I've written here about my distaste for the term "content" as a description of what writers and editors and photographers and video people and designers make. I sent my Facebook friend, the Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg, my piece on his newspaper's public declaration that it's now a "content" company.
Steinberg agreed the term is odious, and he elaborated:
"Content creation" is an unfortunate term, like a baker who calls her fresh baked dinner rolls "various complex starches." There's nothing wrong with being a techno/business sort without poetry in your soul. But Jeez, have some subtleness. If I were selling curry buns to the Chinese, I would have the good sense to call my product, "Golden Good Fortune Happy Necessary Joy Pillows" or some such thing. I would not call them "Extruded Glop to Fill the Bellies of the Chinese," which has a tone very much like, "content creation." Do you want to read created content? I sure don't. That may be what it is, but I expect businessmen and leaders to draw the veil a little."
And of all people, who better than professional "content creators" should understand the need to avoid chilling warm customers with cold industry jargon?
But I'd go one further and say that we shouldn't use "content" in our own industry circles. Such terminology is bad for the morale of storytellers, who are especially sensitive to the notion that their words and images are just filling up buckets.
Or as a graphic designer once yelled over a cubicle wall when she saw that my copy came up short in her page layout, "Dave, you gotta write some more shit."
Let's not write more shit. Let's not create more content.
Let's tell stories.
Let's express opinions.
Let's have conversations.