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Perception of Content Creators in Modern Society

Introduction: The Claim

With the increase in the power of social media, the opportunity for creating and often monetizing content has risen exponentially, spawning the emergence of multiple online content creators. However, while the number of content creators is growing, the attitudes toward them have been displaying rather peculiar dynamics, shifting from initial suspicion to unwavering support to the current drop in appreciation for the work that content creators have been putting into their products. By drawing the public’s attention to the specified issue with the help of a documentary or a similar tool, one will be able to promote the emotional connection between content creators and their target public, thus, increasing the extent of empathy and understanding in the latter.

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Analysis: Content Creators and Their Perception

Support

The drop in the extent to which content creators are valued by viewers has been observable and quite noticeable recently. Specifically, the willingness to support online content creators with donations as the main marker of people’s appreciation for the provided entertainment has been noticed recently (Wan et al. 841). Additionally, the numerous restrictions in the requirements for the type of information that content creators are allowed to use in their work have shown a drop in the appreciation for their work and its perceived value of it.

On the surface, the factors affecting the observed phenomenon could be explained from the perspective provided by Porter’s Five Forces analysis. Indeed, the reasons for the trend of content creators’ work being devalued and underappreciated by a significant percentage of users can be explained by the rapid market saturation and, therefore, the increase in the bargaining power of customers. As a result, the competition rates increase exponentially, which makes it particularly hard for content creators with smaller channels and comparatively low influence to attract new audiences, as well as meet the demands of the current ones (Kwon et al. 152). As a result, the unreasonable demand for high quality from the creators who do not have the needed resources and, therefore, prefer to take the niche that used to involve a lesser range of costs are gradually being ousted from the environment of social media (Kwon et al. 153). The described trend in setting unreasonable expectations for content creators appears to be one of the major driving forces that causes the levels of appreciation for them and their products to drop among general audiences (Wan t al. 842). Therefore, the fact that the extent of the value that viewers place on content creators and the work that they do has been declining gradually.

Opposition

However, there is also strong evidence against the fact that content creators’ work has been devalued in modern society. The existence of several highly influential platforms that allow content creators to monetize their products is clear evidence of the fact that content creators are well appreciated, at the very least, by their target audiences. For example, a recent study by Regner explains that the popularity of services such as Patreon and other crowdfunding tools proves the existence of high demand for content creators and their work. Although the study admits that the statistics are quite skewed and uneven, there is a trend for creators to provide regular content and interact with their audiences to receive sizeable amounts of Patreon donations (Regner 136). Namely, Regner states that “Indicators of communication quality, like an image upload, the length of texts that describe the campaign, its creator or their goals, or a thank you video, are correlated with funding success” (Regner 134). Therefore, the evidence of content creators being appreciated by their target audiences is quite plentiful.

Response

Nevertheless, despite regular donations via Patreon and similar services, a trend of content creators being devalued in the modern global community has been observed. The specified changes surface in the form of harsher criticisms and a drop in the value of content creators due to the rapid increase in the amount of content produced.

Additionally, whereas content creators with a massive presence in the industry have a substantial amount of support, smaller channels do not gain the same recognition, with very few people willing to donate to support them. Indeed, research shows that smaller channels tend to be overlooked and often underfunded, which leads to them being closed or abandoned, while their authors move to more lucrative business opportunities, abandoning their social platforms (Kopf 2). The observed phenomenon is reinforced by the commercial, capitalist nature of social platforms that often prove to be unsupportive of smaller channels, thus, rendering them unsustainable in the increasingly competitive setting of the content industry. For instance, Kopf (p. 3) delves into the economic underbelly of content hosting platforms to disclose their quite greedy nature: “dominant capital accumulation model of contemporary corporate internet platforms is based on the exploitation of users’ [and content creators’] unpaid labor.” Therefore, there are strong indications of the drop in the perceived value of the product that content creators deliver.

Solution

In order to support content creators, audiences will need to develop an appreciation for the created content. Specifically, people need to recognize that creating specific content, be it in a digital or traditional format, requires a large amount of time and even greater effort. Namely, authors pour not only their time, resources, and efforts into their work, but also their creativity and passion for the job that they do (Borum 1108). Therefore, the content created as a result should be deemed not merely as another piece of information that will be lost in the sands of time, but also as the product of the authors’ emotional the amount of time that has been contributed to every stage of the content creation process. The specified objective can be achieved by bringing the significance of creators’ work to public attention, which may come in the form of a documentary. Specifically, a movie that demonstrates the challenges of producing an art piece and creating content that resonates with multiple audiences will help helpful in creating a profound emotional response in the public. Although the financial reward that content creators receive for their work is doubtlessly an important motivator, the appreciation for what they do is also critical as a part of emotional support and feedback. Specifically, the movie in question may need to address the issues such as the increase in online piracy and the toll that it takes on content creators, the emergence of numerous copycats, the rise in creative burnouts, and emotional strain, as well as other relevant issues.

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As a tool for grabbing the audience’s attention, a documentary has its advantages and problems. What makes a documentary feature particularly useful in promoting the cause is the chance to portray the difficulties faced by content creators clearly, accurately, and, most importantly, believably. Thus, the audiences will develop empathy by relating to the challenges such as the lack of emotional support for artists, the burnout that content creators may face due to the necessity to provide a new product on a regular schedule, and other typical obstacles that artists face (Borum 1110). The specified approach will help to make the struggles faced by content creators be seen as relatable and human. On the other hand, the documentary approach may seem boring to some audiences, which will restrict the range of people that will watch the film. Therefore, the format will have to be shaped so that the movie could be appealing to the general demographic, as well as promote it in a way that will make it immediately inspiring and exciting to watch.

Conclusion

Due to increased market saturation and the rise in demand for quality and frequency of uploaded content, the appreciation for content creators has been dropping quite noticeably over the past decade. Although opportunities for financial support for content creators have been expanded, the emotional response from audiences remains a vital aspect of content creators’ motivation. Therefore, the problem can be addressed by drawing people’s attention to the problem of devaluing content creators and their work. Specifically, a documentary feature could be utilized to showcase the challenges faced by content creators, particularly, in the present-day saturated market. Thus, people are likely to grow more appreciation for the hard work done by content creators worldwide. As a result, the work of content creators will be more appreciated.

Works Cited

Borum Chattoo, Caty, and Will Jenkins. “From Reel Life to Real Social Change: the Role of Contemporary Social-Issue Documentary in U.S. Public Policy.” Media, Culture & Society, vol. 41, no. 8, 2019, pp. 1107–1124.

Kopf, Susanne. ““Rewarding Good Creators”: Corporate Social Media Discourse on Monetization Schemes for Content Creators.” Social Media+ Society, vol. 6, no. 4, 2020, pp. 1-12.

Kwon, Eunseon Penny, Ashley E. English, and Laura F. Bright. “Social Media Never Sleeps: Antecedents and Consequences of Social Media Fatigue Among Content Creators.” The Journal of Social Media in Society, vol. 9, no. 2, 2020, pp. 150-172.

Regner, Tobias. “Crowdfunding a Monthly Income: an Analysis of the Membership Platform Patreon.” Journal of Cultural Economics, vol. 45, no. 1, 2020, pp. 133–142.

Wan, Jinlin, et al. “How Attachment Influences Users’ Willingness to Donate to Content Creators in Social Media: A Socio-Technical Systems Perspective.” Information & Management, vol. 54, no. 7, 2017, pp. 837–850.

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