Unless you have been living under the same rock as those claiming to have not seen the rather peculiar attire singer Sam Smith wore at the 2023 Brit Awards, last Saturday, chances are you have heard of ChatGPT. The chatbot, launched in 2020 with the promise of using artificial intelligence to generate human-like text based on user inputs, is already the trending topic of the year. From curious students to event planners and marketing professionals, everyone wants to try and see for themselves if the content written by an AI tool can live up to its hype. So much so that, according to a recent survey by OpenAI, the San Francisco-based research lab behind ChatGPT, the tool is now being used by over 10 million people globally, with new users joining the platform every day – an intake speed that led to the number of monthly active users increasing by over 200% in the past year alone.
“We currently use ChatGPT as a quick and handy assistant for tasks such as idea generation, solving mathematical equations, helping with Excel formulas, and many other day-to-day tasks that can be automated.”, says George Bates, SEO Manager at digital agency Limelight Digital.
“Whilst it’s important to use AI with caution, we embrace it as a tool to help us work more efficiently rather than simply dismissing it as ‘unethical’ or ‘lazy’. However, we don’t yet use AI for any content yet, which seems to be the most prevalent usage at the moment,” acknowledges the UK-based professional.
Podcaster Nate Runkel has also been exploring the AI tool and is happy with the results.
“I ran two tests that I was completely impressed by. One, I plugged in some information and had ChatGPT generate the script for my podcast intro. And then to see how it flowed, I read it in my voice to my fiancée who to this day does not believe that I did not
write it. The second test I ran was to generate a press release for the upcoming season of the same podcast. And again, I was completely mesmerized not only by how it was able to create usable content, but also how much I could finesse it to match my own writing style/voice,” says Runkel who even used the tool recently to pen a cover letter for a job application.
“I think it’s more accurate than you would expect something to be that is just pulling data points it has been fed but, that being said, it still has a long way to go. And anything I’ve used I have just used as the framework and then have had to make revisions to personalize and clean up any inaccuracies!”
At Tally Workplace, co-founder Laura Beales is another convert to the AI tool that’s changing the way people write and research.
“We use chatGPT frequently within our business and believe as a small startup it can help us get ahead of the competition that is slower to make use of the tool. It greatly reduces the time needed to create content about each of our workspaces and offices. Whilst we edit the descriptions and articles it produces, we estimate it reduces the time for us to create content by 80%,” explains the entrepreneur.
“I also use it for writer’s block and content ideas; our last three blogs on our website have all been created using AI. It frees up time and ensures we have some SEO-worthy content flowing,” says Run’s co-founder, Samuel Dontoh.
Thousands of miles from the capital of England, in Canberra, Australia, co-founder and CEO of fitness and leisure brand Salti, Jo Flynn, has also started to use AI for her business.
“Our virtual assistant/copywriter was creating all our social and email content. However, she had to leave us to focus on her studies. I haven’t been able to replace her so started experimenting with ChatGPT and I’m happy with the outcome so far. I’m a trained comms and marketing professional (with nearly two decades of experience), but I simply don’t have time these days to write content. So, ChatGPT was a simple (and free) solution,” Admits Flynn.
“ChatGPT has written this blog post about The rise of sweat to swim activewear. I requested a certain style and tone of voice, and after a few rounds landed on the above. It came up with some pretty cool stuff each time I requested a change in tone or style. Then, I made some slight edits to make sure it was accurate and reflected our brand, and that was the end result,” celebrates the entrepreneur that utilised ChatGPT to stay one step ahead.
“Afterwards, I asked ChatGPT to write a series of Facebook ads and headlines and I’m now running ads to a cold audience, direct to this blog post. Each link click costing around $0.14.”
The viral effect that has put artificial intelligence in the mainstream daily conversation has catapulted the tool to the top of the most valued startups in recent years. In 2019, even before the launch of ChatGPT less than three years ago, OpenAI had already secured a $1 billion investment from Microsoft. Last month the Wall Street Journal reported that the research lab started talks to sell existing shares in a tender offer that would value the company at around $29 billion – a significant jump in valuation from a prior tender offer completed in 2021, when OpenAI was estimated to be worth $14 billion.
