Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Deeper Context and Content

I've posted several times now about what I consider the differences between context and content, and why the word "content" kind of annoys me. It's okay, I don't mind being annoyed, and in the right context, content is fine. What I find annoying is that the two terms augment each other, but, so often, one is used when the other is more appropriate. For instance, if I have a web page that you can use to download a PDF of an article I have written, and this web page contains an excerpt of the article - the PDF is the content. Everything on the page, as far as I am concerned, is the context for your act of downloading. Of course, this is important if I am concerned about monetizing, since I have no problem with requiring a specific digital signature or some sort of payment; and I feel that everything else, the context, is like a smile. Why not give this away?

It's quite simple really. People require, create, digest and absorb context. But people like stuff. They like content, because it is something they can grasp onto, whether it's a PDF, an MP3, JPEG, AVI. Something "file-ish." The reason I bring this up, I suppose, is because, well, these things are easy. You can set up a microphone, you can use Prince, DocBook or FOP to turn your words into something more portable in a document format... then you can shade down your context a bit, broaden it, focus attention on the page content. Everything else is really just part of the transmission wrapper. The rest is just part of the vector.

I mean really, is a platform like Blogger or Wordpress actually a Content Management System? No, at best, these are discontent platforms. They separate us from content by masquerading context as content. It's not a bad thing, but I feel it's something we need to move past. You take good pictures, make a commodity out of your pictures. You tell good stories, make a commodity out of your stories. Allow people to focus through the context.

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