirds are about 2023, but hey, I’d already made the graphic. Happy New Year!

What should creators belatedly stuff their stockings with this year?

Drew Grant: Well damn, I was going to say Elgato’s new Prompter, which attaches to your camera via these cool plates and allows you to turn any device into a teleprompter that you can read from…just like a real TV person! But it doesn’t seem like they got around to shipping the Prompters that were pre-ordered? Besides some reviewers, I can’t find one for sale anywhere on the Internet – seriously, it’s bizarre…they’re both out of stock and on backorder, and NO ONE has them for resale? Suss. 

So I’m going to go with the Elgato Streamdeck + Studio Controller. No, I’m not shilling for Elgato, but they are kind of the go-to for adaptable streamer tech, and this updated version of their Streamdeck has six multi-programmable keys as well as three wheels for audio tuning. With a touch-screen bar, you can actually map 60 hot key functions onto the six buttons, allowing you to control every aspect of your stream while on air: from launching apps to adjusting your lighting, playing music and videos, muting audio…it’s basically an entire production console in one small package. For live streamers, this is a must-have. Price: $189

Adelia Chamberlain: This weekly planner. It’s not dated, so you can fill it in yourself, starting at any day during the year. It has both monthly and weekly calendars, so I can put bigger projects into the monthly and go into more detail for weekly. I actually have two of these: one for Passionfruit, one for my group LGRN’s YouTube channels. Plus, I like the notes section in the back. Price: $9.99

John-Michael Bond: Tea Tree Oil Mint Tooth Picks. It’s a fidget spinner for your mouth when you’re hours into an edit. Price: $5.84

Grace Stanley: Okay hear me out… A Visual Timer (the kind they make for kids). I used to use those Pomodoro online timers to remind myself to get up and move every 25 minutes. But when I have a million tabs open and take my headphones on and off, it never works. This thing has been a lifesaver in helping with executive functions and reminding me to touch grass…plus it comes in cute colors. Price: $19.95

Mariam Sharia: Rick Rubin’s “The Creative Act: A Way of Being.”  Price: $29.76

Steven Asarch: DeleteMe subscription. Price: $10.75 a month

Jake Currie:  ​​Dawn THCV Tincture. Price: $70

Eric Rodriguez: UniConverter from Wondershare. Price: $55.99

What’s was 2023’s must-read for creators?

Drew Grant: Our publisher James Del’s dispatch from Vidcon channeled Hunter S. Thompson for this brilliant Gonzo manifesto about the “attention economy,” written from inside the bowels of the belly of the beast. Aka: Anaheim.

Adelia Chamberlain: Taylor Lorenz’s over at The Washington Post’s coverage of creators overtaking legacy media

John-Michael Bond: Our Skibidi Toilet Lore coverage. No other piece this year reminded me that creating is just about making stuff. You can’t ever plan what will get a response.

Grace Stanley: The Verge’s package about the death of Twitter. (Editor’s note: Damn, that was going to be mine! The interactive Bosch design alone warrants some kind of Webby.)

Mariam Sharia: Cory Doctorow’s The Enshitification of TikTok over at Wired.  

Steven Asarch: 404’s expose on why advertisers don’t want Jezebel to come back.

Jake Currie: Some More News’ video on the fragile creator economy. If you put it on with subtitles, it counts as a read.

Eric Rodriguez: Taylor Lorenz’s book Extremely Online: The Untold Story of Fame, Influence, and Power on the Internet.

What Should Creators Get Excited About in 2024?

Drew Grant: Honestly? Business literacy. Creators need to recognize that the moment they start monetizing, or throwing a couple bucks to friends to edit their videos, they’re an LLC, whether they think of themselves that way or not. I think we’ll see a lot more movement on the labor organizing and collective bargaining front once creators stop thinking of YouTube as what they do instead of/in addition to a “real job.” If you make money off of Patreon, that’s work. You’re a business, even if the U.S. Census Bureau hasn’t caught onto it yet. Too much drama is caused in this space because it’s unregulated, and creators aren’t behaving like professionals, probably because they keep getting told that what they do doesn’t count as “work.” As a business, you have an obligation to a certain standard of conduct with any contractors, employees, and colleagues in this space or else you’ll be fined or kicked or lose your license. 

Meanwhile, creators take their cues about this space from the big-name creators – MrBeast, Logan Paul, Star Wars Theory, SSSniperWolf, Colleen Ballinger – and act accordingly. S Theory is more powerful when they get together and form associations, which means getting hyped about connecting with a larger community of creators this upcoming year.

Adelia Chamberlain: Continued advocating for creators’ rights.

John-Michael Bond: More creators figuring out how to monetize outside of the ecosystems set up by platforms. 

Grace Stanley: It’s been an unprecedented year of creators recognizing themselves as a force of labor. There was, of course, the infamous Hollywood Actors and Writers strike. But there’s also been collective action in unexpected places: Reddit bros protesting, “League of Legends” pros walking out on Riot Games, Marvel VFX artists voting to unionize, Twitch creators shutting down predatory advertising policies, actors picketing workaholic YouTube empires, video creators expressing interest in their own guilds (for better or for worse).

Creators make the internet, they make art, they make culture — and they’re tired of tech millionaires and billionaires thinking they run the place. I think people are realizing this more and more, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this action unfolds in 2024.

Mariam Sharia: There’s no doubt that every major platform has gone through “enshittification,” a term coined by author and journalist Cory Doctorow to describe exactly what it sounds like it’s describing. In their neverending quest to maximize profits, social media platforms forced creators to bend the knee to The Algorithm, a rigged black box that arbitrarily rewards the few, destroys meaningful social interaction, and amplifies humanity’s worst impulses. Many such cases! But the fragmentation of the internet has, as Katie Notopoulos wrote in The MIT Technology Review, resulted in “the growing understanding that sometimes … you have to pay for stuff.” To make a long answer longer, I’m excited to see the New internet flourish through intimate communities across Reddit and Discord and blogs, and for individual creators to monetize not because they’ve figured out a way to game some unsatisfiable, arbitrary algorithm, but because they have an audience who cares enough about their stuff to pay for it. I hope next year we see more creators moving off platforms to embrace the power of 1,000 true fans. It’s the only way we can win.

Steven Asarch: Creators are going to have to deal with brands spending less money in 2024. I believe the endless stream of brand deals and sponsorships won’t last. The well could finally be drying up. 

Jake Currie: I’m not sure if “excited” is the right word, but I’m anxious to see how creators react to a deeper integration of AI tools on platforms. What gets adopted, what gets stigmatized, and how will audiences react? The collective race to AI in 2023 has always carried a sense of crushing inevitability (“adopt, adapt, or die!”), and it was heartening to see that trope disrupted by the victories of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA unions. I hope creators carry that spirit forward in 2024. No other group embodies the ethos of “it doesn’t have to be this way!” better than independent creators, and if independent creators unite, they’ll be unstoppable.

Eric Rodriguez: Discovering one another. Each year, the online culture collides more and more. There are growing pains, but there is also opportunity for people to learn from one another and form new relationships over shared passion.

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