5 Tech Trends Content Creators Need to Pay Attention To
Technology has provided new ways for creative professionals and artists to overcome the "starving artist" stigma and become digital entrepreneurs. Platforms including YouTube, Patreon and Shutterstock provide viable means for creators to publish and monetize their works.
However, there have also been some down moments. Constant changes in the monetization policies of these platforms have been largely considered to be disadvantageous to creators, compelling a number of artists to quit or, at least, threaten to leave, as reported by The Verge.
Still, these issues shouldn't discourage enterprising creative professionals to pursue their passions. If you're a creative professional looking to leverage technology to your advantage, it pays to stay on top of trends. These serve as good indicators of where the industry is headed, allowing you to make the necessary moves to stay relevant.
Related: Preparing for the Future of AI
Here are five key tech trends that are set to change the landscape for creative content and content creators.
1. Decentralized distribution platforms
One important issue for content creators is how to easily share and distribute their work. Blockchain ventures are building decentralized platforms that aim to challenge tech giants. Decentralized platforms promote openness, spurn censorship and reward their participants.
Projects such as TRON are working on building better global infrastructures for this. TRON has recently partnered with peer-to-peer (P2P) network BitTorrent in an attempt to further decentralize the web and provide more distribution. The effort, dubbed, Project Atlas, will incentivize users for acting as "seeds" who are peers who help host and distribute content. This encourages more participation and improves the network’s capacity. Users then get to enjoy better uptime and faster downloads.
2. Augmented and virtual reality
Improvements in mobile computing and display technologies are making augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) more affordable. Tech giants have all made huge bets in AR and VR since they recognize the potential of these technologies. 2017 saw $3 billion in investments pour into the industry, as reported by VentureBeat.
AR and VR have already proven themselves in a variety of use cases. In entertainment, the technologies are expected to provide more immersive gaming and live entertainment experiences. They are now also being used in teaching and in scientific research.
Ceek, as an example, is enabling artists and content creators to securely create virtual live concerts and merchandise. These items can then be used to enhance the audiences’ viewing experience during events broadcasted through VR.
Once AR/VR hardware and platforms mature enough to drive device prices down at the consumer level, there will inevitably be a large demand for content. As such, the need for artists working on visual and sonic content including motion graphics, 3D, sound effects and music will also increase.
3. AI-driven discovery and curation
Publishing platforms are also investing in using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help them discover and curate content.
Netflix, for example, relies heavily on its recommendation engine to keep subscribers interested. Wired explains that 80 percent of shows being watched on the platform are recommended by the engine. YouTube and Instagram are also using similar techniques to drive content discovery.
Much like with how writers had to master search engine optimization a decade ago, you now have to figure out how to get these recommendation engines working to your advantage. This way, you can optimize your content and even launch campaigns to increase your chances of being recommended by your chosen platform and gain more views.
4. Machine-generated content
Some of these AI are even good enough to be used for mainstream purposes. The Washington Post now uses an automated storytelling engine called Heliograf to write a number of its news articles. Other newspapers are also using AI to generate news updates.
As a content creator, you might see these projects as threats. But instead of being discouraged by these developments, you could consider it a source of motivation to hone your craft. Know that mediocrity isn't an option when machines will soon be able to produce works of passable quality.
5. Sharing economy side hustle
The growth of the sharing and gig economies has been a boon for just about everyone. It has afforded professionals with ways to earn not only on the side but full time as well. Sharing economy revenues are expected to reach $40.2 billion by 2020, as documented by Juniper Research.
Content creators can take advantage of opportunities to earn extra. You can try the more conventional route of accepting freelance gigs. Or, you can also rent out your equipment or computing resources during your downtime.
Designers, AI developers and filmmakers often invest in computers equipped with high-end graphics processing units (GPUs) that are capable of running demanding tasks such as image manipulation or video rendering. If you happen to have such a computer, you can rent out your GPU’s computing time to a platform such as Tatau. The platform pools together GPU power from renters for companies and projects to use in running their own complex computational requirements. You get compensated for the work your computer performs while others get to enjoy cost-effective and affordable supercomputing services.
So how should you react to these trends? Here are some ways that you could make these developments work for you:
Embrace the changes. Progress will happen whether you decide to participate or not. So why not dabble in these new channels to see what they offer? This way you'd be able to check if it would be fitting for the type of content you create and your audiences’ preferences.
Find opportunities. Today's successful content creators were fortunate enough to carve out their space in the market. Given the emergence of new platforms and tools, being an early adopter of these new technologies may give you the opportunity to be a pioneer and tap into fresh and unsaturated markets. Performing side hustles can even sharpen your skills or expand your network of contacts.
Focus on quality. One of the pitfalls of today's content creators is the tendency to copy the formula of established creators. While there's nothing wrong in drawing inspiration from others, avoid becoming a stale me-too. Find your own voice. Add some spit and polish to your work. Good content will always find an audience.
Lastly, be inspired and keep working on your craft. Remember that masterpieces aren't created overnight (and neither are careers).