Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Future M: Contented with Content?

After a day of the FutureM (M=Marketing) Conference yesterday, I'm noticing the word "content" is being tossed around a lot. Like many things I've said and completely forgotten I ever said, I was once quoted as saying "Content is a pimp's word." I simply meant that the people who use the word are not usually makers of it, but purveyors of it.

Marketers want this word to seem elevated, important, serious but all they mean by "content" is stuff they can broadcast across their many media -- especially recent devices and media like cell, tablet, Twitter, Facebook -- to get your attention and make you buy stuff. Like fast food, are they trying to actually nourish you, or just fill you up on empty calories to keep the name of their brand up front and in your face?

Advertising space is born as digital devices multiply and they must be filled with something -- they need content! Are you actually finding lots of excellent content coming across all your devices? I find the speedier things get, the skinnier the content seems to get. Like everyone else, is content on a diet?

Content is a marketing word, so it always makes me laugh when marketers start wandering down the real shopping aisle of content -- claiming story, narrative, tales, and fables as their own. These are the whole foods of "content" -- full fiber and whole grain. This is the stuff we stuffy old readers of books take the time to digest.

If you are a reader of books and/or a writer of books you know "content" can't be put on fast forward and forced to bloom under grow lights over night. Good stories, excellent writing, deep ideas and surprising insights require time and silence and thought to be born.

Are you contented with the content coming across your many devices? Are readers of stories and writers of tales making "content" or doing something else entirely? I suspect we are trying to talk respectfully to other humans about our life here on Earth first. We're not much for used car salesman arm-twisting and "Buy! Buy! Buy!" red fluorescent signs plastered on the walls in the marketplace.

Picture Credit: Jennifer Echols, MTV Books Blog

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