Categories
Thinking

The Golden Age of Content Strategy

A few notes and links on the death of the blog, peak stream and the gold­en age of con­tent strat­e­gy. Please join the con­ver­sa­tion and share links in the com­ments.

  • First, Kot­tke at Nie­man Jour­nal­ism Lab. I don’t think the stream killed the blog. I don’t even think firsties killed the blog. What killed blogs for me was that once they matured as a medi­um, they were indis­tin­guish­able from the media they pur­port­ed­ly replaced. I observed this among my fel­low music crit­ics, many of whom advanced from writ­ing about music on their per­son­al blogs to jobs at media out­lets where they took over dig­i­tal respon­si­bil­i­ties at those media prop­er­ties. I wrote about that phe­nom­e­non here. I don’t think it means the medi­um died; it’s that the pageview-dri­ven busi­ness mod­el and the edi­to­r­i­al aspi­ra­tions are out of sync.
  • This brings me to Alex­is Madri­gal’s piece on the impor­tance of “now­ness” to the stream. We’re rac­ing faster down the infor­ma­tion super­high­way than ever before and we’re toss­ing all of our sou­venirs into Pock­et, Instapa­per and Ever­note as we go. What Madri­gal gets absolute­ly right is how a fear of miss­ing out pow­ers the ambi­tion to read every­thing exhaus­tive­ly. This is cer­tain­ly true among cer­tain dis­cur­sive cir­cles on the web. When I hit eject on music crit­i­cism, it was mere cul­tur­al moments before Odd Future hit. To this day, I have not heard Odd Future. This is not me say­ing, “I don’t even own a TV;” this is me say­ing that my life con­tin­ued with­out this infor­ma­tion. What Madri­gal longs for is the Inter­net of the past. He’s under­es­ti­mat­ing the Inter­net of the present.
  • Read­ers still crave des­ti­na­tions. Maybe the fetishiza­tion of the lon­gread goes too far, since we’re prob­a­bly just squir­rel­ing those arti­cles away for a day that nev­er comes, but peo­ple still want to land some­where, at least for now. What Kot­tke and Madri­gal’s pieces sug­gest to me is ush­er­ing in a gold­en age of con­tent strat­e­gy. Con­tent strat­e­gy was invent­ed to improve busi­ness web­sites, but I’ve seen it applied for edi­to­r­i­al, too. Dead­spin, among oth­er places, does a great job repub­lish­ing sto­ries and giv­ing them new life, often decades lat­er. I think that’s what Madri­gal wants from the web. That Inter­net is there if you want it.

Atten­tion still mat­ters most. The best way to over­come FOMO online is let­ting your friends tell you about sto­ries. You don’t need to have a “take” hol­stered for every top­ic out there. Your time and atten­tion are still very valu­able pos­ses­sions. Cher­ish them.

Categories
Thinking

Why You Need a Personal Content Strategy

Scoble’s post on scal­able liv­ing offers some inter­est­ing insight into how peo­ple use social plat­forms to com­mu­ni­cate with audi­ences. What I find most inter­est­ing are his views on the role of Face­book in how he shares con­tent. Here’s a key pas­sage from what he wrote:

So, what role does a blog have in this new world. It cer­tain­ly is NOT cen­tral­iz­ing my life. Face­book is — by far — the best place to do that. This morn­ing alone I lis­tened to sev­er­al songs in the car. Do you real­ly want me to post every time that hap­pens here? No way. But on Face­book that’s eas­i­ly dealt with. Even bet­ter Face­book usu­al­ly fil­ters that stuff out and Face­book gets bet­ter over time at fig­ur­ing out what you want to engage with and what you don’t. If you saw every­thing I did on my pro­file come through on your home feed you would unfol­low with­in an hour. Instead 330,000 new peo­ple in the past year alone have sub­scribed to me on Face­book. Why? It’s scal­able liv­ing and hav­ing great inbound makes life more inter­est­ing.

Now, Scoble is an edge case, to put it mild­ly. Few of us com­mu­ni­cate on social plat­forms with even a frac­tion of the peo­ple who fol­low him. But how many of us would even con­sid­er using Face­book to share con­tent that’s relat­ed to our work as social media pro­fes­sion­als? Would your friends be inter­est­ed in your views on Google+? I doubt it. I know mine would­n’t.

Most of what Scoble dis­cuss­es is how we share and con­sume infor­ma­tion. He notes that Face­book’s algo­rithm helps you make choic­es about what you see and what you don’t. That’s not true of oth­er plat­forms and if you’re like me, you don’t mind infor­ma­tion over­load. But have you giv­en much thought to how you share con­tent?