Meet NewNew: The App Dubbed ‘The Human Stock Market’
The Creator Economy: A New Celebrity
The pandemic has accelerated the popularity of apps like Cameo – the video-sharing platform which has allowed people to book personal shoutouts from superstars and inverted the power dynamic between stardom and the public. Spare cash from stimulus cheques and the cancellation of events has hastened the migration to novel forms of interaction with influencers.
This has redefined what it means to be a modern celebrity.
The rapid growth of platforms such as TikTok, OnlyFans, Twitch and Patreon has made it easier for creators to monetize direct interaction with their audiences, whether they have 1000 or 100,000 followers. With an estimated 50 million ‘creators’ around the world, the market potential is huge.
The value of a platform like Cameo’s lies not in the actual contents of any video messages – it lies in the illusion of intimacy that it creates between superstar and an ordinary individual. Ice Cube is transformed from legend of the rap world to birthday singer extraordinaire, whilst Tiger King’s Carole Baskin can be hired to deliver motivational speeches to your colleagues (if you can afford the £225 fee). This enables creators to strengthen bonds with their audiences, compressing the space between them whilst creating content that fans feel they have a stake in.
After launching last year, NewNew is backed by some heavyweight players. PayPal founder and early investor in Facebook Peter Thiel (read more on him, here), leading tech fund Andreesen Horowitz and actor Will Smith to name a few.
NewNew is a “human stock market”, where you can “buy shares in the lives of real people, to control their decisions and watch the outcome”. Think of a spinoff between Sims and the NASDAQ, except with real people.
Sounds a bit too much like Black Mirror? The details are decidedly less dystopian.
The platform, still in beta, allows creators to ask fans to vote on particular aspects of their life. Polls can be on subjects as mundane as what food the creator should eat and where they should hang out, to deciding what their next big project should be.
Fans purchase voting power to participate in the polls, hoping that buying enough voting power will allow them to have significant sway over their chosen influencer’s decisions. Audiences then watch these decisions play out in real-time. NewNew gamifies real life, allowing people to buy a moment in time of an influencer’s life.
The platform is explicitly marketed towards individual creators, whether you are a painter, blogger, writer, musician or chef.
And the use cases are infinite.
Users can pay more to ask a creator to do something of their own choosing. Typical examples include adding a character into their book or painting something a specific colour. NewNew empowers fans to personalise the content that they want to see. Creators can choose to accept or reject these ‘bids’, limiting the potential misuse which has hindered similar platforms, notably Fiverr.
However, it is the micro-transactional nature of the platform which is key. It allows creators to monetize every aspect of their lives – further than other platforms such as Instagram allow. Every single interaction, decision or desire becomes transactable. And the daily minutiae of life becomes a marketplace.
A Moral Dilemma?
Some would argue that this represents another step in the unnatural hyper-marketisation of our personal lives. However, the creator’s themselves would beg to differ.
As reported by the BBC this week, “NewNew provides a two-way beneficial split”. The platform allows users to “pay a small amount of money to have fun and get a reward”, whilst the creator is “building a community of people who are so in tune with what you do”.
NewNew seeks to allow creators to connect with their fans in new ways, whilst benefitting from that connection.
Whilst the platform is currently invite-only, much like the audio-only app Clubhouse, Courtne Smith hopes to expand access to the creator function so that ordinary people can monetise everyday aspects of their lives. Smith wants the platform to be inclusive of all people, regardless of their celebrity status.
“Sure, it’s fun to control a famous influencer or celebrity, but it’s honestly just as entertaining to control someone you go to school with, or your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, or an author planning their next sci-fi novel, or a beauty founder creating their next makeup palette”, she said to the New York Times. “It doesn’t matter how boring you think you are, there’s someone out there who would find your life interesting to the point that they’re willing to pay”.
VC firm SignalFire has touted the creator economy as the “fastest-growing type of small business”. With creators going to further lengths to monetize their person, the only way is up for NewNew.
Header Image: Courtne Smith, NewNew Founder via HypeBae.