I was browsing the Net in response to a query from a friend and ran across some of the goals for members of the Garden Writers Association. One of those goals was how to make money from their blogs and I suppressed a chuckle.
In order to shorten their search, here’s what’s happening in the online world (any member of GWA should feel free to send this URL along to those individuals)
Let’s get the first question out of the way. “Post-Internet” is what’s happening now as we move away from our desktop computers to a mobile experience and apps.
Let’s Get Some Data Onboard To Discuss This Trend
On my two garden websites, the desktop computer is about to go under 35% for the year. Mobile use (tablet and phone) is almost 65%.
The younger the user, the more likely that user is to use a mobile device.
If you search google for specific information, let’s say “How far apart should I grow tomatoes?” This is the result you see.
Now you have the information, why would you visit the website?
Somebody has just done Google’s work for them for free (this is true for images as well as information btw).
What kinds of Uses are we talking about
Fifteen years ago (or so) I wrote an article suggesting there were three main uses for the Net.
I was of the opinion that a good website would focus on one of these things as a primary objective but add a second one as a secondary.
I decided to create an information-based network based on gardening information (while trying to make it somewhat entertaining)
Fifteen Years Later
That worked reasonably well until recently when the “community” type of resources used by Facebook began including “Information” as part of the community.
We now have pro level gardeners sharing information online for free as part of a community. (Note I’m not suggesting this is wrong or bad – I’m simply reporting on the state of the information economy.)
Facebook is now a platform for a billion users a day (over 1.5 billion total users) to deal with all three main uses for the Net. I was right in the content but got swamped by the scale of the community Facebook created.
Facebook does indeed provide a platform for all three primary uses of the Internet.
This is a problem for all content experts.
Well, maybe there are a few that won’t feel the impact as much….
The old guidelines of what to write about if you want to make money will hold longer than other subject areas (get laid, get paid, lose weight).
This is the kicker. The phone is merely the first step away from the desktop.
A patent has been let for a contact lens with circuits built in for cameras and viewing.
- The miniaturization of cameras and viewing systems means that ordinary glasses will handle both the production and consumption of video without the “dorky” bulky look of the first Google Glass system.
- Heads up displays will appear for consumers in more than their automobiles.
- Apps will replace websites viewed through the desktop (Facebook/Instagram/Google etc)
- Augmented reality (and possibly virtual reality) will become mainstream on the phones and eye-based systems such as glasses (above).
Again, as an aside, the last time I attended a Garden Writer’s convention, I gave a talk predicting virtual reality. I was wrong on some of the details but nailed the trend. Didn’t do me much good but…
And Now A Word From The Real World
We are increasingly using apps on our phones to interact with websites and Facebook.
We get our information that way which means that running a website is increasingly a losing proposition *unless* there’s a link to a separate economic model.
- Preferably one that’s offline.
- In the online world and only for the moment, that could be a book or ebook via Amazon.
I suspect this too is time-limited but I have no data on that.
The Solution For Non-Fiction Creators?
I’m not seeing one other than a) Amazon – which could be time-limited and b) the offline world.
I’m interested in what you think about this. Tell me in the comments below.