The rise of social media platforms in the twenty-first century has fueled the growth and expansion of careers in content creation and social media influence. Regular people now have the chance to go viral overnight, gain a following, and earn money through the creator economy. However, virality does not promise the establishment of a successful social media career, especially for content creators who struggle with understanding their missional purpose and goals. In 2019 I began my journey as a content creator on TikTok and have since gained a following of over six hundred fifty thousand followers. Using my authority and experience as a content creator alongside industry research, I aim to teach creators the foundations for building meaningful careers on social media, developing various resources to help them do so.

To begin, my research examines social media through the lens of previous literature and discourse, highlighting dominant controversies and criticisms. I then provide a counterargument to the notion that social media is harmful to society by building upon the active audience theory and introducing the concept of the active creator. I argue that content creators are not passive, but rather have the agency to create positive change in the world. These active creators use their platforms to promote ethics, increase inclusivity, build community, and raise awareness for various missions and causes. Once creators identify their missional goals, I guide them through an explanation of the creator economy, teaching them how to build a career that is meaningful, passion-driven, and sustainable. To do this, I created an open-access website that hosts resources and guidelines developed in this thesis. This project hopes to leave readers with a feeling of empowerment and agency to achieve their purpose-driven missions on social media. Additionally, this thesis provides a critical analysis of the current state of the creator economy to inspire more research in this developing space.


Hayward, Jennifer


Global Media and Digital Studies


Arts and Humanities | Business


content creator, social media, influencer, social media influencer, creator economy, impact content creator, mission-drive content, social media industry

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis


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