At the Boston WordPress Meetup this evening, I saw a presentation by Chris Brogan on “The Power of Content.” While everything he said was definitely true—the normal internet user has developed a microscopic web-browsing attention span thanks to twitter, top 10 (and even moreso top 9) lists draw visitors and inspire discussion in your comments, and so on—the presentation left a bad taste in my mouth.
It wasn’t a presentation about the power of content: it was a presentation about how to present and ration information to drive traffic. These things matter, but they have little to do with the underlying content. This is what rankles me, the gap between what I had expected from the talk and what was being presented. I’d gone in expecting a presentation about honing the content you produce, and instead I was reminded of all of the trollish presentation tricks and vacuous social media positioning people use to make up for lack of remarkable content.
“Remarkable” content is an idea I’ve borrowed from my friends at Dejobaan Games, who use it to refer to the way they spread buzz for their games. In short: if you make something worth talking about, people will talk. This kind of “if you build it” approach may not generate the volume of traffic a top 10 list would, but the visitors you do get are more invested in your content when you have earned their attention. This is what I care about. With all due respect to Mr Brogan (and the amount of traffic he maintains speaks for itself!), his definition of ‘content’ has about as much applicability to what I do as these social media strategies.*
All that aside, thanks again to Kurt and James from Boston WP for yet another successful meetup, and see you all at Design Camp Boston!
* (marginally NSFW, for language)