Future of Gig Economy
The phrase “gig economy” can be used in different ways, and is hard to define exactly. In some cases it’s meant to refer almost to a type of career in which someone (usually a young person) pieces together adequate income through a variety of positions or part-time jobs. On a somewhat less serious level, however, “gig economy” can also refer to the little odd jobs a lot of us now do simply to generate some supplemental income. And it’s this way of thinking about it that leads to some interesting questions about what might be next.
Based on shifting technology and some other trends, these are some of the ways in which we expect to see people seeking some extra pocket cash in the coming years.
Get Paid To Consume Content
“Content” is a buzz word these days for a reason. We consume it constantly, in the form of quick videos, articles and listicles, social media posts, podcasts, and more. When once people spent this sort of energy on full books, scheduled TV programs, and long-form articles, we now opt for quick consumption – which in a way means more consumption. And believe it or not, some models are starting to emerge that essentially pay people for churning through as many pieces of content as they can. Case in point, a new app called Podcoin is actually paying people to listen to podcasts (or at least helping them accumulate “coins” to exchange for gift cards or contribute to charitable efforts). We expect to see more services like these in the coming years.
Provide Freelance Sound Bites
It’s fairly clear if you merely look around the internet that a lot of prominent mainstream writers are turning at least partially to podcasting. Ezra Klein of Vox, Bill Simmons of The Ringer (and formerly ESPN), Michael Lewis of “The Big Short” and “Moneyball” fame…. All of these people are now doing as much or more podcasting as writing. Even the website Longreads, which exists specifically to aggregate some of the best long-form writing on the internet, has its own podcast! Given all of this it stands to reason that the freelance writing business – a common place for “gig” employees to look for work – could evolve to include audio content. That is, in the next few years we may see opportunities for writers to provide freelance sound bites, rather than just written articles.
Play Real-Money Games
A lot of people in the U.S. are unaware of how expansive real-money gaming (which is to say casino content) has become, in places like Canada and Britain where it’s legal. It’s not just poker sites and slot apps now. There are massive websites full of engaging slots that feel more like full video games; there are also all sorts of simulated table games, new-age bingo gaming platforms, and, yes, poker rooms – but more sophisticated ones than those that were taking off 15 years ago. As fun as it can all be, most of it is still off limits in the U.S., but because this is starting to change (a few states are easing up on casino prohibition), it’s conceivable that gambling will become a “gig” activity in the coming years.
Plenty of people already sell photos, and don’t need to be professionals to do it. There is an existing gig economy specifically for people who want to take this approach, with apps and websites alike that are set up to help people make money on their photography. What we’re counting on though is improving mobile cameras making more people interested in this sort of practice, and thereby making this “gig” activity more popular. We’re already hearing that the next iPhone will come with a major camera boost, and if millions of people can suddenly take even more impressive photos, they may start asking, why not sell them?