Writing last weeks post about content creation, I found myself pondering about soundcloud, youtube, github and all the other content platforms, so many startups refer to when they talk about their publishing tool. The youtube for X or github for Y they say when pitching their idea. And while it is true that youtube is very important for content publishing today, it has very little relevance to the content created and published there and for sure is not the reason why we have so much content today.
Many misinterpret the importance of youtube or flickr for content creation in their field. The same goes for github and soundcloud. They have merely made publishing content easier and - in the case of youtube - accidentally aligned their creation with the raise for cheaper technology to create such material. In the example of youtube, it really took off when digital video equipment, specifically on smartphone, became widely available. But it wasn’t because of youtube that there was more material, the increase in material would have happenend non the less, youtube was just an easy way of publishing and sharing the created content.
But youtube didn’t make it easier to shoot videos. As little as Flickr made it easier to take great pictures or github to write code. For all of those the creation was already happening and likely to increase over the next time. And there was and is a desire by the authors to publish that content. Which is why the platforms gained popularity. And all their tools focus on making it easier to share content. But non of them makes it actually easier to create content (arguably all of them are resource for inspiration and source for compilations of course).
So if you want to build github for X, you better make sure that people already create that content, people want to share it, they don’t have any good way to do it now and that all of those things will increase a lot in the next years. But the editor you offer doesn’t really matter for that, you should better make sure to support the most common editor and content creation tools on your platform instead. Because, as explained before, making a better editor is just about efficiency and won’t make people more prolific.