David BanksComment

What Is Content: A Matter of Life & Death

David BanksComment
What Is Content: A Matter of Life & Death

“Publish or die,” is something people in academia say. If you are a scholar and your thoughts are not continuously on display and being consumed, you fade from the mind. Others say that you die twice, once when you stop breathing, and the second time when you are forgotten. Still other might say morbidity is a dark premise for a blog on something as banal as content, but morbidity is the strongest force to get people to wake up - to live harder, more vibrant and more consciously than before. Extremes are poignant and death is of the most absolute of extremes. 

So here we are, faced with a dilemma. How do we not die? Well, we could “publish,” forever and always. Or we can simply not be forgettable.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Wonderful. But how do we make people feel? The answer is content. 

If you Google “content,” search results will tell you that content is a website, it is a book, an infographic, video or blog. You will be led to believe that content is a thing that you can hold in your hands, look at on a screen, or listen to through headphones. It is not. Content is not the thing, but the experience that is ignited by the thing. Content is the substance of the thing. If the thing does not have substance, it is not content. 

Pretty overstated, right? I don’t think so. 

Just as a line is not art, and a noise is not music, words are not content. Pictures, video and audio recordings are not content.

Just as a line is not art, and a noise is not music, words are not content. Pictures, video and audio recordings are not content. Content is the effective marrying of these elements to create meaning that would not exist otherwise. That meaning is content. 

To review, I’ve talked about things and I’ve talked about meaning, but the key to all this sits at the center of my original premise —those who forget and those who remember. That is, those who determine if we have died or are still alive and well. People. 

People — human beings — are essential to content.

Content is the avenue through which meaning is transferred from one person to another. If meaning is not transferred, we can’t blame it on bad content. Bad content is not a thing. You either created content, distilled and transferred meaning, or you didn’t. You’re either a creator, or you’re not. 

I think we all can be creators, but it will never be because of the things we’ve said or did, but because of the feelings those things created.