Introducing Children to Coding

– Part Two: Content Ownership

A graphic of a minion standing on a laptop holding two separate pieces of content, with question marks above both.

In my last article, I commented on the current events surrounding WhatsApp and Signal, and I spoke on how this affects our privacy and security while on the internet. The reason I started with this topic is simple: our privacy and security should be near the top of our list of concerns for the future, and it should influence the decisions we make moving forward.

Another area that deserves plenty of attention is the ownership of our content. The rise of social media platforms and advancements in technology have created a new tier of content-makers by removing many of the barriers that once limited exposure to a broader audience. The cameras we carry around in our pockets are on-par or better than the professional standards from the early 2000’s, and considering that most photos are viewed on mobile devices which have relatively small screen dimensions, the differences can become negligible in day-to-day life.

Why is content ownership important?

Content ownership is important for many reasons. Let’s start by examining the music industry. With the rise of streaming platforms the industry has been completely transformed. We have artists making names for themselves through platforms like YouTube, or more recently TikTok, who never had to sign a deal with a major label, yet reap the benefits of having a massive following of fans and contributors. While their success is admirable, and the early adopters could be considered pioneers of the new standards, this success is still reliant on these platforms until they’ve reached significant levels of recognition.

What happens if, unexpectedly, one of these platforms were to fold? Turns out we already have the answer. Another new form of consumable content, particularly popular among younger generations, has emerged in the form of video-game live-streaming (link for those late to the picture) through social media platforms such as Twitch (owned by Amazon) or, the now non-existent, Mixer. You might be thinking that Mixer had to have been a small start-up to have folded… right? If you haven’t already guessed, the answer is no. In fact, you’ve probably heard of the owner of Mixer: Microsoft. Yeah… not exactly a ‘little guy.’ Unfortunately, this meant that any progress made by streamers on Mixer who hadn’t yet ‘made it’ was lost, and needed to be regained on a competing platform like Twitch, or transferred to the newly-formed Facebook Gaming, which didn’t have nearly the same market share. Which raises the question: could this have been avoided?

A graphic of a woman in the middle of a webpage, holding a puzzle piece which would complete the page.

Maintain control of your content

As the saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20.” While it wasn’t particularly likely that one might predict that Mixer would shut down when it did, it proves the gamble taken by relying on any one individual platform is significant. Business is business, and when you’re a publicly traded company like Microsoft, profits come first. Their strategic interests led them to concede the battle and to realign their focus, which likely was the best decision for Microsoft considering their position.

So, as we examine Microsoft’s failures, and the resulting disaster for Mixer’s users, we can begin to form some conclusions. Instead of betting on a single horse, it would be wise to consider diversification from the early stages. Let’s take, for instance, a standard marketing strategy in today’s market. For any individual piece of content, you have five primary mediums to post said content. You begin by shooting a video for video-first platforms like YouTube and TikTok. From that video, you can then extract images for platforms like Instagram or Pinterest. You can also extract the audio to use as a podcast on platforms like Spotify and Google / Apple Podcasts. Additionally, you can take the audio and convert it into a written piece to post on Twitter, Reddit, or your blogging platform of choice. Which leads to the final option that encompasses all of the above: a website.

Unifying your content in one place

Once you’ve diversified your content throughout the appropriate social media platforms, you need to eliminate as much friction as possible for your viewers. The easiest way to achieve this is through a website. While websites are traditionally viewed as a hub for businesses to advertise their services, the same tools are beneficial for more than just business owners. For example, many young athletes are now utilizing websites to act as a profile to highlight their accomplishments to scouts from post-secondary institutes. With the rise of e-sports, more and more children may find themselves looking for ways to highlight their abilities to similar types of recruiting.

A graphic of a man sitting on top of a bubble with an "incoming chat" icon. He is surrounded by two other bubbles that contain "text block" icons.

Final thoughts

With this in mind, and the above reasoning for content ownership, I believe a website is a great tool for more than just businesses selling products. Like a painter or a musician with their art, it’s in our best interests to maintain as much control over our content as possible. Especially for children, who may not fully understand the value of their talents and contributions, it’s imperative that we don’t allow outside forces to reap the benefits of their work. With new apps and tools constantly arising that make the content-creation process more and more approachable, and website builders such as WordPress and Weebly that make owning a website easier than ever, you’re only limiting your own exposure by not taking advantage of these still undervalued tools. In the next article we’ll explore how to create a website from a pre-built template, some resources for learning and staying up-to-date, and some additional ways that coding could help to simplify your daily activities.

Scotty D

Links:

Content Ownership

Site Builders

Video for Sports Profiles

Introducing Children to Coding

– Part Two: Content Ownership

In my last article, I commented on the current events surrounding WhatsApp and Signal, and I spoke on how this affects our privacy and security while on the internet. The reason I started with this topic is simple: our privacy and security should be near the top of our list of concerns for the future, and it should influence the decisions we make moving forward.

