I was listening to one of the many podcasts to which I subscribe yesterday. The speaker was rambling on about the subject of content generation and he said something that made me rewind the podcast so I could be sure I heard him correctly. He was opining that the only reason that companies are spending money on content creation today is to generate data.
His statement made some sense. After all, brands today don’t think of themselves as sponsors of other people’s content. They’ve been sold on the idea that they need to have their own content creation hubs which can populate multiple channels such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter. I encourage that in some ways with my clients since who knows the brand better than the brands themselves? Who better to speak in the brand’s voice? Who ought to know the customer and the customer’s interests and to reflect those perspectives in their content? But in retrospect, I couldn’t disagree more and here is why.
I might be way naive about this, but I think audiences want to be educated and entertained. I don’t think they want to be tricked into being tracked and giving us data. I think when they are offered a list, that list ought not to be on 25 pages so as to squeeze out every last page view and ad exposure. I think they want to feel emotions – awe, wonder, joy, excitement, rage – and not just kill time. When I read articles about how I can create titles (People love lists! People love “epic”!) to lure people to my blog, I get sad. I understand that many people are intellectually lazy. I get that there is a reason for the use of TL;DR as a standard retort on the web but maybe that’s a commentary of what passes for most content these days rather than on the specific content. People have become overwhelmed by crap and they’re weaning themselves off that crapacious diet by minimizing consumption.
I don’t think greatness is anything is measured by the volume of consumption or traffic numbers. Thre are still fewer iPhones in the world than Android. There are still fewer meals served at Per Se than at McDonald’s. If we all do our best not to post 250 times a day but to post 2 great, enlightening things – however long that enlightenment takes – maybe we can stop the downward spiral of attention spans and intellectual curiosity. If “stupid is as stupid does”, how about we upgrade what we do?