AI Influencers and the future of social media

Raissa Correia
8 min readDec 21, 2023

The rise of paywalls and exclusive content

Due to what Elon musk pointed out in the near future will be impossible to control and specially differentiate bots from actual people, illegitimate from ligitimate operations within a social media, therefore the only way to actually prevent harassement, policy violations, scamming, illegal impersonation, etc will be asking people to pay even if it’s a minor fee to tie an account with a real world information provided by a reputable instutition, a bank or a government. With that the free social media is in free fall, and will be an obscure part of the internet just like the web 1.0 and the old forums, or forums like 4chan.

It we are going to pay regardless then the business landscape changes completely, our acceptance toward explicit ads reduces the more we pay, and the best way to advertise is with AI influencers, not only that they provide the best way for companies to not relying in an actual person with an ego.

Not only that but the AI content generated from an actual influencer could be an interesting free tier or sample for that exclusive content.

But if paying for being part of the social media will already be the norm, how people will on top of that pay for exclusive content? My guess is that will not be exclusive content per se anymore, this will not drive people to the influencer, but actually being part of a community of interests in common, a closed forums, recurring meetings in person and remotely, because nowadays what people are missing the most is actually being part of something, and the influencer will become a gatherer, an organizer of such events.

So in the end we are going to live a plot twist in the history of internet that break apart the last bits of offline communities, to in the end due to so much automation and the necessity of paying will unite people again

Elon Musk’s insights into the future of social media highlight a pivotal shift: the increasing difficulty in distinguishing bots from real users and illegitimate from legitimate operations. This blurring line necessitates a new approach for safeguarding against harassment, policy violations, scamming, and illegal impersonation. The solution lies in integrating a nominal fee to tie social media accounts to real-world information verified by reputable institutions, such as banks or governments. This move heralds the decline of free social media, relegating it to a lesser-known part of the internet, reminiscent of Web 1.0, traditional forums, or platforms like 4chan.

As social media evolves into a paid service, user tolerance for explicit advertisements diminishes. In this new landscape, AI influencers emerge as a strategic advertising medium, offering brands a reliable, ego-free alternative to human endorsers. These AI influencers could also serve as gateways to exclusive content, offering free samples or teasers of premium material.

However, the crux of this shift is not just in paying for social media access, but in what drives people to pay for additional — exclusive content. It’s likely that the future of exclusivity won’t hinge on content alone but on the sense of belonging to a community. People are increasingly seeking connection and belonging, and influencers are evolving into community organizers, facilitating both online and offline gatherings around shared interests.

In this new era, the internet’s trajectory takes an ironic turn: as automation grows and payment for access becomes the norm, these very developments, once seen as dividing, begin to unite people. Communities, both virtual and physical, find new life, and influencers transform from mere content creators into architects of these vibrant, interconnected spaces. This marks a significant plot twist in the history of the internet, where the decline of offline communities, spurred by digitization and automation, eventually leads to a renaissance of communal connection in the digital age.

In an advertising-saturated digital landscape, AI and virtual influencers offer a novel solution to combat ad fatigue. These AI-driven personalities bridge the gap between traditional advertising and genuine human interaction, providing a more engaging and relatable experience for consumers. Unlike standard advertisements, which often feel intrusive and impersonal, virtual influencers can interact with audiences in a manner that mimics human behavior, creating a sense of connection and authenticity. They can personalize content, respond to trends in real-time, and even engage in conversations, making brand interactions feel less like a sales pitch and more like a dialogue with a charismatic, relatable figure. This human-like engagement, powered by sophisticated AI, not only captures the attention of consumers but also fosters a deeper connection between brands and their audiences, making marketing messages more palatable and effective in an ad-weary world.

The psychology of AI content

Changing Perceptions of AI-Generated Content

The evolution of AI-generated content is reshaping public perception in significant ways. Currently, many view AI content with skepticism, associating it with a lack of human touch and authenticity. However, as AI technology advances, these perceptions are undergoing a notable shift. Future generations, growing up in a world where AI is ubiquitous, are likely to see AI-generated content as a standard, even essential, part of their digital experience. For them, the distinction between AI and human content may become less pronounced, with AI content valued for its efficiency, scalability, and ability to tailor to individual preferences. This evolution heralds a new era where AI content is not just accepted but expected, especially in its role as a provider of free, accessible information and entertainment.

The Preference for Human-Generated Content

Despite the advancements in AI, there’s a growing trend towards valuing human-generated content, especially in spaces shielded by paywalls. This preference stems from a desire for personalization, authenticity, and the human touch — qualities that AI, in its current state, struggles to replicate fully. Human content creators offer unique perspectives, emotional depth, and a sense of connection that resonates deeply with audiences. As a result, platforms are increasingly using paywalls to differentiate this premium, human-centric content from the more generic, AI-generated alternatives. These paywalls not only ensure a revenue stream for creators but also help in fostering a sense of exclusivity and community among subscribers. In this landscape, human content becomes a symbol of quality and authenticity, a valued commodity in a digital world increasingly populated by AI-generated material.

AI as a way to have privacy

Privacy and AI: Reducing the Need for Personal Exposure

In the evolving landscape of digital content creation, AI is emerging as a powerful tool for preserving privacy. The growing sentiment that exposing one’s face for views is an unnecessary overexposure is leading to a paradigm shift. AI technology enables content creators to generate engaging material without the need to reveal their personal identity or physical appearance. This approach is particularly appealing in an era where privacy concerns are paramount. Creators can harness AI to craft narratives, produce videos, or even simulate interactions, all while keeping their personal identity safely obscured. This shift not only protects creators from potential privacy invasions but also allows them to focus solely on the quality and substance of their content. As a result, AI becomes a crucial ally in maintaining a balance between creating compelling content and safeguarding personal privacy in the digital domain.

AI and Anonymity: Empowering Content Creators

The potential of AI to enable anonymity in content creation marks a significant advancement in the digital world. This technology allows creators to build a following and engage with audiences without the need to disclose their real identity. AI-driven avatars or virtual influencers can serve as proxies, delivering content that resonates with audiences while keeping the creator’s identity anonymous. This level of anonymity is especially valuable for creators who wish to explore sensitive topics, offer controversial opinions, or simply maintain a separation between their public and private lives. AI’s ability to mimic human characteristics and behaviors means these virtual personas can be as engaging and relatable as real-life influencers. This not only opens up new avenues for creative expression but also provides a safe space for content creators to express themselves without compromising their privacy.

Ironmouse Example

Ironmouse’s journey as a VTuber, culminating in winning the Best Influencer Award at the Game Awards 2023, vividly illustrates the intersection of technology, privacy, and personal expression in the realm of digital content creation. As a real woman utilizing motion capture technology to project herself as an anime character, Ironmouse has crafted a unique online identity that resonates deeply with her audience. Her background as an opera singer, combined with the challenges posed by her CVID syndrome, adds a layer of depth and inspiration to her persona. Being a VTuber allows her to maintain her privacy and independence while being confined to her bed due to her illness. This innovative use of technology to create a captivating virtual avatar enables her to continue her passion for performance and connect with her audience in a meaningful way. Ironmouse’s success demonstrates how digital avatars can be used not just for anonymity, but as a powerful tool for those seeking creative expression and engagement while managing personal health challenges.

Concluding Thoughts

The future of social media, as we venture further into the digital age, is being redefined by the burgeoning influence of AI and a collective yearning for more authentic, community-driven experiences. The advent of AI influencers, the rise of paywalls, and the increasing preference for privacy are not just isolated phenomena; they are interconnected facets of a broader shift in how we interact, share, and perceive content online.

AI, once a fringe element in the realm of social media, is now at the forefront, reimagining advertising and content creation. Its ability to offer personalized, engaging experiences while addressing ad fatigue is revolutionizing brand-consumer interactions. However, as we embrace these technological advancements, ethical considerations come into play. Issues of privacy, data security, and the authenticity of AI-generated content are paramount. There’s a delicate balance between leveraging AI for its immense potential and safeguarding the fundamental values of trust and transparency in the digital space.

In conclusion, as we navigate these changes, it’s crucial to understand that the heart of social media remains unchanged: it’s a tool for connection, expression, and community building. The technologies we adopt and the policies we implement should enhance these core values, ensuring that, even as we progress into an increasingly AI-integrated world, the essence of human connection in digital spaces is not just preserved but enriched.

This dynamic landscape of social media, marked by its embrace of AI and a renewed focus on community and privacy, paints a hopeful picture. It’s a world where technology and human experience coalesce, creating spaces that are more inclusive, empathetic, and attuned to the diverse needs of their users. As we look to the future, the potential for positive transformation in how we interact, share, and grow online is immense, promising a more connected, authentic, and empathetic digital world.

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Raissa Correia

Just a brazillian fullstack dev @raideveloper on twitter and instagram