Will the content bubble burst? You know the content bubble i.e. the crazy machine that brands are force feeding with the drivel, boring bottom of the internet garbage that gets put out there all the time. It’s the culture that’s response for telling me what Kim Kardashian ate for breakfast, who walked down the aisle with Jennifer Lawrence at her best friends wedding, and the 800 ways I should feel bad about my wrinkles, body fat, hair color and the miracle products that will fix it. It’s the reason Vogue is boring and no one wants to read the New York Times. It’s the content bubble and its killing us.
It’s killing us because it is inundating us. It’s ineffective and it isn’t cost effective. Do you know the Daily Dot employs 15 people to run is Snapchat channel? Cosmo has more? Mashable is moving to video to feed the content beast. They are all struggling with the real pressure to increase numbers, drive engagements, and push out more content because…. Because why? Because more subscribers mean more dollars from advertisers. Because, advertisers think more eyeballs means more potential customers. But, does the dumbing down of content results in fewer eyeballs overtime because people are constantly disappointed?
I had lunch with a friend the other day who was telling me about how she is constantly intrigued by the headlines of a certain Time Inc women’s outlet but constantly disappointed when she actually gets to the article. She’s been “click-baited” and the content has under-served her. I so often feel this way too, that I basically NEVER click on articles online. I only respond to those people I trust share or to those that arrive in my inbox collated by newsletters I believe in.
Recently, in a conversation with Casey Lewis, Co-Founder of the Clover Letter, she talked abut the response that girls have to their daily newsletter. “They want smart content is the response we get from 100% of readers because right now they don’t even know where to go. They go to top news websites and they dont even know what to find because there is so much traffic driver click-bait on the channel.”
I love to point to the upcoming generation as a way of understanding what is and isn’t working in our own social media channels. As such, I believe we need to take what The Clover Letter is finding into account and what we ourselves are also encountering. The world is basically just pumping out shitty content to drive traffic to people who are not going to continue to consume shitty content.
The power comes from the brands that understand this, the brands who lean out to create poignant content, just maybe not all the time. Wait but Why the long form blog on complicated scientific and cultural issues is the perfect example of this. They do not post uniformly on specific days or issues but instead when they do post they are adding VALUE.
Value is something I write about a lot in my forthcoming book and something that I encourage people to think about in the Social Works System. If you provide real value, people will respond. If you create content with value people with respond. You don’t need to fill the internet with more shitty content. Instead, do us a favor and make valuable content that people will want to consume. Until more brands do this, we will see the content bubble grow and at some point in the future burst. Gen Z, at the very least, isn’t going to put up with it.