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Content Creation’s shift in environment over 15+ years.

Gamingtodaynews1g - Content Creation's shift in environment over 15+ years.
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I don’t really know a good segway to begin this so I will just begin by being upfront. This isn’t about me but about what I have personally observed over the course of almost 16 years of making content. I think anyone who has been around as long as me can attest to these changes as well and who knows maybe they have similar feelings.

I decided to write this all up because once again I came across a post of “this person has been making x videos a year and never got noticed!” This always messes with me because it makes it seem like this is some rare occurrence but instead this is very regular. I will try to organize this the best I can at midnight with beers and ADHD so bare with me. This next part may seem pointless to some but it is to lay the foundation of this discussion and explain who I am.

I started making content in 2005 and have watched the environment for content creators change drastically since then. It’s hard to believe now but there was a time when creators made content not for popularity or money but for fun. It was such a new thing that everyone was dipping their toes in to see what would happen. Newgrounds creators had already been pumping out fantastic content. Some of those people went on to lead wonderful careers (Jerma985 and Egoraptor). As things grew everything started to shift and eventually Networks (more in a sec) and Youtube started to abuse the creators bringing people to the site. With that said I remember Youtube being decent for longer than the Networks.

For anyone new to content creation Networks were groups who would support you as a creator often giving you access to music you could use in your videos and loose guidance on how to improve. The way this started to get a bit tainted was with the split of the funds some networks would ask for. I would say it was around this time you first started to see DMCA strikes show up. Machinima was the biggest issue for the longest time but I digress, let’s forget Machinima.

This is common information you hear from a lot of people who make content but I want to talk about a few things I have personally experienced in the process and would like to discuss it.


Why do people make content

People make content for fun or educational reasons but a lot of people make content as an escape from other problems. Some people make content to escape depression, anxiety, abuse, or because they desperately need some form of human contact. I was part of the depression group but I didn’t really understand that when I started making content. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of exceptionally talented and hardworking people who try their best to bring you the best content they can and I am not saying everyone who does this has some underlying issue. Those people I don’t worry or think about. There is a much larger group that we need to look at.


The issues I see

In the beginning there wasn’t this huge wave of “” so most of the time it wasn’t in people’s mind. Things have changed now. A lot of people have heard of Ninja or so and so or whatever is popular making a ton of money even if they have no interest in making content. The reason I mention this is because I have seen, in extreme cases, people leave their job to pursue content creation full time. I have seen people try to use content creation to cure depression only to nosedive hard when no one watches their stuff. People make big mistakes and have huge misunderstandings of content creation. With the addition of places where you can buy views, subscriptions, follows, and more for cheap prices you have a whole lot of people losing a lot of what they have in a total black hole.

One of the saddest issues I have seen come up is distrust and betrayal with the communities. You have a ton of people acting like they are drowning, desperate for views. They will latch onto people and use them as tools to get more views. Fake friendships and dishonest opinions run rampant in the community now. I feel like there is a large sense of community that has just been perverted over the years.

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Alright, so what are we supposed to do

Honestly this is a discussion piece on reddit. There is nothing we can do. This is the reality of content creation now. Some people are going to make their lives miserable because no one watches their stuff and every time you see a post of “ has X videos and never been noticed” just know that there are 1000’s upon 1000’s of people like that. All you can do is remember to comment on your small creators content and try to spread the word about them.


Why make content for nobody?

This was a big reason for why I wanted to post this. I think there is value in continuing to do your best in making (and archiving) content. I will give an anecdotal example but it shows one of many reasons. When I lost my grandparents and later my cousin I never thought that what I would miss most was their voice and mannerisms. I have over 1000 youtube videos and never got much attention, pretty much made every mistake in the book starting out. The reason I make footage now as dumb as it sounds is for my future kids. When I die I never want forgetting my voice or face to be a worry for my kids. They will be able to look back on 16 years of their Dad’s life while he was having fun and being himself. When my parents go I won’t have anything close to that amount of memory material.


The cynical man

I won’t tell you to do your best and you will get huge someday, it doesn’t work like that. I am a numbers and tech guy so I obsess with the quality aspects of my content. This is another way of saying that you can have the nicest looking stuff out there but if it isn’t what people want it doesn’t make a difference. You need a talent, gimmick, or skill that you can offer people in exchange for their valuable time. I feel like 60% at the absolute least will not make it anywhere close to making a living off their content.


Why post all this?

With Youtube’s continued mistreatment of creators, Twitch’s constant ignorance of their own rules, and no major alternatives in sight I am worried about some of the folks putting time into this. I am gearing up to retire from making content so I find myself looking more at those starting now. I would also say that the death of flash has also inspired me to write this since so many of the creators I love came from Newgrounds. People need to keep making things and as counter intuitive as it sounds people need to keep making content happily for nobody if they enjoy it.


The anecdotal takeaway

These days I make content for no one. I never advertise and I never do collaborations. I made content for the completely wrong reasons starting out and at this point I feel like I have settled into a much calmer crack in the content creation world. I guess I want people to be mindful and attempt to go back to how things were. Make content that makes you happy and don’t focus on your numbers as much. Don’t let your mental health run your content and don’t act like it is other people’s fault. Don’t think making content is an easy money maker and don’t use people to try and make it one.


The discussion at hand?

For those old enough to remember and for those just starting out. What have your observations been as a long time or new creator? Do you make content for any unique reasons? Did you battle with making content to no one? What would you do to change the content creation field?

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