Not everyone, though, has fallen head over heels for ChatGPT.
“ChatGPT is a useful tool if used correctly. Thinking that you will get a perfect copy on your first try every time is unrealistic. In general, it is best practice to use the copy that the tool creates as a first draft. It can be helpful to spark ideas and save some time in the initial stages of developing copy,” says Paula Napolitano, product sales manager at Wisetek. “Pieces generated can also have a robotic quality to them. The lack of nuance and tone gives the impression that a robot wrote the piece, meaning that you lose a personal connection with your audience. ChatGPT is by no means the end of professional copywriting. The platform still doesn’t express itself in a convincing enough way to make it believably human,” highlights Napolitano who has extensive experience in copy development.
“I use the AI tool to help me write emails, blog posts, and Twitter threads. It’s useful for outlining and idea generation, but it can’t give you a finished piece” says Marketing Consultant Michael Comeau. “ChatGPT-written content is often inaccurate, and it’s always boring. It reads like something out of a content farm. So, you have to rewrite everything it outputs, especially since Google and other search engine seem primed to downrank AI-generated content,” analyzes Comeau.
“ChatGPT responses are not 100% accurate but they are easy to curate to your needs. One plus point of the tool is that it generates very ‘accurate data in numbers’. For example, if I need to see the active number of users on Facebook, ChatGPT gives me a very accurate figure leaving room for any potential changes. For content, undoubtedly ChatGPT is a great help, but it can often wrong you. Several times I have had to curate the generated content because it is not always according to our defined personas. Sometimes it even generates totally opposite content to what we are aiming for,” explains Ben Miller, founder of Focus On Digital, who has reduced his Google search for data in numbers after starting to use ChatGPT for marketing purposes.
Some concerns arise from the limited capability of ChatGPT in understanding the sensitive layers of some content.
“We are using ChatGPT to give us the foundation for new articles we write for both our sites. However, we would never dream of simply copy/pasting this content as we know it gets flagged by Google’s algorithms and so we will use a combination of paragraph rewriting tools and our own human editors to improve the content. We have also found that it doesn’t always provide accurate information, especially when it comes to things like LGBTQ+ rights,” points out Darren Burn, CEO at Out Of Office, a full-service luxury travel specialist in inclusive LGBTQI+ travel.
“I do believe it’ll be a good tool for research for content writers, but I would urge management to ensure that its habits don’t seep into copy and content on websites just to try to get more traffic to a site. You can imagine Google is working hard to combat AI-generated SEO written content – and rightly so,” points out Burn.
And British Website Consultant Victoria Bennett, who uses the AI tool to help create content for websites, is using the tool with caution because of some other drawbacks.
“When drafting a blog article, I ask ChatGPT some questions that will help me gain background information quickly. It is accurate most of the time. But I personally wouldn’t rely on it completely and I still check key facts, as it gets some factual information wrong. Recently, while looking for information on golf courses for a blog post, ChatGPT presented me with some incorrect information on who designed a particular course. I had to check the course owner’s website to find the accurate information,” recalls Bennett.
“ChatGPT has also become a victim of its own success when it comes to availability. The tool’s popularity means that the system can become overwhelmed at times. When demand is high, the tool may not be able to admit additional users, causing temporary disruptions in service. This can be frustrating for users, especially for those who are relying on ChatGPT for critical tasks,” says Natasha Maddock from Events Made Simple.
Despite occasional challenges, Maddock believes ChatGPT remains a valuable tool for businesses and individuals looking to improve efficiency and productivity: “Time is precious. We use ChatGPT for a variety of tasks, including editing content, suggesting article topics, writing blog post outlines, and generating FAQs. We were pleasantly surprised by its capabilities,” says the professional, who spent the first 14 years of her career as a technology business adviser.
Inaccuracies delivered by ChatGPT also include out-of-date information about its own products.
Launched early in February 2023 as an alternative for those unsuccessfully trying to login into an overwhelmed website, often informing users that the platform is working at capacity and suggesting account holders try to log in another time – or leave an email to be informed when the free version of the AI tool will be up and running – ChatGPT Plus is a paid version offering advanced features and priority access at peak times in countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The service costs $20 per month. However, 10 days after its launch, when asked to write a paragraph about the premium service and its benefits, ChatGPT returned my prompt informing me that it costs $49 to subscribe for ChatGPT Plus – yes, it isn’t sure even how much OpenAI charges for the usage of its own invention.
