Another dot in the blogosphere?

Content is not king

Posted on: March 5, 2014

This article, Why Content Is Still King, cites Bills Gates in 1996 declaring that content is still king.

I disagree.

The content as defined in 1996 was oriented towards what television broadcasters, traditional news and magazine companies, and other publishers produced.

Gates did refer to user-generated content, but not in the sense that we have today.

One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create. In a sense, the Internet is the multimedia equivalent of the photocopier. It allows material to be duplicated at low cost, no matter the size of the audience.

This is duplication or replication, not creation or curation.

The type of content described in 1996 was the type that gets thoroughly edited, vetted, and polished before it goes on display. It takes a long time to create. It is typically not openly shared, or if it is, only for a princely sum.

It is the type of content that makes traditional publishers of books and journals salivate. It is the type of content that make publishers who have moved to electronic platforms want to regulate or control, e.g., prevent Google from indexing and caching their content.

I am not saying that content is not important. After all, if there is no content, what is there to consume? If there is nothing to consume, then there will be no consumers.

I am saying that our understanding and acceptance of what content is has started to change. That change is due to the fact that our consumers are now also curators and creators of content.

Our traditional view of content monarchy is being dethroned in a democracy represented by citizens like YouTube and Wikipedia.

There are very few monarchies left in the world. We have moved on to other forms of government. To describe content as KING in that sense is irrelevant. There are other rulers or governors that work together.

To also describe the 20th century type of CONTENT as king is also losing relevance. There already is entertaining, enriching, and educational content produced by the people and for the people without the traditional vetting process. Quality and acceptance also bypasses the so-called expert layer in favour of the popular vote.

Traditionally created or curated content is no longer king. Connecting with openly and socially generated content and their curators/creators is.

That is the shift that we must leverage on in education if we are to stay relevant. To not do so is to serve a king that is aging and losing his grip on reality.

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