This was originally published on BoydNeil.com on July 12, 2013.
The attention paid to ‘content’ on what in the communications disciplines are now called ‘owned media’ — publishing channels on which the editorial and visual content is created, chosen, written, designed and distributed by a company — is not misplaced. There are ideas, knowledge and information within organizations that make for pleasurable and instructive stories like those found on Coca-Cola Journey or Target’s A Bullseye View (managed by Group SJR, an H+K Strategies company).
But there is an old-model assumption behind the way we talk about ‘content’. By ‘old model’ I mean before the social web enabled the kind of talk-back-to, sarcastic, amazed etc. personal merging with the substance of stories.
Social provides something that naked content, no matter how sharable, doesn’t — the chance to talk back to or talk about what you’re reading rather than passively consuming it. And this like debate creates not only true learning and understanding but also trust — the currency of reputation.
To quote American social critic Christopher Lasch: “Information, usually seen as the precondition of debate, is better understood as its by-product”.
Or this from Christopher Hitchens: “Time spent arguing is, oddly enough, almost never wasted”.
Content strategies for owned media should be partnered with social strategies that animate consideration, contention, even controversy.