Another area that deserves plenty of attention is the ownership of our content. The rise of social media platforms and advancements in technology have created a new tier of content-makers by removing many of the barriers that once limited exposure to a broader audience. The cameras we carry around in our pockets are on-par or better than the professional standards from the early 2000’s, and considering that most photos are viewed on mobile devices which have relatively small screen dimensions, the differences can become negligible in day-to-day life.

Why is content ownership important?

Content ownership is important for many reasons. Let’s start by examining the music industry. With the rise of streaming platforms the industry has been completely transformed. We have artists making names for themselves through platforms like YouTube, or more recently TikTok, who never had to sign a deal with a major label, yet reap the benefits of having a massive following of fans and contributors. While their success is admirable, and the early adopters could be considered pioneers of the new standards, this success is still reliant on these platforms until they’ve reached significant levels of recognition.

What happens if, unexpectedly, one of these platforms were to fold? Turns out we already have the answer. Another new form of consumable content, particularly popular among younger generations, has emerged in the form of video-game live-streaming (link for those late to the picture) through social media platforms such as Twitch (owned by Amazon) or, the now non-existent, Mixer. You might be thinking that Mixer had to have been a small start-up to have folded… right? If you haven’t already guessed, the answer is no. In fact, you’ve probably heard of the owner of Mixer: Microsoft. Yeah… not exactly a ‘little guy.’ Unfortunately, this meant that any progress made by streamers on Mixer who hadn’t yet ‘made it’ was lost, and needed to be regained on a competing platform like Twitch, or transferred to the newly-formed Facebook Gaming, which didn’t have nearly the same market share. Which raises the question: could this have been avoided?

A graphic of a minion standing on a laptop holding two separate pieces of content, with question marks above both.
Three purple minions together in a scene, and two of them are holding a large teal question mark.
A graphic of a woman in the middle of a webpage, holding a puzzle piece which would complete the page.
A graphic of a woman standing on front of a settings screen, personally adjusting one of the switches on the screen.

Maintain control of your content

As the saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20.” While it wasn’t particularly likely that one might predict that Mixer would shut down when it did, it proves the gamble taken by relying on any one individual platform is significant. Business is business, and when you’re a publicly traded company like Microsoft, profits come first. Their strategic interests led them to concede the battle and to realign their focus, which likely was the best decision for Microsoft considering their position.

So, as we examine Microsoft’s failures, and the resulting disaster for Mixer’s users, we can begin to form some conclusions. Instead of betting on a single horse, it would be wise to consider diversification from the early stages. Let’s take, for instance, a standard marketing strategy in today’s market. For any individual piece of content, you have five primary mediums to post said content. You begin by shooting a video for video-first platforms like YouTube and TikTok. From that video, you can then extract images for platforms like Instagram or Pinterest. You can also extract the audio to use as a podcast on platforms like Spotify and Google / Apple Podcasts. Additionally, you can take the audio and convert it into a written piece to post on Twitter, Reddit, or your blogging platform of choice. Which leads to the final option that encompasses all of the above: a website.

Unifying your content in one place

Once you’ve diversified your content throughout the appropriate social media platforms, you need to eliminate as much friction as possible for your viewers. The easiest way to achieve this is through a website. While websites are traditionally viewed as a hub for businesses to advertise their services, the same tools are beneficial for more than just business owners. For example, many young athletes are now utilizing websites to act as a profile to highlight their accomplishments to scouts from post-secondary institutes. With the rise of e-sports, more and more children may find themselves looking for ways to highlight their abilities to similar types of recruiting.

Final thoughts

With this in mind, and the above reasoning for content ownership, I believe a website is a great tool for more than just businesses selling products. Like a painter or a musician with their art, it’s in our best interests to maintain as much control over our content as possible. Especially for children, who may not fully understand the value of their talents and contributions, it’s imperative that we don’t allow outside forces to reap the benefits of their work. With new apps and tools constantly arising that make the content-creation process more and more approachable, and website builders such as WordPress and Weebly that make owning a website easier than ever, you’re only limiting your own exposure by not taking advantage of these still undervalued tools. In the next article we’ll explore how to create a website from a pre-built template, some resources for learning and staying up-to-date, and some additional ways that coding could help to simplify your daily activities.

Scotty D

Links:

Content Ownership

Site Builders

Video for Sports Profiles

A graphic of a man holding a piece of paper, standing next to a large analysis chart.
A graphic of a man sitting on top of a bubble with an "incoming chat" icon. He is surrounded by two other bubbles that contain "text block" icons.