Over the previous many years, we all worked together to make the word ‘content’ a buzzword. We needed clients to understand the importance of it, so we used it on every occasion, professional, personal, and even private. But then, without warning, the word came back to bite us in the backside.
So, while we prepare our resolutions for the coming year, I’m calling out to all my siblings-in-arms. Let’s work together to make 2022 the year we kill the word “content”. We created a monster and now it’s time to chase it down.
The past couple of years saw the silent but steady rise of the “content creator” on social media, to be clear, people have been “‘creating content” since cavemen painted bison on the walls and told stories around the bonfires. But as someone who works with content on a daily basis, I’m worried at the casual way the word content is thrown around, as I believe it belittles the very thing it refers to.
The word content is a sneaky word. It pretends to stand for a variety of outputs and activities, but really says nothing. It pretends to be an umbrella under which you can collect all forms of human expression.
Human beings are capable of creating magic. From fashion design to travel blogging, fitness training to comedy, skateboard tricks to magic tricks. All these are beautiful activities that result in interesting perspectives and ideas that enrich the human experience for others. Sometimes, their role is to simply invoke a feeling, bring back nostalgia, or inspire you to get up and change something.
Content on the other hand, is a pollutant
It all boils down to language. Not to sound pedantic, but anything you create and put out into the world becomes the content of the world. You don’t create content. You’re meant to create things that become content.
By becoming “content creators”, we’re saying that we’re generic. We don’t have anything of value to add to the world. We’re just stuffing the turkey. And this in turn risks turning the online world into a toxic environment. A place where our kids, our friends, ourselves, go to numb our brains with endless hours of nothing. Everyone has a right to express themselves. Your self-expression is not content. You are not content.
Content is for consumption. Art is for enjoyment.
Can you imagine how terrible it would be if we referred to The Mona Lisa as content? How about the Pyramids of Giza? The video of your first birthday? Every movie, every book, every song that ever contributed to making you who you are; imagine referring to it all as content.
That’s why I invite myself, you, our clients, and the creators out there to stop “creating content” and go back to making things of value: Films, music, stories, photography, cooking, etc. Anything but “content”, please.
It doesn’t mean you have to change anything. Let’s change our language, which will change our perspective. Let’s pitch talk shows, travel blogs, quick recipes, motivational videos. Anything but that generic word “content”, please.
Call me possessive; call me protective. I don’t mind. I love what I do, which is to create. But what I create is definitely not content.