I confess, I’ve paid for online content

It makes me sad to admit this, but I must confess I have paid for online content. You probably have too if you you are among the 65 percent of Internet users who admitted to paying for online content in a new study from the  Pew Internet & the American Life Project.

For this survey Pew defined online content as  “intangible digital products such as software, articles, and music that need not have a physical form.” Some of my highlights of what we’ve paid for include.

  • 33% of internet users have paid for digital music online
  • 19% have paid for digital games
  • 18% have paid for digital newspaper, magazine, or journal articles or reports
  • 16% have paid for videos, movies, or TV shows
  • 11% have paid for members-only premium content from a website that has other free material on it
  • 10% have paid for e-books
  • 7% have paid for podcasts
  • 5% have paid for tools or materials to use in video or computer games
  • 5% have paid for “cheats or codes” to help them in video games

Although I am a proponent of all information wants to be free philosophy, I must admit I’ve paid for ebooks, music, apps and even web site access (for my kids, not for me). So what kind of online content have you paid for?

Predictions for 2011 and beyond

As my first post of the new year, here’s my web, technology and communications predictions for 2011 and beyond. Don’t let me forget to check up next year and see how many I’ve gotten right.

Social Media
Twitter will stagnate and be recognized as a niche product. Twitter’s web traffic has plateued and can’t seem to grow. It’s management will start grasping for straws and reduce access for outside applications to their API. Facebook’s growth will slow, too (it has, too there aren’t that many people with Internet access left).

The mobile web growth will increase while app growth slows. Companies will realize it is much cheaper to customize their web site designs for mobile devices rather than code 3 or 4 seperate apps.

Online Content
We’ll see more and more niche sites pop-up and make it. The sites will have to be run on a shoe string, but they can survive that way (A few of those may even be paid content that work).

Tablets will continue to be huge for online content. Not for their apps, but their easy portability to access the web. iPads will continue to grow, but there will be a surge in cheaper linux based tablets.

What you need to know to flash

Flash content is an important part of the overall mix of web content and has a steeper learning curve than most other kinds of web content creation. Unfortunately, Macromedia and now Adobe have changed the flash creation process/interface so often that if you once learned flash it’s like you’re starting all over again if you pick up a newer version of Adobe Flash.  I first learned flash in 1999-2000 creating some audio slideshows and calculators, but I had to learn it again 2003 for a couple of prjects and after that I just gave up because I didn’t want to go through the process of teaching myself flash again.

Mindy McAdams author of admittedly outdated textbook, Flash Journalism: How to Create Multimedia News Packages, now recommends learning flash using Adobe Flash CS4 Professional Classroom in a Book. In fact she has even created a nice little guide to everything you should know to create great flash content outlining the six things she thinks you need to know (and the chapter’s they’re covered in the Adobe book) and two common misconceptions about flash.

Her six items you need to know are

  1. Buttons
  2. Loading external content
  3. Optimizing images
  4. Loading and controlling audio
  5. Loading and controlling video
  6. Actionscript 3 and XML
  7. Bandwidth profiling

Now, I have to decide if I really want to tackle Flash again.