Starting out as a journalist covering music and tech in the early 2000s, I caught the start-up bug and began to learn how to code. At the time, it seemed like anything was possible. Just get your idea up on a browser and see what happens. Legacy media was trying to fight off this invasion of pirates ransacking their content. The problem was, they didn’t see the value in cultivating a network. They though everyone bought their product for its creativity.
What people were looking for was a community. I started a podcast network that doubles as a music mag in 2006 called Brooklyn Radio. It still exists. (https://brooklynradio.com). And while I tried to be a renegade in this landscape, I also failed to see the diminishing value of creatives. I tried to run it like a magazine, editing content and determining who had the talent to air their broadcasts on my network. In the end, five years later, as the record industry looked to regulate online radio, and server costs went up, I sold it . But what an experience. We had some popular DJs that lead to conversations with MTV and Vice Media. I got to shake hands with the mayor of New York City at the time, Michael Bloomberg.
I currently run a design and development shop on the outskirts of the city (https://914digital.com). I don’t call myself the CEO. I call myself a digital producer–because that’s what we do all day: Produce digital products to get brands noticed.
As social networks have become the front page of the internet, it has become crucial for clients to create ever more content to attract new business. It has become a bit formulaic in the ability for everyone to template and use frameworks for everything. But, as the web becomes more formulaic, other technologies and platforms are coming to take their place. Will AI and virtual reality–or, more likely, a mixed reality of the digital layered over the physical world–become the next wild west. I’d say most likely. But, well, you never know.
Into the Future
I think privacy, obviously, is going to become one of the key issues. The big social networks will either fracture from government regulation or users getting tired of being mobbed upon by strangers. Today’s internet is still a revelation. But, of course, many of its architects failed to see how their products could be used as a divisive wedges that spread disinformation and allowed government apparatus to spy on its citizens. (Hard to see when all that money is pouring out of the sky.) Mark Zuckerberg might have been one of the first sinners of virtue signalling. (“We want to connect the world.”) Unfortunately, he let his network get swamped by a lot of vile content–which always sells. So, yeah, save us the platitudes, brah.
I’m still optimistic, though. The web gives so many people a chance to express themselves creatively that never could have. But you have to sort through a lot of hate these days to find the light. It’s there, though.