When I first started blogging, I thought a lot about how I would explore content here, especially in About This Blog. At the time, my main inspiration came from Hillel Cooperman, who formerly directed the Windows user interface team at Microsoft, and is the more recent founder of Jackson Fish Market. In a speech, Cooperman proposed that “software and content are becoming so intertwined, there’s no longer much point in drawing any distinction.”
The Convergence of Content and Software
Back in March ’09, my main objective was to explore this “content-software convergence,” which in addition to a Content Wrangler post on “Convergence Technical Communication,” inspired the blog’s name.
Content as Information, Interactions, and Experiences
Sometime last winter, the tag-line for this blog became content strategy, development, and management, mainly to accommodate the topics that seemed most relevant to my immediate professional development, as well as the kinds of cross-disciplinary resources I was encountering mostly online. Previous to that, this blog was actually called, “Content for a Convergent World: Information, Interactions, and Experiences.”
Content as Branded Experience
The earlier tag-line was drawn from Vince Giorgi’s post, “Is It Content? Software? Let’s Call It a Branded Experience,” which describes content this way:
“Value-adding information, interactions, and experiences by which brands engage and build affinity with the audiences vital to their business success.”
Right now, there seems to be some debate in the blogosphere, about the nature of content, and how we use content to build relationships with our customers. Is content more in the questions we ask? or the information we synthesize? Is it better to be original or comprehensive? Is the nature of our relationships better served by inbound versus outbound frameworks?
Convergent Thinking in a Divergent World
In school, I was one of those people on standardized tests, who always looked for C, whenever I was presented with A or B.
To me, Giorgi’s view of content as “information, interactions, and experiences” encompasses all of it, and that’s why I can embrace, at least in this stage of my development, such convergent thinking, in a seemingly divergent world (or is it vice verca)? (see Chris Brogan’s thoughts on cognitive resonance and dissonance, over at Open Forum, for more on convergent versus divergent thinking.)
Design Now a Part of Marketing
So far, I’ve focused mainly on the information part of Giorgi’s view of content. As I evolve as a blogger and continue with content as a theme, I’d like to explore more and better practice, the interactions and experiences part of Giorgi’s content equation.
Longterm, I’d also like to wind back to my original intent, exploring what Cooperman observed, as the interwining of content with software. I hadn’t thought much about that lately, until a recent post by Seth Godin, on the business of software. There, Godin notes:
At its heart, you need to imagine (and then execute) a business that just happens to involve a piece of software, because it’s become clear that software alone isn’t the point. There isn’t a supply issue–it’s about demand. The business of software is now marketing (which includes design).
So, what’s content to you?
Do you agree with Cooperman’s perspective that a lot of our prior distinctions (and to me, by implication, our way of working) are disappearing, in the intertwining of content with software? or Godin’s assertion that the “the business of software is now marketing (which includes design)?” How do you harness convergent versus divergent thinking in your own problem-solving? or within your organization?
- Content Rules by C.C. Chapman and Ann Handley: Content Is _____ (release date: Nov. 30th)
- Chris Brogan’s Speech on Content as Interaction & the Questions We Ask: Boston WordPress Meetup Oct
- “Content Convergence” (according to Rahel Anne Bailie)