Free Content and Digital Media Are Increasing Socio-Economic Disparity
Digital media has been hailed as democratizing the voices of the minority, and giving everyone a part in the national and international dialogue.
And while I believe this is true for social media, I actually think general digital media is having the complete opposite effect.
The reason is that readers of free content are consuming content that they are not the customer of. In fact, the content they are reading was generated by a media company looking to attract eye balls it could then sell to an advertiser. Meaning the customer of the reader’s content is not the reader. And this creates a mis-alignment between the reader and the writer.
It means that free content is losing its integrity, and it’s easy to see how poor the information we receive from free sources has become.
Paying for content is the only way for a reader to align interests with the writer. Only in this circumstance is the reader the customer, and thus consuming content intended for him or her.
And the only people willing to pay for content will be the generally affluent, meaning only those who are already well off will receive the highest quality of content intended for a reader and not for an advertiser. And those who cannot afford paid content will see the affect of “native advertising” or “audience gathering and packaging” more acutely. And will be fed content that is of lesser quality.
This will make those who cannot afford paid content less educated than those who can pay.
And this is why “free content” and “digital media” is catalyzing socio-economic disparity. And doing so even faster because we think it has the complete opposite effect!!