Content and its medium is a chicken-and-egg story. The history of media is embedded in content, whether it is on cave walls, done with woodblock carving, movable type or a dot-matrix printer. The history of content is how the media became easier and faster to manipulate. In the following weeks and months to come, we will trace the journey of that content in interesting and relevant ways and predict the trajectory of content in this fast-moving digital age and how individuals and enterprises will deal with content in the future.
Communications gone wild
No one would disagree that what we are experiencing is nothing short of revolutionary. Communication is instant, but the volume can be overwhelming as the amount of content generated is growing exponentially. A University of California study concluded that 5 exabytes of new information was produced in 2002 alone. The authors estimate that is equal to all the words ever spoken by human beings up until 2002. Since the estimates show that the rate of new information has been growing 30 percent annually, there is going to be a deluge of content to deal with.
Or in modern parlance, “curate,” only one of the many terms we have developed just in the last few years. We have heard more and more frequent mentions of content providers and content aggregators. Some content is “free” and some is merely “open.” There is content management, content marketing, content strategy, content authoring and the aforementioned curation. And someday, when the World Wide Web mirrors all the knowledge imaginable, the term “web content” may indeed be redundant .
Hear me now
Granted, the earliest cave drawings—almost exclusively comprised of drawings of animals, tracings of human hands and abstract patterns—may have been only the visions of tribal shaman and “not intended for publication.” Petroglyphs, a form of pre-writing symbols incised in rock by prehistoric peoples, probably had multiple authors at a time when authorship was less important than the message. Next week we will take up the vaunted book as part of our look at content and the focus on authorship in modern times.