The Content Flood: Quality Tops Quantity
Because my today web-travellings exposed it once again and there are more and more “tools” for this everyday, I’ll throw in my two cents on the current state of the medium we love so much, the internet.
The last years have changed the medium a lot. Not a big surprise in a medium that’s only consistency is change. But there are directions. Let’s take an ultimate crash-course in internet history:
- Started as a very small thing
- Became popular for scientific usage
- Attracted all kinds of specialists as fast & global publication medium
- Attracted “the public” as global, free source of information
- Attracted the advertisin-madmen as “the new medium”
- Attracted the “.com”-hype
- Crashed thy hype by people realizing that money doesn’t come from nowhere
- New technologies, faster connections, lower prices
- Platforms & social networks arose
- The concept of “user generated content” evolved
- The internet as everyone’s personal publishing platform
Basically what the internet is nowadays is an important part of nearly everyone’s life. No business can exist without at least having an e-mail adress, everyone has got an own webpage, students do their master thesis’s researching on WikiPedia, people keep friendships and business connectins alive on the neverending supply of social network sites, phone companies face the enemy VoIP, the music industry is about to get smacked down again after 50 years of self-claimed dictatorship, no newspaper is without an online-version, an so forth. You get the idea.
Through all this blogging, content-generating, web-publishing, … the internet became a huge mess of information. Information of different quality. One can find “advice” and “tutorials” or “how-to’s” on and for everything, the problem is that there’s no guarantee on the quality of those tips and tricks. So the internet tried to invent ways of trust. First of all there are Search Engines, no question google on top. They did a great job until recently, but the bloat of publishing seems also being too much for those lately. It’s not searching anymore, it’s researching – “is this really the information I need?” “Is the source reliable?” “Is the information up to date?” “Are there conflicting opinions/truths out there?” “Is this true at all?” – every one of us is doing the profound journalistical check – recheck – doublecheck routine, on every internet research.
But the internet is supposed to save time, not generate more work. So what to do? Right, trust. In WikiPedia we trust, for example. Many people don’t even hesitate to ask google anymore if they are looking for nothing than plain facts. WikiPedia got it, and you can bet your ass the information there is as reliable as any expert or book around. Then there’s all kinds of networks trying to establish a way of sharing content: Digg, StumbeUpon, Del.ico.us, … it’s all the same: Rather trust what others suggest as being good sources of information than doing a research all by yourself. The internet has became an active medium and it’s users don’t limit themselves to “take what they get”, but they will add what’s missing.
And they will make their own conclusions. I, for example, haven’t ever bought a book on marketing or branding. Because there’s hundreds of them. Even the amazon-feedbacks aren’t enough on this, I don’t want to read through all that to decide which source of information is trustworthy. But I do read blogs. Marketing Blogs. From all over the world, professionals from different parts of marketing, with different thoughts and beliefs about what they do, and with different conclusions about their work. And from those different views I can draw my own conclusions, pick the truths I find working for me and probably buy the book this guy whom’s blog I read for a year now and agree with on most topics suggested. The same thing with webdesign, a far more polarizing topic.
I trust total strangers. I base my future in work on the words of people I’ve never even talked to, nor seen, nor anything else, rather than buying admired books containing “the truth”. Because those people don’t try to proclaim “the one method”, “the final truth”. Those people write about their experiences, what they learned and how things work for them, in their situation. And they don’t hesitate talking about their own failures, critizising “the big ones” or giving out their knowledge, for free, just because they think it makes a difference.
And, for me, it does.
Hm, turned out to be a lot of ranting now. What I wanted to say is way shorter and can be packed in one sentence:
Deliver high quality content and you’ll build lasting relations to high quality consumers.
Now feel free to exchange “content” with “product” and there you go with probably the world’s best, yet most forgotten, marketing strategy.
There’s another point in delivering less, but higher quality content: How many blogs do you read a day? My Abo currently counts 12, personal blogs not included. If every of those blogs published two posts a day I’d not be able to catch up anyways. Abonnements and the pleasure of free RSS Readers make it easy to keep track of high quality blogs. And even if people only post once a month – if high-quality knowledge is shared I’m willing to wait. Are you?