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Why Is Content King? Fragmentation.
By: Jeff Louis
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Ever heard that content is king? It’s the lexicon of the 21st century, so if you haven’t, it’s probably a good idea to play catch-up. If you’re reading this, you probably already know that "Content is King" because nearly every online source for blogging, social media strategy, Search Engine Optimization, or website development undoubtedly mentions it at some point, advising that content should be relevant, current, and interesting, which is all true.

The technology juggernaut influences content, dictating that all content must be relevant/interesting/fresh, and etc. Why? Because the attention span’s been shattered, pulled in hundreds of directions to a myriad of potential information sources. Do people still wait for the 6 PM news to learn the events of the day? Maybe; however, real-time consumption of real-time information means that they’ve either already seen it by 6 PM, or that it’s not that important.

Attention spans are hyper-fragmented, so the other rule of content is that it must be short. Think about it for a moment, because it’s all around us; we download songs and don’t buy CDs; podcasts and excerpts replace presentations and reading; commercials are zapped from DVRs; send an email over a phone call, a text over an email, and abbreviate (LOL, ZOMG, WTF) and if there isn’t a word, borrow/create one (Sherpa, mashup, Fail, PWND, etc).

The concept of a "captive audience" that permeated the 1980s and early 1990s is dead, and so are their attention spans; the complacent herd has evolved, shifting from blank to animated, docile to active, turning the sought into seekers. 

Despite the shift in consumption habit, TV viewership hasn’t declined; the mega-shows like American Idol still pull the majority of viewers during that daypart that drove Cosby and Millionaire to the top; the difference is that the share of viewers has dropped significantly. ClickZ reported that American Idol has but a third of Cosby’s audience, meaning that two-thirds — still watching TV — is spread over hundreds of channels, still consuming the same amount of media, but from alternative sources.

Although still viewing the ol’ TV set, remember that for many it’s just a gathering point that generates background noise; they’re still texting, updating, reading, Tweeting, checking-in, and watching the latest viral video.

Which brings us back to why content is king.

Image Attribution: Rachid Lamzah, Flickr


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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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