Credo: Addendum

July 27th, 2010

As I publish a short series of posts on content curation this week, it’s occurred to me that there are a few core assumptions I’d like to clarify in something like an addendum to the credo on my about page.

  • Content strategy is as obviously important in web development projects as UI design or project management. Someone must deal with content, and anyone who believes otherwise is unlikely to produce good websites.
  • The modern practice of content strategy arises from a number of venerable professions and takes its core principles from editorial, analytical, curatorial, marketing, and managerial work. This doesn’t mean that it “is” any of those things.
  • In particular, content strategy is not a subset of marketing. Marketing is one application of content strategy.
  • Many marketing people are brilliant, ethical, and very good at their jobs. Some are not, and their influence can be very destructive. The former group should not be held responsible for the actions of the latter, but we should not be expected to pretend that the latter does not exist. (All these statements apply to many other professions, but marketing’s the one I’m focusing on in recent and upcoming posts.)


Curating the Deck Chairs on the Titanic

July 26th, 2010

One of the snarls in the content curation discussion is a problem of definition: leaving aside the ethical, aesthetic, and logical questions about the relation of museum or gallery curation to the online world, what do we—web people—mean when we say “content curation”? Read more ⇒

Content & Curation: An Epic Poem

July 22nd, 2010

If you follow the discussion about content strategy and new-school publishing, you’ve probably seen at least a piece of the “content curation” tussle that’s been heating up on the web. Here’s the 30-second version… Read more ⇒

Myth: People Read Less Online

June 23rd, 2010

Once again, the old story about people not reading on the web is getting attention. As Dean Allen wrote ten years ago, it goes like this: Users don’t read Users only scan Users haven’t got No attention span I hate to get vulgar when it’s not even Friday yet, but this is bullshit. Even in […]

This Is Content

May 27th, 2010

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been seeing a lot of smart people experiencing small paroxysms of insecurity about the use of the word “content” to describe the stuff that people publish online. “It’s impersonal,” goes the narrative. “It’s a buzzword.” “It takes all the humanity and warmth out of our stories and insights and […]

Paying For It

March 24th, 2010

Yesterday, I wrote that content is expensive, and that there are really only four ways to subsidize content online: ads, subscriptions, marketing writeoffs, and paid delivery channels. But we’re not really publishers over here in the web content world, so we don’t need to think about this stuff, right? Eh. If you work in web […]

Content is Expensive

March 24th, 2010

One of the ideas that kept pecking at my brain while I was prepping for our SXSW publishing panel was this: Content isn’t free. If it’s good, it’s very expensive to make. We can subsidize its production and maintenance in any number of ways, but we have to start being honest—with ourselves, our clients, and […]

Visual Content: Beyond Tufte

March 8th, 2010

Visual communication is one of the least frequently explored areas within the content world, possibly because it’s so easy to lump in with UI design, aka Not Our Problem. But many forms of visual communication clearly are content, part of the muscle of a website or other project. In the hands of a skillful communicator, […]

A Tale of 3 News Apps

March 4th, 2010

I used to read The New York Times online. Granted, the NYT can be weirdly insular, mesmerized by the trappings of wealth, and bad at covering literature, but I like newspapers, I like plenty of the NYT‘s national and international coverage, and I live in New York. Over the last year, I’ve found myself doing […]

Content Strategy Is About Publishing

March 3rd, 2010

In a couple of weeks, I’m going to be on a panel called “New Publishing and Web Content” at SXSW Interactive, and I’ve been thinking even more than usual about publishing and the anxieties surrounding its supposed demise. When people talk about the imminent death of publishing, they’re usually talking about something narrow, specific, and […]