"Creating Content"

29th July 2022

I've always hated the word "content", or at least when it's used in the context of a "content-creator". I assume people use the term to refer to any output that their work may produce, such as a piece of writing, a photo, podcast, episode, etc. But when I hear the word "content" being used, I think of something ephemeral, something that is designed to be consumed and forgotten about in a few hours.

Charlie Sorrel seems to think similarly, and explains why words like "content" and "produce", diminish your work:

“Content” is what marketing folks, or platform builders, call video, music, text, and so on. For them, songs, movies, and stories are equal, interchangeable units, the purpose of which is to fill up their online stores.

When an artist describes their work as “content,” they belittle the work itself. By referring to their creations in the terms of marketers and salespersons, they reduce it to a widget on a production line. Meanwhile, they reduce their own role to that of a factory worker, a cog that keeps the vending machine full.

Musicians call their work songs. Writers write poems or stories or articles, and so on. A painter paints a picture, and a filmmaker shoots a movie. They don’t “produce content”.

A factory worker, that's the metaphor that I've been trying to think of myself. That's what I see a content creator as.

Am I a content creator? I'm sure someone could argue that. I have various blogs, and multiple outlets for my photos, so you could say that as a result of my efforts, I am creating things. But I think it's much more honest and accurate to say that I write and take photos.

If you just produce content, what does that say about your intentions? What does it say about how you see your potential audience? Are you simply feeding a content machine, or do you actually want to produce something valuable, for yourself, and an audience?

Have something to say? Send me an email, or find me on Twitter.

Found this post useful? Why not buy me a coffee? Alternatively, I'd like to point you towards Ecologi, where you can subscribe to a plan where you fund various climate positive projects, the planting of trees, and other carbon reduction projects.