Contributor – Alexander Plate
Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexanderBGault
It’s no surprise that the internet has drastically increased the amount of content, of any kind, that people with access to it consume.
In the past 2 years, 90% of the worlds’ content has been created and shared via Internet based platforms. That means that every book, movie, and television show from the nascence of humanity to 2013 accounts for only 10% of the worlds’ content today.
Who is taking in all of this content?
Where is all of this going?
There are many platforms, and nobody can really know what they all are. New platforms are created and revised almost daily, and so many come and go without a real following that they’re only a memory in someone’s server banks by the end of their first month.
Here, we will talk about 3 main platforms: YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Youtube is a Google-owned video sharing website, where people upload self-made videos to their “channel”, or profile, and gain “subscribers”, or people who will get updated on the videos posted. YouTube has proven to be one of the most important platform for internet content ever created, and this is shown by how much content is uploaded to it.
There are 300 hours of video content posted to YouTube, on average, per minute. That content comes in the form of vlogs (video blogs), original music, short films, and personality-driven videos and channels. YouTube has become, to the new generation, what television was to the older generations.
Now, instead of sitting down to one 45-minute show with four commercial breaks, people sit down to multiple 6-8 minute videos with only one ad per video. This actually has increased the visibility of advertisements to these watchers, as now, instead of only four or five commercial breaks where people lose their focus after the second ad, if that, now people are seeing a shorter, more interesting, advertisement, and there is only one per video, two or three for the longer 40-50 minute videos that sometimes appear.
YouTube’s gives viewers a sense of connection with the content creators, because in most circumstances, the video was written, filmed, edited, and advertised by the person performing in it. There are very few channels with multiple people, and those that do have multiple people generally have all of them in front of the camera lens as well, giving a sense of familiarity between the viewers and the creators.
The next big platform we’ll talk about is Twitter. Twitter is referred to as a micro-blogging platform, in which people create text or image based content and share it to an ecosystem of other people doing the same exact thing. Twitter has power by virtue of its simplicity. You don’t have to create and design a personalized homepage, there is only one design that everyone, from the most followed person on the platform to the newest person to make an account.
Twitter allows posts of at most 140 characters, including spaces and punctuation, so most posts, or “tweets” are somewhere between one and two short sentences. The image side is relatively similar, and the max amount of photos you can post is four. The platform has power as a connection agent between a creator and their audience, and is used by every popular YouTube creator with an active account. Presidential candidates have been using it since, in the US, the 2012 election, and individuals use it to connect with their friends, but strangers as well.
While the older generation likes Facebook for its long form capabilities, and its basis on connecting people to their already-existing circle of friends and family, the younger generations enjoy Twitters openness, as anyone can see an account and its tweets, unless that account owner has set their account settings to private, and its short-form simplicity.
Finally, there is Tumblr, known as a social blogging site. Tumblr functions similarly to both Twitter in that it is a blog platform where those that follow you are not necessarily people who know you. Twitter rounds out the group of content types we have listed here. YouTube functions for video, Twitter for short text, and Tumblr works very well for images and longer text. Through a system of tagging posts, where you give a searchable subject to a post that anyone can find, and reblogging, where one blog decides to post your content (appropriately sourced) on their own with the click of a button.
Tumblr is not as popular as Twitter or YouTube, however, and in some ways is exclusionary. Many blogs on the platform are very progressive-thinking, and more traditional individuals occasionally find themselves as the target of abuse on the platform for fitting into the “patriarchy” or being “cis-normative”, or unaccepting of those individuals that to not identify as either male of female only. Despite the faults of a relatively small, but very vocal part of its user group, (which exists on both YouTube and Twitter, but with far less success), Tumblr is a powerful way to connect to your niche groups, and appropriately tagged posts on the platform can reach millions of eyes.
The internet of today offers more ways that one can count to give and receive content. Individuals can use it to boost their own careers and build a brand, and companies can use it to revolutionize their methods of advertising and reach a whole new audience. But to effectively use these tools, you must recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each platform, and optimize accordingly.
Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his schools newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school. In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.
You can follow Alexander on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AlexanderBGault.