“I Just Love Your Content!”

This is going to sound like one of those curmudgeonly posts but there’s an expression that I’ve grown to dislike, which is to refer to videos and pictures as “content.” The term probably started to become popular as a noun back in the ’90s, referring to webpages, although I’ve read others online say that the word originally comes from the world of magazine publishing. Whatever its origins, it’s one of those words that I’ve grown to dislike, especially when used to refer to videos and still pictures and in the phrase “content creator,” which is of course ubiquitous on YouTube.

Someone might say that I’m just being fussy and old fashioned, that it’s a perfectly fine English word and to get over myself. My complaint though is that (1) the word is imprecise and that (2) it has the feel of corporate speak, which is typically dreadful, such as: “Core competencies, deep dive, hop on a call” and that old favorite: “Let’s circle back on that.” The thing about corporate speak is that these expressions seep into the language and we use them without even thinking. I use them too, but every now and then I’ll catch myself and wince: “Did I actually just say, ‘Let’s touch base!?”

For me, the word content as a noun has that same awful corporate feel. It suggests that your website or online profile is just a placeholder that needs to be filled with images and videos – with content – and it doesn’t really matter what that content is. It’s all ultimately just crap meant to fill in empty spaces. When someone says they love my content, I assume they mean my videos. But why not just say videos? Or still pictures? Or just “pics” if that’s too many letters? (I use the word pics all the time.) Any of these words are more accurate and tell me something about what the person likes to look at, whereas “content” is vague. The word also makes the speaker sound like they’re up to date on the current jargon, which is probably why many people use it – it certainly does sound current – but to my mind that’s not always a good thing.

Another thing about corporate speak is that I find it a vulgar expression of our economic system. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go off on an anti-capitalist diatribe as I’m certainly an active participant in our very system. But for so many people life is inherently stressful and degrading, with the constant need to chase after the dollar and the crush of paying one’s bills. When I was young, I had a period of a few years when I was relatively poor, selling my blood plasma to make extra money. My version of poor was pretty mild compared to real poverty, but even what I experienced was stressful. For me, corporate speak just underscores that relentless push to feed the market, the demands of commerce that make us all her bitches. Get to work and crank out more content! If you don’t do it, someone else will seize the day, get their ducks in a row, think outside the box, and deliver up some fresh and tasty new content for the hungry consumer.

Of course, I’m probably just growing old and grumpy. But whenever I’m talking to or emailing with someone, and the word content comes up, I always take notice. I’ll pause and think, “Should I say something?” And then I drop it. No one needs to hear overly opinionated Sandra hold forth on another fussy distinction. So I let it go. But of course, this is my blog so I’m free to write about anything I want – and it’s not like there are thousands of subscribers reading this anyway. I do mentally go “Ugh” every time I hear that word but considering how popular it’s become, I’m clearly in the minority. At the end of the day, though, I’ve got videos and pics to work on and image placeholders to fill in. Back to work! This content ain’t going to produce itself!

4 thoughts on ““I Just Love Your Content!””

  1. we all have our moments…lol…your “work” is always fantastic!
    never stop…but keep with your opinions…love them.

    still…the best legs on the net!

  2. I agree, especially when it’s Youtube “content creators” who simply read a wikipedia article or worse, give a half-hearted reaction video to a movie or tv show. No, someone reading a page or saying “interesting” every 20 seconds is not content. Your website has way more content than those “creators”.

    And speaking of content, I love what you’ve produced with Ana Corvida. Her recent shoot and the previous one’s have a style that I find perfect. The tight gags and nylon hoods, the tape wrapped around the fingers, and the tiny chastity keeping things contained. Wonderful!! Please keep it up!!

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