The Paradox of Lower Barriers to EntrySeptember 7th, 2012 by Michael Kwan
Internet Stars Become Real Stars
Just about anyone can get on the Internet and start a blog or a YouTube channel. You still need to have a certain talent and appeal to get noticed, but this is much easier than trying to get noticed through conventional media. What are the chances that you’ll get showcased on a major television show? Now, what are the chances that you can get viewed on YouTube?
Consider some prime examples. Justin Bieber, for better or for worse, exploded onto the scene when he got noticed by Scooter Braun. Through this, he was introduced to Usher and this “ushered” in a huge music career for the Canadian teenager. If it were not for YouTube, it’s unlikely that Scooter would have ever seen or heard of Justin.
Perhaps to a lesser extent, but the same can be said about people like Rebecca Black, Justine “iJustine” Ezarik, and “freddiew” Freddie Wong. While they weren’t able to really stay in the limelight, you can also consider people like Tay Zonday (“Chocolate Rain”). The Internet lowered the barrier to entry and they were able to get in front of an increasingly large and international audience for the price of a webcam and an Internet connection.
Flooding the Market
In the past, few authors were able to publish a real book and have it available through major bookstores. These days, anyone can publish an e-book on Kindle, Clickbank, or any number of other platforms. That’s a double-edged sword that creates for quite the paradox.
On the one hand, the lower barrier to entry means that people who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to get noticed are getting noticed. On the other hand, this also means that the market is being flooded with a lot of lower-quality content too, making it even more difficult to stand out from the crowd. In this way, it is both easier and more challenging to get noticed.
Be Unique and Provide Value
As much as things change, they really do stay the same. If you provide something of value that is different and is something that people want to see, have, or read, then you can still succeed in today’s online world. The access to the international market is particularly compelling.
Consider the recent success of PSY. His “Gangnam Style” music video has well over 100 million views on YouTube and most of these are outside of his home country of South Korea. If we didn’t have the Internet, most of us in the Western world would not know who he is. Yes, part of it is clever marketing, to be sure, but the Internet is what created the opportunity.
And I can say the same about my freelance writing career, albeit to a much smaller degree. Readers of this blog come from Chicago, Singapore, India, and everywhere in between. I have clients and partners from Australia, the UK, and beyond. Yes, there is increased competition, but there are also more opportunities. We can all have a slice of this pie.
Filed under Freelance Writing.