What is Content?

Really interesting post by Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine.com.  Hat tip to bosacks.com for bringing this to my attention.  The post uses the often commented on question about  iPad is a content creation device, content consumption device or some blend of the two as a starting point to ask the bigger question – what is content?

As of this writing there were already 61 comments on the original post.  I read the first several and felt that most missed the point entirely. The interesting element of Jarvis’ comments are not about the iPad per se.  Rather, the key point is that we need to think differently (no pun intended) about what content is.  Every action we take that is logged somewhere is or has the potential to be “content.”  Jarvis writes:

When we email a link to a friend, that act creates content. When we comment on content, we create content. When we mention a movie in Twitter — that’s just useless chatter, right? — our tweets add up to valuable content: a predictor of movie box office that’s 97.3% accurate. When we take a picture and load it up to Flickr — 4 billion times — that’s content. When we say something about those photos — tagging them or captioning them or saying where they were taken — that’s content. When we do these things on Facebook, which can see our social graph, that creates a meta layer that adds more value to our content. On Foursquare, our actions become content (the fact that this bar is more popular than that bar is information worth having). When we file a health complaint about a restaurant, that’s content. Our movements on highways, tracked through our cellphones, creates content: traffic reports.

This is all something that most of us intuitively know and yet that we don’t spend time thinking about. It is worth thinking about.

I’m adding BuzzMachine.com to the list of sites I follow.