There is a reason for that.
Although ChatGPT is a clear breakthrough and has seen tremendous growth in popularity, attracting millions of users from around the world thirsty for a flexible tool for natural language processing, the wide range of content it offers currently stumbles upon another crucial limitation: time.
As the AI tool has only been trained on data up to 2021, it means that ChatGPT has no knowledge of current events. But this won’t stop the artificial intelligence tool from trying to give you some content, if asked – even if it is completely untrue. When asked to write a short article about who is the President of Brazil and when he took office, ChatGPT wrote that former military officer Jair Bolsonaro is the current President of Brazil, having taken office on January 1, 2019. In fact, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva is the actual head of the largest Latin American country.
The viral tool of 2023 also wouldn’t know that singer Sam Smith made headlines with his choice of attire for the red carpet of the Brit Awards this year: a black latex zip-up outfit featuring inflated shoulders and thighs which created a heart-shaped effect on the lower half – an image that ChatGPT couldn’t ever unsee, had it been fed with recent data.
How to earn a YouTube Creator Award plaque?
Since its launch in 2015, YouTube has amassed millions of views on content uploaded to the Google-owned platform every single minute. And the creators behind the diverse array of content are often recognized by the world’s leading video-sharing platform for milestone achievements. Enter the YouTube Creator Award plaque, an exclusive reward system featuring plaques of different categories and tiers that content creators regularly uploading to the platform can receive.
So, what are these coveted plaques, and what to do to earn a YouTube Creator Award plaque?
YouTube Creator Award plaques are divided into distinct categories, each representing a specific achievement level in number of subscribers to a channel. According to the official YouTube Creators page, those who “pour their heart and soul into their videos” are celebrated once they reach Creator Award subscriber milestones.
YouTube Creator Award categories
Silver Creator Award
The Silver Creator Award is the initial milestone, awarded to creators upon reaching 100,000 subscribers. Around 321,000 channels available on YouTube have 100,000 subscribers or more.
Gold Creator Award
The Gold Creator Award is a coveted accolade presented to creators who achieve one million subscribers. It is a remarkable milestone and a substantial impact within the YouTube community, as well as possible earnings.
Diamond Creator Award
Reserved for the crème de la crème, the Diamond Creator Award is offered to creators who achieve 10 million subscribers – not an easy task. The category was first introduced in 2015 when YouTube unveiled the YouTube Diamond award at VidCon.
But don’t start to plan where you will hang your award so soon.
Like all other previous categories, Creator Awards are given at YouTube’s sole discretion and the platform only recognizes creators that have played by the rules. Channels are subject to review before awards are issued. That means that only creators that keep their accounts in good standing without copyright strikes, community guideline violations or artificially increased subscriber counts, among other criteria, are likely to get one of these plaques.
You don’t have to be a member of the YouTube Partner Programme (YPP) to be eligible for an award. But, besides fully complying with the platform’s strict guidelines, to get the award a channel must be active (has uploads within the last six months prior to reaching a milestone), and creators can’t have an active Community Guidelines violation, and haven’t received any in the last 365 days.
How to claim a YouTube Creator plaque
If a YouTube channel reach the threshold to be eligible to silver, gold or diamond award, the channel’s owner will get a notification via the Creator Studio within one week of passing a Creator Awards milestone. The notification will include a unique redemption code that the content creator will need to enter on YouTube’s redemption portal, including informing YouTube about the channel name and delivery information.
Once all steps are completed, YouTube will then begin handcrafting the Creator Award. Depending on where in the world the channel owner lives, YouTube estimates that it can take up to four weeks to build and dispatch a Creator Award.
In 2022 YouTube commemorated 10 years of its awards with a mini exhibition, highlighting the evolution of YouTube Awards. The awards themselves may have gone through some design changes, but is remains a symbol of a creator’s accomplishment, including not only a sizeable number of followers, but also a recognition for countless hours of time, effort and creativity that went goes developing content, growing a channel and actively engaging with viewers on the platform.
