Nov 2, 2013

Slaves of the Internet, Here's Your Problem

My new Vostro Laptop

I hate the word "content" and strive to use it as infrequently as possible. I find it to be emblematic of the way stories, photos, movies and TV shows have been reduced to the status of filler and it carries the assumption that the end user could care less what the content is, so long as it is "compelling," an equally nebulous term.

But there's a reason it's become so ubiquitous and that's because the internet is filled with a whole lot of "content"-- poorly written/designed/filmed/concepted content, and the truth is very few people seem to care.

That's the unfortunate response I have to Tim Kreider's much-commented-upon screed Slaves Of The Internet, Unite!

You see while I get that it sucks that people are always asking him to write and speak for free (that's my world as well) I also get that the reason that happens is that audiences don't see enough of a difference between work that's really good and work that's just okay. And if that's the case, there's no reason for anyone to pay for work that's really good, when there's an unending source of "just okay" content (and in this case, the stuff I'm referring to is aptly called "content.")

So if your goal is to put out an 800 word listicle or a "How To" service piece, the audience doesn't seem to care a whole lot about craftsmanship. They care about the bullets and the quick takeaway and that's it. They care that there was some sort of photo to catch their eye, but unless it's egregiously offensive, that's about all they'll notice.

So while it's unfortunate that the people who used to be able to make a living out of those kinds of creative endeavors (and to be fair, the work that Kreider and the people he is talking about create is far more nuanced and skillful than just 800 word listicles or stock photos) the audience for whom their work is intended just doesn't see the value of it.

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