When you create a product or a service today, everybody in the world is your potential consumer. The internet has broken down barriers at a pace that many are struggling to keep up. Five years ago you might have looked at social media as more of a plaything than a tool for business and networking. The landscape has changed tremendously and many of the companies built on “traditional” principles are scrambling to keep up with the rapid changes that are facilitated buy connectivity.
Former Barriers Removed
For a long time in South Africa, broadband internet was not readily available to the masses. Until very recently, the majority of South Africans were virtually barred from broadband internet as most use mobile network which was egregiously expensive. Thanks to the efforts of Telkom Mobile over the last few years, along with other pioneering Internet Service Providers like rain, data for internet is not affordable and internet speeds have been brought on par with fixed line in prices. In short, more people can afford to surf more, and with that comes new avenues. With data being affordable, opportunities have opened to a great number of South Africans, that were not available before.
The Online Economy
The online world is an economy of its own that allows people to interact and transact with each other from different parts of the world, all at the touch of a button. Many of use live an increasingly large part of our lives online, from learning, to business to simply hanging out. South Africa is still an infant in terms of access to internet and the use of its applications.
A lot of the user of technology is confined to urban areas. The majority of South Africans still see global connectivity as a novel feature and not as a tool to be utilized to one’es advantage. At the same time, online influencers are creating content and conducting business, and are able to make a living off the internet. This is because when you can have a business that has global reach you have a huge potential audience and there is a lot more room for finding people who buy into what you offer.
The principle extends to job-searching as well. For example, crowdsourcing is the sourcing of services from a large number of people over the internet. In simple terms, that means that someone started a business from one part of the world, and can hire the services of people from all over the world to do the work. This has opened up doors in terms of employment, as an unemployed person in South Africa, where the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world, can now get a job for a company based in Ireland.
Education On Online Economy
The big gap between South Africa and much of the developed world is in education of the people. We see the YouTube videos and are entertained by them but not enough of us are aware of what happens behind the scenes or that the creators make money from it.
There are big opportunities for content that the average South African can relate to. One example of this being done well is in Nigeria where you have YouTube channels like MarkAngelComedy a channel that is approaching 4 million subscribers while showing content that is many people who are in the lower income brackets can relate to.
A lot of Souths African Content creators are incidental influencers. They did not set out to be creators for gainful means. They gain followers because of naturally having good content and go with the flow from there. Education of the business behind content platforms will lead to many more approaching content creation from an informed perspective. Local creators will be better equipped to take advantage and benefit from these channels that they have at their disposal.
Innovation In Content Creation From South Africa
This leads us to the changing of the perspective from being merely consumers of content from international creators, to being creators of out own content that an international audience will consume.
When you watch a video from in international uploader, your viewing is generating income for that creator from the other side of the world. That is why as South Africans should look towards creating content with a global outlook. This can be the case whether your content is decidedly local in nature but with an international outlook in order to educate others on national customs.
South Africans Have Influence
South Africans as a collective have a unique culture and a user base that is enough to move trends. An example of this is with Black Twitter, where conversations initiated by South Africans spark a global discussion. While South Africans are part of the discussion, the leveraging of the reach that we have as a collective is where opportunities are missed.
Creating a culture of global outlook will give advantages to those who are already focused on creating a global audience. It will also increase the knowledge of South Africans in general and help to grow our market. If a viewer sees one South African making content that succeeds globally, they will see it as possible and be inclined to try it themselves if it is to their interest. It’s a case where for every person that succeeds, it will have positive impacts on all of us as a whole as well.
More South African Content Creators Needed
More South Africans should become creators of content. This is not merely limited to social media content such as those related to media. It also extends to informational resources and channels like websites and blogs. The more creator get into it, the more it grows the local market and increases exposure and opportunities for all. Companies are trying to get onboard with local creators and are putting a lot of money behind content creation. You grow your base from everywhere in the world in order to bolster yourself and get South African companies who are a match with your brand to collaborate with you in a gainful way.