From Users to Prosumers: How Web 2.0 Sparked a Worldwide Sense of Empowerment

4 min

The world of digital creators is constantly evolving: from influencers to content creators, companies are giving ample space to users who want to create content to monetize or even just to spread knowledge, ideas, and lifestyles. In his analysis of the post-digital era, Antonio Grasso dedicated an article to user-generated content and the great evolution of the web. Here are some of his thoughts.

The social complexities of the post-digital society

The masterpiece “Where Do We Come From? Who Are We? Where Are We Going?” by Paul Gauguin is a profound expression of the artist’s spiritual beliefs, and has served as a significant source of inspiration for my research on our post-digital society. The painting not only represents the cyclical nature of life and death but also reflects on the human experience and our place within the universe. Through Gauguin’s work, I am reminded of the importance of exploring the complexities of our society and the ways in which technology has shaped our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. This painting invites us to reflect on fundamental questions about our existence and the meaning of life, just as it encourages us to think deeply about our relationship with technology and how it shapes our identity and sense of self.

My idea is that – to understand who we are and where we are going – we must first analyze where we have been. This requires us to examine the evolution from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, which allowed for dynamic interaction and user-generated content (UGC).

And so, in this article, I will attempt to clarify why I believe that this was the catalyst that ignited a sense of empowerment within us.

With the advent of Web 2.0, we have become prosumers of digital content that we create and share on social media and blogging platforms. Share on X

The Evolution of the Web: From Static Sites to User-Generated Content

Web 1.0 was characterized by static websites that were created by one person for the use of many; examples of which include early versions of Yahoo, Geocities, and AOL, which featured limited interactive elements and few user-generated content. With the advent of Web 2.0, we became “prosumers” of digital content on social media and blogging platforms, meaning we shared and created content through various media. (Note, Alvin Toffler coined the term “prosumer” to represent the dual value of our actions as both producers and consumers.)

Not only did Web 2.0 spark our curiosity, it encouraged us to become more socially engaged, leading us to share a wide range of content, such as videos, photos, texts, articles, and books.

Speaking of books, to delve deeper into this topic and understand how the role of prosumers is evolving in a post-digital society, I invite you to read my book titled ‘Toward a Post-Digital Society – Where Digital Evolution Meets People’s Revolution’. This book examines in detail how digital technologies are empowering individuals to become not just consumers but also active creators, significantly contributing to the digital economy and influencing the social and economic landscape.

As we grew motivated by the interaction and feedback we received from others, companies started sponsoring their products or services on these platforms, generating revenue for the platform owner. With the rise of social media, video sharing and blogging platforms, some sites recognized the potential of content creators and chose to share a portion of their advertising revenue with them. This led to the emergence of individuals known as “influencers” and later “digital creators,” who leveraged their online presence to create content and, in some cases, earn a living. With my technological skills and years of experience, I have become one of those creators, sharing my knowledge and experience on social media to create lucrative business opportunities that complement my entrepreneurial IT initiatives.

Getting back to the main thread, the reason why we call it the “user-generated content paradigm” is that those sites only work because of what we post. While the site owner takes care of managing the IT infrastructure to ensure that the service runs smoothly, we do the bulk of the work. We do it because there are other people on the platform with whom we share what we publish, or simply for trivial exhibitionism, it doesn’t matter. The essential thing to understand is the shift in our role from simple consumers of digital content to producers of the same.

User generated content

Web 3.0: Empowering a Responsible and Sustainable Creator Economy

Web 3.0, the decentralized web, will mark a clear departure in the role that each of us will have to play in a post-digital society. As I mentioned in my introductory article for the series “Towards a post-digital society,” disintermediation and decentralization will serve as the catalytic seeds of change towards a protagonism of the people that will place us more prominently on the economic scene.

By providing individuals with the opportunity to use their skills and talents to create content and earn a living, the creator economy has the potential to democratize the workforce and break down traditional barriers to success. However, this shift will require a collective effort to create a responsible and sustainable system that benefits everyone, not just a select few. As we look ahead to the future, it is clear that we must embrace this new economy with an open mind and a commitment to collaboration and community building.

Navigating the Creator Economy: Opportunities, Challenges, and Strategies for Success in a Post-Digital Society

In my book and future articles in this series, I will delve deeper into the topic of the creator economy and its potential to transform the way we work and live in a post-digital society. I will explore the various opportunities and challenges presented by this new economy and discuss the strategies and tools that individuals can use to succeed in this dynamic and constantly evolving landscape. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a content creator, or simply interested in the future of work and society, I believe that this series will provide you with valuable insights and perspectives that can help you to navigate this exciting and rapidly changing landscape.

Subscribe to our newsletter