Good Content Entertains.
The last few posts seem to suggest I know something about what is better content for the Internet. Or that I think current content is all bad, and I’m above them all.
Not at all. I don’t really know what’s supposed to be good content for the Internet. That’s precisely why I was writing about it. Thinking about it with words, essentially.
I have published fictional works that I suspect have been read by less than 10 people on the planet. Are they good content? I don’t know. In terms of form, yes, they have met my criteria of being free of the clutches of templates. In terms of substance, it’s hard to say. Like I’ve tweeted before, I suspect that among all my short stories, only one stands out as possibly being able to stir someone’s heart. In that respect, most of my fictions haven’t been moving, and they are therefore not good content. They’re probably mediocre in terms of artistic merit, too.
But if there’s one redeeming factor about these works, it’s that I was trying to understand. By writing about all kinds of things and ideas, from religion to time to death, I was hoping to understand the human condition, the condition of being alive. If I have failed in communicating that to my readers, if I have failed to engaged them to begin with, then at the very least I started off with intentions that are different. And the variety that results from varied intentions, one work at a time, one amateur artist at a time, is what I believe is critical to changing the Internet.
I do not think that all existing content on the Internet is bad. Some are obviously horrendous, but in general, I do think that we’re doing a great job with the Internet as an information superhighway. It’s essentially the lack of variety that I’m concerned with.
Essentially, the voices of the business people and engineers are too loud, and that of artists and philosophers are too soft.
I happen to follow a philosopher on Twitter. It is through him that I get links to good websites like Brain Pickings. But I have to be frank—of all the good articles Ian Dyball has tweeted and effectively recommended, I’ve only managed to finish reading one.
Why? Why, for someone who’s advocating better content on the Internet, do I not spend time reading good stuff?
Because they are too difficult.
As a working adult, we (sorry for roping you in) are often thinking about and solving difficult problems in our daily life and work. So when we see a seemingly good article that talks about a difficult topic, our instinct is to run away from it. Enough with thinking, we want to rest our harebrains for a while. Maybe next time.
Of course, next time never comes, and we’re left distanced from important but difficult ideas. Totally understandable, but—such a pity.
Which is why, I realize—only now—that better content needs to be entertaining. Or, at least, not too heavy. Our job as content creators is not just to convey ideas, but also to make them easily digestible. By writing difficult, lengthy, overly serious articles, we’re estranging our users in spite of our well intentions.
Good content has better be engaging, too. Especially in the Internet age.
And that’s my conclusion for this post.