i want people to stop using the word "content" to mean literally every kind of work or any kind of creative endeavour that was persisted in any kind of medium

And, btw, i realize that we used to have a different word for the same concept: whether it was a song, a newspaper article, a theater play, it was "a piece"

so why does "content" feel so much worse?

@meena perhaps because 'content' declared itself contained, putting the real emphasis not on the 'piece' as an element of some communicative whole, but on the box. The thing doing the containing is implicitly centralized.

@feonixrift yeah, it feels like the Kellogg's Box that your mom refills with Aldi cornflakes.

@feonixrift @meena "Content" is for consumption.

A piece implies that it is a piece of something. Most commonly "art" or "music" (which is implicit.)

Content as a descriptor carries implications of ... sameness? Of unimportance.

A piece is unique. Singular. Content is a grey blob consuming all it sees.

@ajroach42 @feonixrift i like (or: understand ;) that distinction.

thank you.

@meena @ajroach42 @feonixrift

even the language of so-called "intellectual property" is more respectful, referring as it does to "works", "a work" or "the work".

@meena @ajroach42 @feonixrift

this relates to a point where I diverge from some criticism of markets, since the term "commodity" in these circles is used for any thing or relation that has fallen into being bought & sold.

those who deign to consider markets in more detail differentiate unique, branded, or proprietary goods from goods traded more fungibly, adhering perhaps to a standard, but with indifference as to source or supplier

'content' fits into this last category, as if it were FCOJ.

@meena @ajroach42 @feonixrift

(FCOJ == frozen concentrated orange juice, used here as an example commodity)


@ajroach42 @meena

honestly, I've never liked the term "piece" either
because it felt like it always went along with people assuming you could 'make it' as an artist if you just advertised yourself enough and elbowed people for boosts enough, and you didn't have to first overthrow the attention economy or even capitalism to have any chance

that's pretty subjective,
but it was enough for me to stop talking about being 'an artist' versus 'a socialist myth creator / game dev'


@ajroach42 @meena

it sometimes feels to me like the entire word "artist" (though not necessarily the concept, just the way the word is used in certain contexts) has been subsumed by capitalism

especially when we think about things like, the RIAA and them calling musicians that succeed with them 'the artists', but this masking a whole bunch of other musicians who can't succeed this way, & RIAA insisting we need copyright just to 'protect' the few musicians useful to capitalists


capitalism; 2/2 

so it follows to me that it might be necessary to just start using totally different language for things representing our intentions if we want to shake off Capitalist Realism


@meena for me it's because it's corpospeak.
I don't want to use their language.

@meena we need more exclusive content to improve conversions! 👨‍💼

@meena i feel similarly. it's like a propaganda term to me. implies a sense of worthlessness outside of capitalist consumption culture

@June @meena This might not make sense but when I'm reading that word I often mentally (intentionally) replace it with the meaning "being content", as in satisfied. Might mess up the grammar but I'd rather imagine a lot of satisfied people with bad grammar (like me with my meandering parentheses and bad sentence structure) than the other thing.

@meena because it's implicitly embracing the modern attention economy as a value system.

@meena I think "content" is very much like "stuff": too general and vague to be good.

"Look at all this stuff!" and "Look at all this content!" read pretty similarly: no clue what it actually is, and not good enough for anything to stand out and get individual mention

@meena Piece, I haven't heard that term before. I like it!

I echo the connotation that "content" is about consumption, as opposed to say education, argument, philanthropy, etc.

This thing being presented is a product, and it is something being sold to you. The whole endeavor is tied to revenue for the author, whether it is through ads, or as free material towards an upsell.

Also, the term has a gross vagueness to it. You don't know if the content is writing, video, audio. In fact, the distinction is pointless.

I've only ever seen people use the word content in a business sense, content for the website, just anything to make it interesting so it can lead to a sale.

In the end, it is totally impersonal. Content is not a dialogue between the author and viewer, they are simply attractions, entertainment to steal attention and if all goes well, money.

@meena i dislike ‘content’ because it is the terminology of the service provider and the marketer: here is my website/platform/app/whatever, and it has precisely named parts that pertain to its function, but what it acts upon is just ‘content’. it’s an indiscerning term as to the role it fills, the uses it has, and the place it has in its respective context.

a monet landscape and some racist dipshit’s cartoon: both content. a declaration of independence, a status change from ‘married’ to ‘single’, targeted abuse, a poem: all content.

content is reduced to whatever its purpose is for the service that shovels it. engagement, likes, click-throughs, seconds watched…

for artists, makers, craftspeople, humans, to call their art, builds, work, diary entries, conversation, vacation memories ‘content’ is to grovel at the feet of the content-shoveler who is nothing without the people creating meaningful things.

for afficionados, fans, ‘the interested’ to call the objects of their interest ‘content’ expresses a casual disrespect for those who made the things you are interested in, in favour of those shoveling it your way.

to me, ‘content’ strips away every aspect that makes things meaningful, and elevates its role as an utterly exchangeable piece of cargo in the machinations of some (usually) for-profit mill.

and we somehow let us be tricked into regarding this term as a smart or sophisticated one.

@gekitsu there are precisely named parts of an application, except for "content" and "user".

I heard a phrase today that I hope to never hear uttered without introspection ever again, "a content creator I enjoyed as a child"

@meena In my head, "content" feels very... Depersonalized? Artists make pieces of art, but anyone can make content. That sort of angle.


Perhaps 'piece' is a good word for some creative works because it implies that each work is a part of a greater whole.

Relatedly, despite a lifetime professionally in the 'arts', I hesitate to use terms like 'artist' and 'art' to describe myself and what I do.

Such terms are often laden with ego and status. More worryingly, they suggest that something as intrinsically human as creative expression is only available to a special class of person.

@meena if it's not the L2ness of my English, content only gained this sense thanks to startup culture's commodification of art, news, literature and similar. When these things became deliverables that shared the same logistic hub for the first time, and subsequently began to be mass produced, the shithole of SV came up with this abomination of a word to be used in the jargon of a new industry and it's emerging labour force.

Doubt the word had widespread use with this meaning pre 2010.

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