What Is Content?

Think for a moment.

What does content mean to you?

Got your answer?



The Problem

Content means different things to people in different  capacities.

It’s like being in a Tower of Babel.

To writers, content means “words, punctuation and grammar”. To artists, content is very likely “pictures or illustrations or paintings”. To web folk, content probably means “webpages, HTML, CSS, interactive flash bits”. To musicians, it’s all “frets, C-sharps and tone”. And to the kid with a glass of orange juice, content is the “sweet and sour juice that’s fast disappearing down my throat”.

It’s unavoidable but sadly narrow. It limits, chains, and renders us ineffective and inefficient.

Content is not Just Presentation

I went to a writer’s conference titled: “The death of books and print.” Naturally a few writers were indignant at the prediction of websites taking over paper books.

They’re missing the point.

Content is presented information to give value to people.

Paper books are just a channel (much like movies), and websites are another channel. That’s it. They are channels where inventive folk can present the same content in different ways and different emphases.

Therefore, “words, punctuation, grammar, pictures, illustrations, paintings, webpages, images, videos, files, frets, C-sharps, tones and orange juice” are information that can give value to people. (The orange juice bit isn’t particularly accurate but it shows that content can take any form.)


Content is Everywhere

Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine made great points about content. He said:

It [Google] sees content everywhere, in everyone’s words and actions and it gains signals, knowledge, and value from that. We in media are blind to that value because we can’t see the content in that.

He goes on to say that we are all making content. From our check-ins on Foursquare to chatting on Twitter, it’s all content – be it action-based, 140-character limited or an email chain.

If content is all around us, how can we use it? Now it’s another post for another week.

What does content mean to you? Does it limit how you present your ideas or what you’d prefer to consume?



  1. Content means different things to people in different  capacities.
  2. Content must give value
  3. It is everywhere

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