What started out with blogging, and pod-casting, and then vlogging, has now come to be known as the participatory media revolution. If you haven’t been following it, the April 20 issue of the Economist has a good survey of what has come to be over the past few years.
I guess the Economist put it best when they said that the broadband world is soon going to be not just about downloading, but about uploading too. Users will be contributing content as well as consuming it –and contributing high-quality content too.
Have you tried making a video yet with your computer? It isn’t hard. What required the use of expensive machines way back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s can now be done very cheaply. Most camcorders can plug directly into a computer, content pulled, edited, cut, modified, and special effects added very easily. The hardware is cheap, and the software to do it is free. In many cases consumer content is indistinguishable from the pro stuff.
There’s is much excitement these days because we can see ahead to when the upload pipe is as fat as the download pipe. Media, advertising, entertainment, are all going to be affected. The audience is no longer captive –we don’t have to sit through a TV networks’s ads, and most likely we won’t. Audience attention has always been available at a price, but it is becoming more and more difficult to purchase it in big blocks –the audience is now more fragmented.
But while the big media companies think about their long term strategy, and magazines like the Economist write high-level stories, small businesses shouldn’t tune out.
Small businesses shouldn’t be reluctant to participate and produce content of its own. The advertising of the future will be more versatile, not simply existing as content that flashes in front of passive couch potatoes, but as content that is practical, portable, and entertaining. People want stuff to pass around, load on their iPods, or play on their TV/DVR’s which plug into their iPods and the internet.
So think about some ideas. Own a restaurant –why not a quick recipe that shocases your specialty and can be passed around to friends and viewed on an iPod? You’re an auto dealership you say –what about a handy short video showing your customers how to change a tire in an emergency? Technology is no longer a barrier: use your imagination.