The internet in 2016 has no promise. There is minimal room for disruption. No one media company, writer, Tweeter, vlogger, or snapper can ‘do it better,’ or come up with a new narrative that inspires change in any direction. There are established companies creating content in established silos that meet the expectations of well-trained content consuming pros. “Media” has come to fruition on the internet, and the garbage-wave aesthetic that has been widely accepted will hold fast in 2016. Positive content that exists to supplement the terrible and oppressive world isn’t going anywhere.
There is no more selling the idea of ‘new audiences’ and ‘new thoughts and/or ideas.’ There won’t be a new market for eyeballs until the Millennial bubble bursts in a few years. In 2016, the media we consume will be more of the same, with every company positioning themselves for the final sell: the merging of the big box internet with big box ‘traditional’ media.
#Publishers will continue to seize #opportunity in Snapchat
Words on the internet are boring. Videos on the internet are boring, too. Even when these things are formatted for mobile. You know what’s cooler than publishing yesteryear’s internet content? Formatting it for Snapchat and finding ways to #engage the #millennials on a rectangular screen in the complete opposite direction than a Youtube video.
Snapchat invented a new way for #millennials to communicate, which means that there are new ways to sell advertisements in a medium that broke free from the banner ad impression model of internet ad sales. It is the perfect realm, where video is integrated into the product, and there are less words than a PowerPoint presentation. It’s as if the entire internet happened just to create Snapchat for the people that planned on using it for ‘the long haul.’
Memes will continue to ‘sweep the internet.’
“Meme” is a word that has taken on a new life. A meme is no longer a micro-thought, but instead something that happened on the internet that can be recapped both on the internet and on daytime waiting room faux-news coverage. A meme is supplemental content for #trends that illustrate the internet is a place where things happen. It’s nice for people to know that people are out there and things are happening. Using happenings on the internet to curate a human interest in humanity will continue to make humanity seem more like a parody of an accidental civilization.
Social media will no longer be a ‘gamechanger.’
In 2016, only insane people will feel ‘at home’ on any one social media platform. This insanity will continue to normalize fitness models on Instagram, right-wing political content creators on Facebook, and faux-niche meme retweeters on Twitter. In 2016, we will honor all social networks, new and old as functioning graveyards. Instead of watching new ways of communicating emerge on these things, we will understand that they are doing what they can to keep content and users inside of their walls. We all just pick the random fortress that we’d like to believe is the prettiest/most functional/has the sleekest mobile UI.
Social media isn’t ‘cool,’ it’s sort of like arbitrarily carrying a MasterCard, VISA, or American Express card in your wallet. You’re not sure why you are affiliated with one of them, but somehow, you signed up for an account that one time you were in an airport.
The desire to live a healthy, informed lifestyle will get even cloudier.
In 2016, the mess of the internet will allow more people than ever to access healthy recipes, biometric tracking analysis, calorie logging, and access to vegetables from #local farmers. We will have more restaurant reviews dumped into Yelp, and more Instagram photos of local eateries that serve indulgent foods. More content farms and Youtube channels will create more six pack shortcuts, sell more supplements, and help everyone add lean muscle while bulking and getting shredded, while delivering the superfoods we all need to live a balanced helpful life. We’ll all have apps that do it all for us, making it easier to consume things that we once read were healthy but turned out to be bad for you.
Local media will not serve its own local community in 2016.
In 2016, your local paper or alternative weekly will publish more garbage than ever. I’m not just talking infinite events listings input by an editorial/data entry intern. Sure, your local rag’s website will cover new restaurants, city ordinance controversies, bands coming to town, and major construction shutdowns. But these media outlets with print AND digital presences will continue to make that easy money off their established social media reaches. Who cares if you don’t care about Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid. There’s PLENTY of money to be made off the informed Facebook commenter who wishes we could focus more on Bernie Sanders, global warming, and fighting ISIS, but still clicks on the #trending #clickbait ‘news.’
In 2016, there will be no more line between trend, phenomenon, meme, terrorist act, global crisis, and celebrity news. You won’t know that much about your local community, and you will feel disconnected from everything that you once felt binded humanity. The websites that serve you content will serve you more content than ever in as many mediums as you are willing to consume. None of it is getting better, and your desire to be informed will actually result in you creating a view of the world that is more figmentary than ever. There is nothing cool, informative, insightful, genuine, or authentic in real life, OR on the internet. Maybe there is, but you will NOT find it on the internet in 2016.
Have a great year internetting! Send me some links if you manage to find something marginally worthwhile: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life on the Content Farm is a weekly column about internet media written by the last relevant blogger.