Content is not King

Here’s the problem with great content – I can’t find it!!

Really, the content that gets my attention is the one that’s good at gaming the system. If it can’t make its way to the top 5 search results on Google, well, I wouldn’t even know it existed. Even the links I get from my social connections are actually the ones that are somehow gaming the system.

Looking at it from a slightly different point of view - what exactly is a great content anyway? It’s all subjective. If I read some decent stuff and never get a chance to see something better on the same topic, I would never know that better content existed somewhere. Below are a few more points to prove that you can’t compete on the quality of your content alone:

  • Say, I somehow managed to bump on your great content. I liked your stuff; so, what do I do next - put it on my browser’s favourite. And guess what…I’m never ever going to go look at my bookmark again. I doubt how many people actually periodically check stuff from their bookmakrs. If I’m looking for something, I open google and search for it. I don’t go to my favourites. So, that’s it. Your great content made me bookmark you…but it can’t make me open my bookmark again. RSS feeds? You really have to be someone to make me subscribe to your feeds!
  • I bet the sites that get most hits are the ones that are curators. Google, in fact is the biggest curator of all (dynamic curator). The Second one is Wikipedia. Facebook and Twitter are also curators. Aren’t they? I think the reason why we tend to like curators is this – After using google for a decade, we’ve got into a habit of not trusting just one source on a topic. We always want to check a few sources from thousands of search results. Curators give us the mental satisfaction that since they are pulling data from various sources and we don't have to do that on our own.
  • Illogical argument – A lot of people seem to think that that content is the backbone of web and so should get the most importance. After all, what would googles and twitters of the world show if WSJ and millions of blogs don’t make their content available. That’s a ridiculous argument – consider this, the most important thing we need in life is food, so, by that logic farmers are the most important people and they should get the most money/credit/whatever; if they stop producing food, we’d all starve to death just the way google would start to death if content publishers stop sharing their content with google. If you get farmer’s logic, you’d get the content logic too. Economics guys!!
  • If McLuhan could see this 40 years back, why can’t we? “The medium is the message” succinctly describes where the focus should be. I don’t claim to completely grasp the meaning of that sentence when so many experts are still debating it but one thing is clear from that sentence, McLuhan did have more respect for the science of medium that the creativity of the message.
  • See who makes the most money – companies that own the TV channels or the companies that produce content for TVs?  companies that own the mobile networks or the companies that produce content/value added services/etc. for mobiles? Companies that own the gateways to web (google/facebook/twitter) or the companies that produce contents (WSJ, Economist, Time)??

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