Like most teenagers/young 20 somethings, I was raised on the internet and social media and over time I witnessed the evolution of content creation. Seeing more and more people on YouTube create a career for themselves and be able to make a living off of making videos was something that was revolutionary to see.
With the rise of the many different online communities such as vlogging, gaming, beauty, and even streaming, society has transformed into a social media-led world. Classes are being taught in colleges about social media marketing and strategies, major companies (think fashion, food, entertainment, etc.) are looking to content creators to promote their brands, employers are looking to those who have skills in media, and so on. To not take advantage of this abundance of opportunity that comes with content creation would be foolish...right?
If we were to look at the gaming community and study the new rise of streaming platforms like Twitch, there is a lot to be said about the way that major companies are overlooking and underrepresenting the users of these platforms. One streamer that I personally enjoy, who goes by GoofyWise, has even called for the unionization of gamers and streamers due to the fact that there is so much opportunity to be made with including these groups into the board room of making and designing games.
Gamers and streamers have made a huge contribution to the gaming industry and pop culture in general with games like Among Us bringing people from all backgrounds, (including AOC), to participate and come together. Fortnite has become a cultural phenomenon and even making an appearance in movies (think Marvel), due to gamers and streamers utilizing the game as content.
I believe that the future of media is streaming and gaming since it has been proven that platforms such as YouTube and Twitch have taken over traditional media. More people, especially kids, are choosing to watch a stream or a YouTube video over a cable tv show. Streaming services have completely dominated the entertainment industry and are starting to include content creators in their shows/series. There is no doubt that content creators are becoming the new age celebrity.
What major companies can do to ensure that gamers/streamers/content creators get the compensation they deserve is to include them in the conversation of producing new content and providing more space for creators of color to be accurately represented in their games, shows, and other long-form media. Media companies need to push for the inclusion of creators in the writing room, board room, and in the spaces that are responsible for the marketing strategies of their content. If anything else, creators need to unionize as well and understand just how much power they actually have.