Here’s a parable for New Media Marketers. And if you hadn’t realized it, as an Architectural Blogger you are a New Media Marketer.
There once was a simple man, a tradesman, who came to a new land. It was a grand place of commerce and community and untold resources. All day long the inhabitants spoke glowingly of their king. It was a very welcoming place and the simple traveler was pleased to settle in the new land and to serve the good king.
After a time of observing the people and hearing of its monarch, the simple man knew something was amiss. There was no pending danger, no lurking evil – just the unsettling knowledge that the people were mistaken about their king.
As it happened, the man had known this “king” in the practice of his trade elsewhere; not as a king but as a friend, a messenger, a hardworking servant, even a jester – but not as a king or ruler in any sense.
One day the man went to the central square, stood tall and clearly declared to the inhabitants of the new land, “Your king is no king! You can’t serve him – he must serve you!”
The Key to the Parable: Content is not King. Despite what you’ve heard and read, Content doesn’t even want to be a king. Content wants to be your hardworking servant, your messenger, your jester – set Content free to serve you and the other inhabitants of the land of New Media.
We Architects have always made the distinction between style, composition, and content. This comes from the era of hand drafting but continues to today. How a drawing’s line weights, dimension tick marks, lettering and other elements appear are matters of style. How the plan, details, notes, and titles are laid out are matters of composition. These are the HOW of a drawing.
Content is the WHAT of a drawing – what the estimator will take off, what the reviewer will permit, and what the contractor will build. In architectural terms, content is a matter of what will become. Content stands on its own, but it stands for something else entirely.
It is with that professional background I now respond to the New Media mantra and battle cry that “Content is King!” I believe I know what they mean (or what they think they mean) when they repeat it, but having dealt with content in the practice of my trade elsewhere, I know it’s not true. I stand in the square and say content is not king.
In an architectural drawing content stands for something else; it represents and specifies something that it is to be fully realized later in four dimensions. In an architectural blog content stands for something else as well, for things that will be fully realized later. To that end architectural content is servant and messenger – but it is not king.
Please share your thoughts on the nature of Content in New Media and how Architects have employed Content to create other things entirely.