Content Shock

I’ve been a bit obsessed with a trend called “Content Shock” and statements making the rounds like “Americans spend 10 hours consuming online content per day”. Will this be the slogan that defines a decade, kind of like Warhol’s “In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes,” underscored the 1960s and catapulted us toward the now?

Because what Warhol said pretty much became true. Put your hand up if you’ve ever enjoyed 15 minutes of fame from a blog post, a Facebook/Instagram photo or a tweet? You know you probably can. Oh, you didn’t become a household name, but that’s not what our culture is about anymore. It’s not “Did you see that YouTube video by Kathy Drasky?” It’s “Did you see that video by the dude about the cat?”

Content-Shock-definition

That’s what happens when you consume 10 hours of online content a day. And it’s scary.

For every long, thoughtful piece we might consume there are thousands of snippets of inbound information coming at us while working at a desktop or laptop, while browsing our smartphone standing in line or waiting for an appointment and, of course, over the tablet or streaming during downtime. How much of it we retain will be tested in the future. Will that video by the dude about the cat have the same staying power as the moon landing or an episode of the “Brady Bunch” (“Oh! My nose!”)?

More likely, when we look back on the waning days of Web 2.0, it will be jokes about cat videos as a trend – not any particular person behind the smartphone camera, or even any particular cat (sorry Grumpy Cat).

Which brings me to the best way we now have to battle Content Shock. It’s called Curation. I think that word scares people because it sounds like walking on eggshells around 14th century paintings. It’s an “old” word that doesn’t seem to resonate in the 21st century when apparently all we need is an app to shout “Yo!” at us.

But Curation tools like ScoopIt and Storify are the future. Aside from some future yet-to-come-to-market filters, which will require us to stop and think and perhaps spend hours tweaking something to see only the content we want, when we want, Curation is our future King (and/or Queen). It’s out there now. Some terrific sites exist (did you know BuzzFeed and HuffPo are curated sites?).

In fact if no one out there produced another nanosecond of content us curators could probably spend the rest of our lives filling up your life with good content already created. This not only includes the past 20 years of online content, but so much that came before that has been digitized. In the future, we could consume nothing but the past. Not that we would want to – but it’s important that the best of the cat videos be carefully curated and stored in a friendly online place, maybe next to grainy moon landing videos and someone’s VHS-quality recap of “Brady Bunch” episodes.

The key is getting to the content you want without the shock.

Source: “Content Shock: Why Content Marketing Is Not a Sustainable Strategy” by Mark W. Schaeffer – and some of the more than 400+ blog posts this article subsequently generated – talk about Content Shock!

Image source: BusinessGrow.com.