Before the Youtube and ‘social media-baby-boomer’ explosion back in the early 2010’s, being a ‘content creator’ was a job many rarely heard of. Even if you did, it was a role that was more often that not, undefined – for good reasons too which I’ll get to in a bit. When content creation grasped a foothold in the scene, it took over the information age and the consumer, dominating not just the entertainment scene, but how digital marketing was being shaped to what we know as the industry giants today.
It’s a term that started new jobs – for young entrepreneurs, for the budding commercial artist willing to join the ad scene in this fresh new media form, for the hippy vloggers and everyday millennial who wanted to be part of something larger than themselves. For accessibility to all; but what really is ‘content’ and what is a ‘creator’?
When I first joined the media industry, I got a good taste of exactly what the term meant – what it truly meant for me. Have you ever wondered why no one calls this by any other name, why no one really calls these people ‘artists’, ‘art makers’, ‘production person’ ,’creative producers’ as an all encompassing name?
I hear you though, art being such a subjective topic, how can you objectively say that content creation is not art? To that I say, you are right but hear me out.
‘Content’ is a generic term, so basic in fact, that it literally could mean anything – and when anything can be content, I hesitate to call most of it art/creative work. This comes off as sounding elitist perhaps, but even as an industry term for digital marketers, you can see what they value, ‘content’, the existence of it to hit ROIs rather than the intrinsic artistic value of it all.
Do I blame them? No. It’s the name of the game, get it out, get a hashtag, get it trending, get people engaged and you’re in. It does make me a little peeved for the kind of media we consume from day to day, most times so, even unwillingly.
‘Creator’, the word, seems to incite vanity as if to highlight the self importance of your own content and production. When you put these two terms together, it brings to mind a generation of media that is basic, boring, uninspired and values the self importance of the ‘me‘ narrative. It connotes vanity, bland everyday consumerism and the general lack of emphasis that perhaps a majority of content may be worth even half your time.
Content creation is not inherently a bad thing in itself but it leaves a sour taste in my mouth because it is associated with the arts and creativity, at least, with such flimsy reasoning for being so. Though, there is that hint of that elitist mindset peeking through the cracks again. When content is made with the intent to hit as many eyeballs as possible, the very nature of that calls for it to be engaging. With the exception of viral content that makes the rounds, no one has a direct formula for how to hit the trending scene.
As a trickle down ripple effect, you end up with consumerist media everywhere – anyone can do ‘content’, anyone can ‘create’, but not everyone can produce art that could shake you to the core of your emotional and mental soul.When you the reader, find pieces of artwork that really move you, or really speak to you, you’ll know. Perhaps I’m just being nitpicky, afterall, all this seems harmless enough? How this affects the way we shape consumerism and media is something I’ve yet to dive deep in. Probably, I’ll have to make time for that.