In my last article, I commented on the current events surrounding WhatsApp and Signal, and I spoke on how this affects our privacy and security while on the internet. The reason I started with this topic is simple: our privacy and security should be near the top of our list of concerns for the future, and it should influence the decisions we make moving forward.
Another area that deserves plenty of attention is the ownership of our content. The rise of social media platforms and advancements in technology have created a new tier of content-makers by removing many of the barriers that once limited exposure to a broader audience. The cameras we carry around in our pockets are on-par or better than the professional standards from the early 2000’s, and considering that most photos are viewed on mobile devices which have relatively small screen dimensions, the differences can become negligible in day-to-day life.
Why is content ownership important?
Content ownership is important for many reasons. Let’s start by examining the music industry. With the rise of streaming platforms the industry has been completely transformed. We have artists making names for themselves through platforms like YouTube, or more recently TikTok, who never had to sign a deal with a major label, yet reap the benefits of having a massive following of fans and contributors. While their success is admirable, and the early adopters could be considered pioneers of the new standards, this success is still reliant on these platforms until they’ve reached significant levels of recognition.
What happens if, unexpectedly, one of these platforms were to fold? Turns out we already have the answer. Another new form of consumable content, particularly popular among younger generations, has emerged in the form of video-game live-streaming (link for those late to the picture) through social media platforms such as Twitch (owned by Amazon) or, the now non-existent, Mixer. You might be thinking that Mixer had to have been a small start-up to have folded… right? If you haven’t already guessed, the answer is no. In fact, you’ve probably heard of the owner of Mixer: Microsoft. Yeah… not exactly a ‘little guy.’ Unfortunately, this meant that any progress made by streamers on Mixer who hadn’t yet ‘made it’ was lost, and needed to be regained on a competing platform like Twitch, or transferred to the newly-formed Facebook Gaming, which didn’t have nearly the same market share. Which raises the question: could this have been avoided?