The rise of the internet’s middle class

I participated in the chaos of MySpace, and remember the disappointment in seeing much online activity move to the hermetically-sealed, sterile environment of Facebook, Twitter and so on.

the “proud extroversion” of the early Web soon gave way to a much more homogenized experience: hundred-and-forty-character text boxes, uniformly sized photos accompanied by short captions, Like buttons, retweet counts, and, ultimately, a shift away from chronological time lines and profile pages and toward statistically optimized feeds. The user-generated Web became an infinite stream of disembodied images and quips, curated by algorithms, optimized to distract.

Back in 2008, 1,000 true fans posited that with just a thousand or so people willing to regularly pay for creations, a reasonable living could be made from creating things on the web. This was, however, before Facebook, Twitter and the rest stole away the monetisation of our content and kept the proceeds for themselves.

With the decline in trust in these platforms, and the realisation that there was money to be made, but only if one left the walled garden, an opportunity has opened up for creators to start to connect directly again with their audience. The notion that “if you are not the customer, you are the product” has also sunk in, leaving us more willing to pay for online content.

The Rise of the Internet’s Creative Middle Class considers this idea, and whether it’s here for good, or is more a brief moment of sunshine before new content platforms reappear to steal away the proceeds yet again.

← Older
Tweaking the NetNewsWire article theme
→ Newer
Arboreal Labyrinth