Trailblazing the creator economy, what’s next on the frontier?
Growing up in the ’80s, going to middle school & high school in the ’90s, and attending university in the early 2000’s I was privy to a front seat in a major dynamic shift. Times and technology were changing rapidly, perhaps more rapidly than any generation before. I vividly remember the first day I walked into the computer lab at my elementary school in Riverdale, New York, and it was full of these seemingly little boxes with a screen lined up on the desks. Everyone was assigned a computer, and we spent our time playing ‘Where in the world is Carmen San Diego’ or ‘Oregon Trail’. I loved the interaction because you got to decide what came next. We only spent thirty minutes to an hour per day on the computer at that time. Cell phone technology was still very basic, and until later in my high school years, only the very wealthy families I knew had them. So my childhood and formative years were spent playing outside until it was dark, calling your friend’s house to see if they’re available to play, much the same way generations before me did. Celebrities and stars in these generations were considered actors/actresses or sports stars because they made the content (movies, shows, games) that everyone consumed. The only content created at the time was from big Hollywood studios or early-stage software companies.
Computer technology started to develop rapidly in the mid to late ’90s, and so did the internet. AOL gave us email and messaging services, Napster gave us our first real digital access to music, and MySpace gave us social media, which has evolved into what we know it to be today. These new outlets and forms of connecting and the development of cell phone cameras gave rise to a new form of celebrity called the creator.
The path to massive audiences is easier today than ever before in history because of the advancements in technology. The creator as we know them today is anyone that produces content to share on various social media outlets and channels, with their ‘followers’ being a currency. Creators make anything from short-form TikTok’s, long-form YouTube videos, photos, memes, etc. Almost all of the content that Gen Z and Gen Alpha consume is made by these creators, who in most cases are their peers. Gone are the days of the massive Hollywood movie celebrity as the primary muse for the younger generation. When asked about what they want to be when they grow up, most Gen Alpha says creators.
The definition of a creator has shifted. The creator economy now consists of everyone making any type of content; The rise of the community token, peer-to-peer affinity driving commerce, or belonging to a group that shares similar interests, aka DAO’s. The future of the internet, or web3 as we now know it, is all about decentralization, and the ability for creators to monetize their likeness will be brought to the forefront. Currently, brands pay creators to support or promote their products on platforms like Tik Tok, but that has limitations as fans, especially the younger generation, see that as ingenuine and can see through that content. The concept of fans being rewarded for ‘fandom’ is relatively new and will be coming to the mainstream with the release of various platforms popping up, especially those using the innovations of the blockchain.
-Geojam Sam | twitter.com/geojamsam