A content creator is any individual who generates material for informational or educational purposes. This is usually applied to the digital world since there is where most of the content now resides. The Internet is also where the money is.
This was not always the case. Technology is helping to push more people into this realm.
Traditional Content Creators
Content creation was dominated by major players for much of the last 100+ years. Broadcast television and major movie studios were the drivers of this. They not only had the ability to generate shows and movies but also controlled the distribution mechanisms.
This means that large corporations were at the center of this. Whether it was sports, news, films, education material, or even self-help courses, it took a lot of money to create and distribute the content.
The industry was dominated by some of the best known names. They were also some of the most valuable stocks.
We see entities such as:
- Major newspapers
- Time Warner
Internet And Social Media
The Internet changed the world of content creation and, thus, who was creating it.
Probably the first innovation was the development of the blog. This allowed anyone to share his or her thoughts on any subject. Platforms such as Wordpress providing a foundation for this.
Video became a huge medium as communication systems improved. The rise of social media was driven, in part, due to YouTube. This video platform allowed people to create video blogs (vlogs). With the advancement of technology, including improved camera performance on computers, recording videos because accessible to the masses. The mobile phone further advanced this cause.
Historically, content creators were know as journalists, producers, actors, broadcasters and a host of other names. The term likely started to gain traction with the explosion of YouTube.
The monetization of content along with the sharing of it with some of the top creators starting to present some with the ability to earn a living. Essentially, it became their job. For a small portion of the YouTube population, financial sustenance became possible.
Google was the innovator in this realm. Other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have yet to follow although Elon Musk is talking about adding the ad revenue distribution for creators to the platform.
Netflix started to make headlines when the cost of content it was paying to stream across its network exploded. Since it was not a movie studio, the company started without a library. This caused it to license the content from those who had it. Early on, this wasn't a newsworthy event.
With the success of the platform, content owners started to realize the value they held along with the ability for the Internet to deliver to consumers. This caused a massive spike in the cost as others started their own streaming services.
Forms of Content
Content can come in many forms. It can be:
The key is to provide information and experience related to the content. This is what users seek. Different digital platforms seek to tap into the network effect by having content creators fill their ecosystem with content consumers seek.
Content is obviously a major piece of the puzzle. Content creators also have to be mindful of the medium through which it is delivered. This can add to (or detract from) the user experience.
The impact of the Internet on content should be obvious. Any advance in that area will obviously affect content creators. Most of what is out there is now considered Web 2.0. Here is where problems arise.
Another word for content is data. Users of social media platforms generate an enormous amount of data, all housed on centralized servers. These are under control of the entity with the users having no say over it. These companies are able to monetize this without having to share with the creators.
Over the last 25 years, the common method of data usage was for advertising. The platforms engaged in targeted ads which commanded a greater fee from advertisers. Facebook and Google are the largest beneficiaries of the online advertising dollars, raking in tens of billions each quarter.
Recently, there is another area where data is crucial. This is artificial intelligence (AI). Most machine learning engines require larges amount of data. This is where the social media companies have an advantage. They house a decade or more of data, provided by users for free. They are now seeking to monetize it. Facebook is using their database to train their own AI models. The same is true of Twitter and Google.
The result is a dispute of who owns the data (content) that is generated. Mega technology firms believe it is theirs since it is on their servers and was created on their platforms. Users, another term for content creators, are starting to get upset that hundreds of billions is generated without them seeing any of the proceeds.
Here is where the users (creators) are the product.
Another potential issue is the merging of social media and finance. To provide this, platforms are going to require wallet systems. This opens up a couple issues.
To start, how can one be sure ownership will be maintained. If an account can be closed by the platform, this means all assets are effectively frozen. It is one thing for people to lose years of Tweets or Facebook posts but inaccessibility to a wallet could have enormous monetary impact.
Second, if the wallets are centralized, that provides a honeypot for hackers to look to exploit. Hacks are common especially when money is involved. It a wallet is tied to one's user account and the servers get hacked, all funds could be drained.
The are issues that Web 2.0 has failed to provide an answer for.
In the last few years, content creators had to concern themselves with account ownership. This is one of the promises of Web 3.0. We regularly see instances where accounts were banned by certain platforms. The most famous example was President Donald Trump having his account closed by Twitter.
When this occurs, one's entire digital experience is instantly erased, at least from public view. It is also a detriment to the monetization of any said content.
A key is the tokenization process. Platforms built on these networks have cryptocurrency tied to them. This can serve as incentive for content creators to post their works in hopes of gaining reward. Unlike the Web 2.0 model, many of these systems allow creators to financially benefit from the onset.
The network effect is one of the main drivers of value. We now the valuation given to social media platforms by Wall Street. Part of the design of Web 3.0 is to distribute value capture tokens. Here we see the network effect's value mirrored in the coin or token, something that provides value when given as a reward to content creators. This is not utilizing fiat currency while also adding another monetary layer to the equation.
Once such social media ecosystem that is expanding is Hive. It offers a place where content creators can post to a decentralized database where the nodes are outside the control of any individual or company. Accounts are accessed using a private key meaning it cannot be cancelled or eliminated.
As Web 2.0 is replaced, content creation will take on a radically different meaning. It is possible that we could see people micro-earning off those system that are able to offer micropayments. This will result in incremental amounts of money flowing into one's wallet, but happening quite often throughout the day.
One of the key variables for this system is there is no cost to the content creators. The node operators are incentivized through the code at the base layer. Their role is to run the infrastructure to keep the network running.
Another factor that is imperative is the lack of transaction fees. Since most blockchains were set up with the idea of conducting financial transactions, their ledgers resemble that of banks. Hive offers decentralized text storage, which makes it ideal for articles and other content of this nature. Social media applications will likely have a tough time surviving if users have to pay a fee for each vote or comment.
Some of the fronts ends for content creators to access the Hive ecosystem: