Designing Content


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Designing Content

  1. 1. Designing Content What we learned pre-Gutenberg, then promptly forgot
  2. 2. By definition, a publication is an act of communication. Its principle purpose is to get across an idea.
  3. 3. Historically, we’ve thought of content as fixed.
  4. 4. We’ve been passive bystanders to what authors write.
  5. 5. Authors had control over the content and even, sometimes, the context for where that content appeared.
  6. 6. Authors could even predict where audiences would encounter the content.
  7. 7. Editors would decide what audiences needed to hear; what themes were important.
  8. 8. And authors would write accordingly.
  9. 9. But, as we know, this has all changed.
  10. 10. Professional authors and writers of all kinds are intimidated by content created by users.
  11. 11. But, in fact, this is where we started. Where all content started.
  12. 12. Part 1: Writing & Guttenberg, or The Beginning of Content Getting Trapped on the Page
  13. 13. The ubiquity of available texts brought content to a large number of people.
  14. 14. Content was paired with design elements to make a point rather than relying on the needs of a live audience.
  15. 15. Content became less social, and more an individual exercise.
  16. 16. What people read and what people saw became less in touch with the readers.
  17. 17. We relied on editors to tell us what to read.
  18. 18. Reading became less of a social act. It became an individual endeavor.
  19. 19. Part 2: Oral Epic Poetry, or Really Long Stories That People Seemed to Memorize
  20. 20. Before there was writing, there were only stories.
  21. 21. Without recording in any form, people had to rely on patterns to remember stories.
  22. 22. The poetry is a collaborative composition that takes place over many generations. (Wiki)
  23. 23. The moment the reciter says the story out loud, it is a combination of composing reciting, and performing.
  24. 24. Reciters create meaning through rhythm by drawing from a collection of formulas and formulaic expressions.
  25. 25. While the framework of each song is the same, each adds his own style by ornamenting the story. Thus, each has a distinctive personality.
  26. 26. Content, by this definition, was all about knowing ones audience and relying on frameworks to make an existing pattern one’s own.
  27. 27. It was up to a select few to create the framework, and the community to write the stories.
  28. 28. In this way, content started as a purely social act.
  29. 29. Part 3: Now, or a Return to Important Aspects of Before
  30. 30. Early web content was just a recital of what people already knew.
  31. 31. It was closer to print than it was to the oral tradition.
  32. 32. Even though we’ve always known how to use frameworks,
  33. 33. And retell our stories,
  34. 34. But what we’re seeing is a actually a return to the oral tradition.
  35. 35. A return to reliance on patterns.
  36. 36. And a return to content driven by what live audiences need.
  37. 37. With a good framework, anyone can tell a good story.