- 2022 was a record year for the creator industry.
- Top moments ranged from trends like the beloved Corn Kid to the emergence of AI-generated content.
TikTok's "Corn Kid" took hold of the creator economy last year.
As part of Insider's inaugural list highlighting the next generation of leaders in the influencer space, we asked individuals what their favorite social-media moment was in 2022. These rising stars have spent the past year making tangible change through their work on products, content, or initiatives at startups or social-media giants. They've spent countless hours tracking and studying some of the industry's biggest trends. (Read our full list of 22 rising stars of the creator economy.)
Several industry professionals reflected on the viral "Corn Kid" meme, when a seven-year-old boy became an internet sensation from a video on TikTok of him expressing his love for corn.
"I loved that it was such an organic wake," said Josh "Caru" Glodoveza, vice president of talent at Fanjoy. "It felt like we were back in the early 2000s, when you could do something funny and you would go viral, and you just had this moment."
Here's a breakdown of the best social-media moments in 2022, according to Insider's rising stars of the creator economy:
AI and AR filters
Tejas Hullur, content creator and cofounder of Catch'n Ice Cream, said his favorite online moment last year was the advancement in TikTok filters, and more generally, AI and AR filters across social media.
"The different voice things where people record and the whole thing is dubbed in this whole new voice — that created a whole new dimension of creativity," Hullur said.
Hullur is eyeing the "micro industry of filter creators" that has emerged because of this.
Chloe Shih, product manager and communities engagement lead at Discord, also said the emergence of AI-generated content tools like Midjourney, ChatGPT, and Lensa was a favorite.
Street interview-style content
Christen Nino De Guzman, founder of Clara for Creators, said she loved the street interview-style content that's popped up in the last year.
Creator-led food brands
Jose Manuel Perrone, cofounder of Cura, said he was excited to see how many creators launched their own CPG food brands this year, like MrBeast's Feastables.
"Days of Girlhood" documentary
Andrew Rico, strategic partner manager at Instagram, said one of the first creators who Rico worked with was Dylan Mulvaney, a trans rights activist and content creator, who rose to fame this year with her "Days of Girlhood" series documenting her transition on TikTok and Instagram.
"Dylan is an absolute superstar," Rico said, highlighting her recent interview with President Joe Biden about trans rights via NowThis.
Ziwe's talk show
JUV Consulting's Nate Jones, head of influencer marketing, and Arianna Williams, director of influencer marketing, said Ziwe's late-night talk show, and highlight clips of the show on TikTok, was a favorite.
"I think it's so iconic and so many funny moments have come out of that show," Williams said.
Ryan Trahan's "Penny Series" on YouTube
Andrew Leonard, strategic partner manager at YouTube, said his favorite moment was watching the "Penny Series" videos published by creator Ryan Trahan, who has 11 million subscribers.
In this series of videos, Trahan attempted to survive for 30 days after starting with just one penny. He filmed daily vlogs to document his experience while raising money for charity.