Filling the Containers


I hate the word “content.” I mean, I use it, because I have to. But I hate the implied emphasis on a “container.” We have a container and we must fill it. With what? Whatever, some content. Just fill it up so it’s not empty!

That’s what the web is full of. “I have a blog, I have a Twitter account, I have a Facebook page, I have a website. I need to fill them up.” They’re all just empty containers in need of content.

But what if we looked at it like this? “I have a story to tell. I have thoughts to share. I have something to say. Now give me a container to hold all of this so it doesn’t spill all over and go to waste.”

The container is secondary. It’s the vehicle for the story. Because I’m not writing anything if I don’t have anything to say, and I’m not filling any containers just to watch them fill up with content. The containers serve me, not the other way around.

So what shall we call it? This work that we do? I’m not sure there’s any good word for it. Some have tried to call themselves “storytellers” but let’s be honest, it just sounds pretentious. I’m a writer. The things I write go into my clients’ various containers to be displayed and distributed. Much of it is optimized with a particular container in mind. So maybe we have to keep calling it content.

But let’s not lose the story in all this. Let’s remember that content is more than just content, and the container should serve the ideas.

Photo credit: B.C. Angell via / CC BY-NC-SA

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