This is not content; this is a blog post. You are not consuming this blog post. It is not being depleted by you so that it will never be available to anyone ever again.
Instead, perhaps you are reading it on a large computer screen. Perhaps you’re reading it on a laptop, large or small, sitting on a desk or in your lap. Perhaps you’re reading it on the screen of a tablet computer, or on the small screen of a cellphone. Perhaps it’s been printed out onto paper, maybe a plain letter sheet, or onto the glossy pages of a magazine, and you’re reading it off that. Perhaps you’re reading it aloud to a group of people, or perhaps you’re in that group of people, having it read aloud to you. But whatever you’re doing as these words enter your brain, you’re most certainly not consuming any content.
This is the first article from Zacqary Adam Green. Zacqary is a filmmaker, artist, and the Chief Executive Plankhead of Plankhead, a free culture arts organization/collective/pirate ship. This post first appeared on the Plankhead blog.
There is no such thing as content. There is no content industry full of content creators who create consumable content for content consumers. Instead, there is a diverse field of people, young and old, amateur and professional, communicating and manifesting ideas and information using a wide variety of methods and techniques. The end products of these efforts may be in the form of text, imagery, sound, or interactive experience, but none can be categorized as a generic, consumable commodity known as “content.”
If you are an artist, you are not a content creator. Perhaps you’re a painter, a musician, a filmmaker, a novelist, a comedian, a dramatist, a playwright, a game designer, a sculptor, a photographer, an animator, a puppeteer, a poet, or perhaps you’re a combination of all these things and more, but you do not create content. You make art.
If you are a journalist, you are not a content creator. You may report your stories through written words, through spoken words, through pictures, through video footage, through motion graphics, or a fusion of all these media, but you do not create content. You do journalism.
If you are an entertainer, you are not a content creator. You may entertain by telling a story, by doing a dance, by making people laugh, or by recording your conversations with fascinating people, but whether you broadcast this entertaining act with pictures, sound, or anything else, you do not create content. You do entertainment.
If you are an educator, you are not a content creator. You may write informative articles for an encyclopedia, deliver an enlightening speech to an eager audience, or create a presentation with charts and graphics, but however it is that you communicate your knowledge, you do not create content. You teach lessons.
All of these things are expressions of human thought, and yet rather than respecting their nuances, their diversity, and their individual importance, we marginalize them with our language, relegating all of what makes us unique as human beings to the generic, soulless, meaningless, newspeak descriptor of “content,” and their authors to a status of “content creators”. Yet, we do not refer to architects, carpenters, industrial designers, and the forces of nature themselves as “object creators”, and rarely, if ever, do we collectively refer to the results of their efforts as “objects”.
If you are a maker of things, a disseminator of knowledge, or anyone who contributes to the collective intellectual output of human beings, do not accept the notion that your work is less significant than a house, a chair, a piece of electronic equipment, or a rock. Do not allow yourself to be labeled as a mere “content creator.” Have more dignity than that.