It seems to be a term bandied about a lot these days. An awful, vacuous, insipid, empty, meaningless term. People never refer to the artists from antiquity as “content creators.” No, they’re sculptors, architects, authors, essayists, poets, musicians. In more modern times, we have film directors, television producers, game programmers, the list goes on. However, if you publish something online, somehow, those titles are too prestigious. Bloggers are not seen as essayists. Online video producers are not even seen as amateur film makers. No, just “content creators.”
What does “content” mean? Since the term virtually only gets used to refer to online submissions, we can gleam its connotative meaning by how online submissions are typically perceived: quantitatively. Web material is judged by numbers; how many views, likes, or re-shares a post receives. This, of course, turns content creation into a popularity contest. Importantly, people lose interest if you’re not constantly pushing out material. Whereas offline artists will take their time and may take a few years to release new material, online creators feel pressured to produce at a much faster rate to keep the views and likes up. The advent of 24/7 streaming is the natural consequence of this rating system.
But with so much content being produced, how much of it is actually memorable? A lot of it seems disposable. Those awful, attention-seeking prank videos that thrive on bad taste. Glorified infomercials for big video game companies. Even forum posts are considered “content creation,” you know, those messages that you post once and never see again, and are generally equated with the sewer of the Internet. If that is considered “content”, then being a content creator doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t say anything about the quality of the material you produce, and is too broad a term to set you apart from someone else. It’s a illusory title, meant to sound more prestigious than it actually is.
I’ve been thinking about this term recently, since I’m starting to get more involved in creating things. I wouldn’t want my stories, blog posts, or music videos to be labelled as mere content. Whenever I post my essays here, I do so because I have something on my mind, and I post sparingly since I want to give off the impression I have something meaningful to say rather than just contributing more meaningless noise to an already cluttered information sphere. Obviously, not every post is equal, but I hope that some of my posts will resonate with people. That people don’t just read and forget it, but it sticks with them, and they refer back to it from time to time, if only mentally. I don’t expect to change people’s minds, but it would be nice if people ended up seeing things from a different perspective.
What I’d like to create, are memories.