Content. The iPad was designed for you to “consume” it. The big brands that are rushing to animate their brochures so you can consume them on the iPad are sorta philosophically stealing your human agency of creation and replacing it with mind-numbing broadcast. That’s not very 2.0.
1. to destroy or expend by use2. to devour3. to spend wastefully4. to absorb5. to undergo destruction; waste away
6. to use or use up
Social tools allow us to create, contribute, and pass along. Different people have different levels of interaction with content—knowledge, information, art—but we value highest the most creative minds: people who create content with a grain of truth in it, be it music, images, mashups, curations, stories. He who creates something beautiful or elucidates the truth through syntopic analysis is celebrated by other humans, and rightly so, as having an intellectual gift.
The iPad has the capability to serve up those creative objects, but the high cost of entry means that marketing messages have the loudest initial voice.
Jeff Jarvis tells us that the mythic social media influencer—whether they exist or not and however useful in spreading ideas they may be—is merely the mouthpiece of broadcast. Marketing strategy dictates locating the widest reach for the lowest cost. Unfortunately for marketers of “content”, the quality of the message dictates it’s spread, not the follower count of the spreader.
Jeff also posits that all actions online—liking, fanning, uploading, commenting—are content too, and they are, to Google and Facebook. Who add their own powerful aggregations by connecting your social graph and your activites—and selling it to marketers.
The meta layer that Facebook ads to our actions is being created for only one thing: to make money. See how Pete Warden’s recent attempt to use ostensibly public data from Facebook to create something a little more meta–and how quickly he was nearly sued into oblivion by the web giant. (Pete was trying to use the content in a way that commented on society, showing interesting correlations like where the most fans of Glenn Beck live and what pages they’re most likely to fan).
Even as broadcasting and passive consumption refuse to die, Umair Haque takes us beyond the social media channel with the idea that organizations should develop a social strategy, using the new tools of connection for a more meaningful place in the world, producing more meaningful stuff (content, if you will—if relationships, voice, and ethics are content).
The tools can do nothing short of connecting people, and we’re squandering them on product placement: the one positioning opportunity you can’t TiVo.
The most important thing to ask about any technology is how it changes people.
—Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget
That’s the same as Umair’s explanation of ‘medium is the message’. The iPad paradigm, consumption, and the advertising-orchestrated conviction that every bit of personal data we give up—I like this, I fan this—is valuable content has an impact on us as we conceive of ourselves.
We might be letting the algorithms of marketing conversions dictate our thinking when we equate liking a brand to creativity. This situation was created by us, but not to serve the greater good. The humanist perspective places people at the heart of meaning.
Meaning comes from truth. Expose, expand, spread a truth and you are truly creating content.