Long-form storytelling wins

Power users produce most TikTok content, Google over-corrects AI bias, Billie Eilish shades TikTok influencers, and more...

Happy Monday!

It’s rare to watch cognitive dissonance play out so many times in the one interview, so I enjoyed Taylor Lorenz’s video of her meeting with Chaya Raichik, founder of the putrid Libs of TikTok account on Twitter (X). Share this with anyone who doubts why journalism is still a much needed profession!

On a lighter note, this preview makes me wish I still had time to be a gamer…

P.S. Read to the end to find out Billie’s issue with TikTok influencers, and all the best reporting and resources from last week!

For anyone with us for the first time, welcome to Inbound News! Just 10-15 minutes every Monday to catch up on the previous week. I cover the stories that matter with smart analysis and resources to help make sense of all the noise. But always with a healthy dose of skepticism and self-awareness. 😉 

🤖 AI

Inaccurate historical images raise issues of representation

What’s happening: Many users on Twitter (X) discovered Google’s Gemini chatbot (previously called Bard) was having trouble generating images of white people in certain historical situations, such as medieval British, Vikings, and even Nazis. Google responded by temporarily shutting down Gemini’s image-generating capabilities for people while it addresses the issue.

Why it’s happening: It’s established that machine learning and AI face issues of bias in how they are developed. Because they ingest large amounts of public information found online for its training, they are exposed to discriminatory and abusive behaviour based on race, gender, and religion. Automating and deploying such behaviour at scale can make such issues worse. Google appears to have over-corrected on these biases when developing Gemini’s image-generating capabilities. Jack Krawczyk, product lead for Gemini, called out historical events are particularly problematic. They require accurate representation of history, but also need to reflect Google’s global user base.

Why it’s important: As AI becomes more mainstream and used by more people, the way the tech companies handle biases and stereotypes in representations of people becomes more urgent. Elon Musk claimed his AI model Grok is ‘anti-woke’ as a selling point, although conservatives still weren’t happy with the results. OpenAI openly admits ChatGPT is not free from biases and stereotypes and is actively working on mitigation. Google stated previously how hard it is to work towards AI models that are “fair and inclusive for all”. Google has just found out how hard this is publicly. Because there isn’t any real transparency on how exactly AI models are being trained and programmed, it doesn’t give us much confidence that we won’t be seeing more issues like this in the near future and beyond.

📖 Read the Google announcement: Gemini image generation got it wrong

Working On It GIF by ProBit Global

Google AI engineers right now… Source: Giphy

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💫 AI quick bites



🎨 Creator economy

Long-form authentic storytelling wins on TikTok

What’s happening: Reesa Teesa released a 50-part, eight-hour series on TikTok titled ‘Who TF Did I Marry?!?’ about her ex-husband. It details how she first met him just before the pandemic lockdowns of 2020 and they decided to move in together. Then there was a series of convoluted lies about his personal information and family members, along with fabricated documentation. The videos have now been put in a sequenced playlist to make it easier to watch. The series has garnered a total of 310 million views at the time of writing (including the introduction).

Why it’s happening: Reesa Teesa had originally posted a stitch in response to another TikToker’s trending question of “whats a f*cked up thing that your ex did to you”. After people showed interest in her short version, she was encouraged to post all the gory details in multiple videos up to 10 minutes each. There’s no doubt that TikTok is pushing longer videos as a priority in its feeds. But the creator was also smart enough to respond to audience demand for more, which in itself was a result of her natural storytelling ability and willingness to be vulnerable. Not to mention people’s natural curiosity for people doing bad things, especially when romance is involved. Sadly based on the comments, her situation also appears to be very relatable to her audience.

Why it’s important: There’s the obvious callout that creators should jump on whatever the platform is pushing to help them gain visibility in feeds. In this case, long-form videos. It’s also a great example of how creating a series with compelling content builds natural curiosity hooks in each episode that make people want to come back for more. Reesa Teesa had some decent success previously with her videos. But she now has three million followers after her series. She’ll be hoping they will stick with her as she pivots to her desire for travel-focused content. Brands are already jumping on board to help with her recently announced trip to Europe. Let’s hope this momentum is maintained and her followers stay interested in her travels, without any ex-husband drama.

📺️ No time? Watch this summary instead: Replying to Reesa Teesa

Willy Wonka Suspense GIF

In such a good way… Source: Giphy

👍️ Social media

Small number of power users produce most TikTok content

What’s happening: A report from Pew Research Center revealed 98% of the public videos on the platform have been posted by the top 25% of TikTok users. The Center surveyed 2,745 US adult TikTok users in August 2023. It also found that although nearly one third of all US adults are using the platform, only 52% of them ever post content on there. There is no major difference in usage across generations, with around half of 18-34 year-olds having never posted on TikTok. When they have posted content, the average US adult has posted six videos with 149 total likes received.

Why it’s happening: All social media platforms have a core set of amateur users and professional creators providing the majority of the content. However, compared to other social media platforms, there is a higher barrier of entry to post content on TikTok. Creating a video you’re willing to share publicly requires a lot more effort than a few lines of text on Twitter (X) or LinkedIn, uploading a selfie to Instagram, or adding a pin via a link on Pinterest. The addictive (yet unsatisfying) nature of scrolling the feeds, reducing the time you may actually spend on contributing to them instead, must also play a part.

Why it’s important: This survey reveals a clear example of how social media is turning into broadcast media. People are seeking news, entertainment, and information for buying decisions. The social media companies are focused on encouraging brands to pay for reach, releasing ecommerce features, and pushing creators to sell stuff and only creating content conforming to their algorithms. More influencers meanwhile are realising the negative effects of constantly serving up the required content for the platforms. Posting content to your feed for your family and friends now seems like a quaint idea, with people turning to DMs and Stories to maintain a personal connection with followers. TikTok is also leaning further into YouTube’s streaming territory with recent feature releases of longer videos and in landscape. All of this points to a further narrowing of the number of people creating and the type of content being created.

📖 Read the report: How US adults use TikTok

Angry No More GIF by South Park

He’s not the only one…. (and yeah, it should be TikToks) Source: Giphy

⚡️ Social media quick bites

Meta (Facebook / Instagram / Threads / WhatsApp)


  • Pinterest launched its first ever streaming show, a six-part cooking series with QR codes to shop Pinterest boards with ecommerce Pins.

  • Pinterest announced an international campaign to “promote a full suite of products for advertisers looking to convert users into buyers”.




Twitter (X)



✍️ The best reporting last week

The post-entertainment era

What comes after entertainment is already here: Ted Gioia explains how distraction, or mindless activity, is growing the fastest.

How Google is killing independent sites

Big media publishers are gaming product reviews: Gisele Navarro and Danny Ashton from HouseFresh show us exactly how.

Alternative takes: Read Google’s response and Marie Haynes’ thoughts.

$42,000 to stop live streaming

Chinese creators are being exploited by dodgy agencies: Viola Zhou from Rest of World reports on how people are being trapped in multi-year contracts.

Instagram’s rise as a news publisher

Much to Meta’s resistance: Sapna Maheshwari and Mike Isaac from the New York Times detail how Gen Xers and Millenials consume news on the platform.

Why porn bots have taken over your Twitter (X) feed

Adding to the explosion of spam since Musk’s takeover: Miles Klee from Rolling Stone explains the latest manifestation of the implosion of Twitter.

🧠 Resources to level up

LinkedIn’s sales playbook to crush your quotas

A guide to ‘deep sales’: Analysis of 104 seller behaviors to identify the three habits needed for your sales team to be ‘deep sellers’, not ‘shallow sellers’.

Get a handle on the influencer marketplace in 2024

Based on data from 25,000 brands and 80,000 influencers: Colabstr’s annual report is its largest yet, giving you the lowdown on what’s happening.

Grow with micro-influencers on YouTube

How to grow a small brand: Galen Leather co-founder Yusuf Perens reveals their secrets of success for their niche products on the Buffer blog.

Get creative on TikTok

Content ideation for SMBs: TikTok published five steps to content ideation, the first of a three-part series on their blog including a downloadable playbook.

Boost your leads from Instagram

Check out this Instagram lead strategy: Social Media Examiner’s founder Michael Stelzner breaks down the key steps needed to succeed.

😲 Really?

TikTok influencers better not show up at the Oscars…

The limits of influencer power: At the People’s Choice Awards, Billie Eilish was filmed talking to Kylie Minogue in which she seems to question why there were so many TikTok influencers invited to the event. Apart from her obvious musical talent, she picked up an acting award for her debut performance in Donald Glover’s Swarm, beating out fellow nominees like Meryl Streep. She’s probably earned the right to question what the event organisers were thinking. No doubt they were hoping to attract Gen Z to watch the event. But what it really revealed was the chasm between stars like Billie and Kylie whose natural talent is revered by mass shared audiences, and people who manage to build niche audiences on social media platforms. It wasn’t just the pop stars who were unimpressed. Journalists were also wondering how it’s come to people like this being let loose on the red carpet while their industry is imploding.

Thanks for reading! 😄 

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