As a video producer I thought I understood the meaning of the  word “content”. But I guess I don’t. Well, I think I know what it means now and I don’t like it.

It boils art down to a generic commodity. It tends to be used by people who are not creative producers and who understand nothing about it. Like when record industry people refer to music as “product” as if it were a widget rather than an artistic creation. I really, really hate this dismissive way to refer to creative works.

These days “content” is the term applied to whatever fills the framework of a website. Wether it is photography, graphic art, journalism, video, music; to me these are the creative assets that should form the core of what somebody gets from a great website and what makes them stick around and return. But lately I get the feeling that what I perceive as real creative assets and what non-creatives refer to as content are becoming more noise and clutter.

For instance, are Twitter tweets the new “content”? Well, I guess that kind of thing suits the label, but to me it does little to keep me interested and is disposable.

CONTENT                      CREATIVE ASSETS

Twitter tweets               journalism

rap                                original songs that were sampled

camera phone video     professionally produced video

YouTube                        Hulu

So is “content” the new substitute for real “creative assets”? Sure, if you want to make the most minimal investment of time, energy and resources then there you have it. But basically, you get what you pay for. So many artist/musicians are now devoting extraordinary amounts of their creative time to networking rather than true creative asset production because they are being sold the idea that the “conversation” is the content. Is the social networking “conversation” really any kind of tangible asset at all?

And this is why I see a real language gap between creative artists/producers and the tech sector that is building the pipes, framework, all the whiz-bang software solutions that render humans less useful all the time. Don’t get me wrong. I love tech stuff and rely on it every day in my work. I GREATLY respect the geniuses that design and produce it. I think they are artists in their field.

But my fear is that the respect is not mutual for creative asset producers and that their creative works are diminished now as “content” with every bad connotation the term implies. I hope I’m wrong and I would love comments and feedback on this. But it seems that every web developer and designer I speak with confirms the fact that after the flashy website is built for the client with some initial “content”, then both parties walk away. There is no creative asset strategy pursued subsequent to the big launch and 6 months later the site looks old and tired. No investment or plan is made to create anything compelling and original.

To me, there is a proper place for the communications now possible via software that allows social networking to flourish. But it needs to co-exist next to REAL creative assets or else, there is simply not much to twitter about.

About the author

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