Pooja Iyer Mukherjee
Just a thousand to make a million !
Updated: Feb 27
What do you want to be when you grow up? Doctor? Astronaut ? Writer?
Nope, a YouTube star.
The world today has a myriad of careers , but the one profession that has completely taken over the world by storm, is that of an internet creator, aka the social media influencer. The word “creator” even a decade back meant a writer, director, poet, sculptor, painter , musician , dancer , but today everyone who posts content is a creator. Whether you run a youtube channel or write blogs, or post instagram reels, you are a creator, in the world of the web.
More than 50 million people are creators and more than 2 million make six figures out of it.
When did it all begin?
Paul Saffo of Stanford University hinted at a “new economy” back in 1997, and in 2011 , YouTube coined the term “creator” for digital content creators.
Today EVERYTHING IS CONTENT AND CONTENT IS THE KING.
Good, bad , ugly, information in every shape is pouring through our phones , into our lives.
Together an economy has arisen
The Creator or the Influencer Economy.
A community of more than 50 million people using the power of Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, Patreon, Spotify, LinkedIn, Twitch to create images, videos, music, blogs, and much much more along with software and finance tools to monetize the said content, together forming , the Creator Economy.
Why Create ? What is the Goal ?
Digital Creators have one or more of the four pathways , which act like their goals to keep creating content for the digital media channels.
Educating and sharing specific domain knowledge and expertise with the public , and creating a loyal following from the same , with or without the goal to monetize the same.
Get their social media audience to move to their websites or mobile applications into purchasing their digital services.
Creating businesses related to their art or craft.
Gaining soft media power, becoming influencers for brands in the domain of their expertise.
Today if a major brand launches a new product line, other than roping in a famous actor or sportsman as a brand ambassador, they are seen contacting digital influencers in their product area, sending them samples and asking them to create sponsored testimonial videos, which become major catalysts to motivate sales.
The Modern Celebrity
The Creator Economy has opened up huge career prospects for talent across the globe, especially in times like the pandemic and economic recession. Today we see creators broadly classified into Creator-Performers and Creator-Educators. The performers tap into the thirst for entertainment, performing to invoke an emotion. They usually build large audiences pretty fast, but sometimes run the risk of losing it all with one bad move.
The educators on the other hand rely mostly on information derived from their skill set, wrapped up in an engaging fashion to draw an audience. They build a base slowly but are seen having loyal followers who rely on their opinions more than ever to make decisions.
The millennials, zoomers and generation alpha have made a major shift from traditional learning to microlearning thanks to the content created by the creator-educators. From learning a new form of art, to technology , from sprucing up a meal or learning how to lose a few pounds, the short and engaging medium of social media micro learning seems to draw more learners. Traditional education even though it is still very important, making money from your hobby without fancy degrees is the flavour of the century.
So far so good right ?
The craze to increase followers, get people to react to your content, and make your video viral has resulted in a massive toxic heap of content that is lacking in value and gaining popularity because of its sensationalism.
Being Bad Sells. Being Vulnerable Sells.
Showing Your Personal Life, and Relationships Sell.
On one hand it is good that due to the courage of some people who have been open about mental health, abuse and many such difficult experiences, a lot more have received the courage to destigmatize themselves, stop bullying, stop discrimination, and this is the BEST thing that could have happened to the world; but on the other hand, the hunger for popularity, faking experiences, creating hype has resulted in an extremely delusional and insecure generation. Suicide and Social Media seem to have quite a direct corelation.
According to a research by Sameer Hinduja and Justin Patchin , cyberbullying increases suicidal thoughts by 14.5 percent and suicide attempts by 8.7 percent.
Whether it is the race to get a million followers, or the frustration to see people of your age becoming digital media celebrities, both the creators and the digital audience are suffering from frightening mental health issues.
Extremely graphic content and excessive exposure to all types of information is disastrous to the adolescent and formative mind.
The transition to capitalism from feudalism takes the power from a few and hands it over to the masses. The Creator Economy and power of the digital media is another example of capitalism with the power in the hands of the public, deciding the fates of people and brands. Everyone today is a product, everyone online is a creator, everyone who is a part of the digital universe is a voice that can be clearly heard.
While this makes the world a fairer place to live, the question to ask is, is this a wave or a tsunami?