On any given day, you might watch a YouTube video, laugh at a Facebook meme, upvote a Reddit submission, hear a SoundCloud banger, heart an Instagram post, read a webcomic, and consider backing some far-fetched but kind of brilliant Kickstarter project. This week, we’re publishing new stories every day about the creators, their tools, and the platforms where they publish their work.
More than ever, the web is centered on platforms that thrive off of content submitted by individual creators. Whether they’re making short films, absurdist memes, thoughtful podcasts, brilliant photos, quirky games, sharp blog posts, or just another daily vlog, it’s their creations that shape our experience on the web. They’re what keep us coming back, and they’re what lead the platforms to change — sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.
For our Creators Issue, we’re talking to some of the artists whose work we spend all day flipping through: the designers, filmmakers, influencers, illustrators, musicians, and more. These are stories about what they’re making, how they’re finding an audience, and the many ups and downs of reaching fans through a platform that’s out of their control. You can also explore the archives of our ongoing creator series What’s in Your Bag? and Art Club.
Of course, the same factors that let our favorites succeed also let troubling content grow in scale. As that happens, platforms have to change, and their choices can have enormous consequences, from amplifying extremist ideologies to disrupting the community of creators and viewers who originally made a platform thrive. This issue also takes a look at how those changes ripple through a community, and some of the problematic content that’s still able to get by.