YouTube had more than 2.70 billion active users as of 2023, including 80 million Premium active users worldwide. However, although receiving a YouTube reward plaque is a testament to a creator’s dedication, talent, and impact within the online community, it is important that any online channel spend times focusing more on content quality than numbers or prizes made of metal.
Social media research threatened by new data limitations
Academics around the world have warned of a threat to scientific research as major social media platforms limit access to user data.
Over the course of 2023, numerous social media platforms including X (formerly known as Twitter), TikTok, and Reddit made substantial changes to their Application Programming Interfaces, known as APIs.
Researchers have routinely tapped APIs for large-scale data on social media users into behavioural patterns at individual, group, and population levels. This work has included predicting where conflict may occur and allocating disaster aid; and understanding the impacts of online polarization or misinformation on voting patterns.
However, the changes to APIs have led to data access being drastically reduced, or becoming more costly due to increased charges, meaning that this kind of research is now much harder to conduct. It also inadvertently impacts app developers who have built their service on this source of information.
A new study outlining the implications of changes to how data is extracted and shared within and across social media platforms has been published in Nature Human Behaviour.
Dr Dirk van der Linden from Northumbria’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences was one of the contributors to the study. Dr van der Linden is part of Northumbria’s Social Computing (NorSC) group, which studies social technology and the idea that designing it requires critically understanding the people that use it, the ways in which they live and interact with one another, and the impacts that it can have on our behaviours and interactions with the world.
“It is ever more important to be able to study what is happening on social media networks, as so much of our lives are lived online”, says van der Linden. “It’s already complicated for scientists to deal with an increasingly fragmented landscape of different social media networks in use today, where much of the data is inherently ephemeral. But when the networks controlling this data further complicate matters with more restrictive terms and conditions, we risk running into situations where research skirts the borders of what is ethical, or worse (depending on your point of view), not done at all.”
The research team on the study, which was led by the University of Bath, said that the changes are adversely affecting academics who want to study the impact of social media on mental health, misinformation, political views and more.
“It’s critical that research on people and society can access these large-scale data sets as there can be policy implications and far-reaching consequences if we get it wrong,” said Dr Brit Davidson, from the University of Bath’s School of Management.
“Over time, we have many cases of where the lack of open science (sharing data, analysis, materials) impacts our ability to verify and check for science credibility. We’ve seen science discredited, which causes concern as to whether work can be reproduced or replicated.”
However, there are instances where changes to API access is necessary. For example, the Cambridge Analytica Scandal in 2018 led social media platforms to implement strict measures to prevent third-party users from gaining access to personal data without consent. They then enabled users to revoke app permissions, which gave users more control over their data to protect user privacy.
The EU Digital Services Act, which came into effect in August 2023, aims to provide vetted researchers with access to ‘very large online platforms’, with similar updates to GDPR Article 40. However, researchers are still waiting to hear more about what vetting means in practice and the conditions of using the data.
X app may lose up to $75 million in advertising revenue in 2023
Elon Musk’s next-generation craft reached space for the first time on November 18th. But when it comes to the digital world, Musk-owned social media platform X, formerly Twitter, could lose as much as $75 million in advertising revenue by the end of 2023, the New York Times has reported on Friday.
The entrepreneur backing an antisemitic post on the platform last week has led several companies including content giants Walt Disney and Warner Bros Discovery to pause their advertisements on the site – and these were not the only ones.
According to the New York Times, Internal X documents reviewed by the publication reportedly showed more than 200 ad units of major brands such as Airbnb, IBM, Coca-Cola and Microsoft that have either halted or considered pausing ad spending on the platform recently. On Friday X said that a whopping $11 million in revenue was at risk and the exact figure fluctuated due to some advertisers returning to the platform and others increasing their spending, according to the report by the Times.
After the backlash, Elon Musk said that X Corp. will donate any revenue the social media platform generates from advertising and subscriptions linked to the war in Gaza to hospitals in Israel as well as to the Red Cross in Gaza.
This is not the first time revenue at X had revenue worries in the past few months, with Reuters previously reporting that X’s ad revenue has declined at least 55% year-over-year each month since Musk’s takeover.
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