I’ll never forgive the internet for training a generation of artists and writers to call what they make “content.”

Boxes have contents. You’re a fucking ARTIST. You make ART. Own it.

@fraying " Can you imagine a writer saying "I am a content provider" when asked what they do?"

a whole generation of youtubers are calling themselves "content creators" the term that youtube and other platforms invented for them.

@meena that phrase predates YouTube by, like, a lot.

@fraying Yeah, I have a hard time imagining Van Gogh hacking off his ear and saying "I did this for content".

@fraying As a full-time writer and sysadmin: yes, this.

"Content" is a term for business people and web admins.

"Art" is for what you gleefully create.

Once you start thinking of your joy as your product, your career is over.

@mwlucas @fraying I’m reminded of the ancient debate over art vs craft: form vs function and passion vs money. Nowadays social capital (e.g. likes/faves) muddies the topic further. IMO few make art, most make content.

@demonkind @fraying People have always tried to sell out to Mammon. Mammon's rarely buying.

The Net makes it easier to get dribbles of money for your art, and too many people focus on maximizing the dribble rather than what brings them joy.

I'm writing #terrapinSkyTango because it makes me happy.

Once I finish, sure, I'll put it up for sale. It's how I pay my bills. But money can't enter the creative process, or it'll destroy my joy. And readers can feel my joy.

@fraying maybe they're content with things the way they are? I'll see myself out.

@fraying And that people who make that "content" should be grateful to work for free.

@westphillydawn that, I’m afraid, is not unique to this generation.

@fraying I write the bits that make the young girls cry.

Doesn't quite have the same ring, does it?

They call me the bitwriter.

@fraying "I only started hearing about content when the container industry felt threatened."

Barlow (Grateful Dead, EFF)

@fraying I can’t forgive it for training a generation to believe their life’s work and business is to create a “personal brand.”

@fraying I'm a big proponent of calling what we do here writing, what the platform does is publishing. We are contributing to the world, we are contributing to a tradition of language and conversation.

@fraying That probably traces to Sumner Redstone's "content is king". Often misattributed to Bill Gates.

That is also wrong, and I suspect deliberately misleading: *channel* and *channel control* is king. #monopoly IOW.

@fraying I mean, visually speaking the internet is made up of a bunch of 2D boxes... :0010:


I remember you from the beginning of my internet experience. So glad to have accidentally re-found you and see you in my feed again.

Keep fighting the good fight.

@RussSharek aw, hello again! My favorite thing about this place is how it feels like the older, smaller web.


Indeed. I wonder what other early web celebs are going to come out of the woodwork to play here.

@fraying Just to imagine that Frederic Chopin was creating "content".

@fraying counterpoint: a lot of internet artists/writers/musicians have to self promote so that they can sell their art in order to make a living

content is a handy catch-all term for their creative work if they make more than one form of art

I'm not a fan of it either to be honest but it's the reality for a lot of people and they have to do these things to get by.

@fraying that word is also really intimidating and, for me personally, heads straight to "i'm a gd fraud"-land.

@fraying @alcinnz @dredmorbius "content" has its uses as a technical term though. If you are building a general-purpose thing like a CMS, it might be used for journalism, or opinion, or art, or any one of 10,000 other things, but from the POV of managing it in the software, it's all content, and the users uploading and managing it are content creators.

@fraying @alcinnz @dredmorbius when you break it down, "art" is a similarly generic term. Writers produce writing. Musicians produce music. Film-makers produce films. Even these are generic containers, that could be broken down further. Not sure you can get any more generic than "content" though ;)

@strypey @alcinnz @dredmorbius yes, of course, other terms are good too. I love all those terms. Be as specific as possible, I say!

@fraying Both specificity and generality have their purpose. But too: all speech is political.

@strypey @alcinnz

@dredmorbius @fraying @alcinnz true, and "speech" is perhaps a more empowering generic term than "content", especially in the US context where speech has special protection it doesn't have everywhere else. That said, it might be confusing for CMS developers (for example) to use "speech" instead of "content".

@strypey I was referring to speech in the sense of "content" vs. other terms.

@fraying @alcinnz

@fraying Agreed, I'm glad I'm not alone. I was starting to think I was the only one apart from Stallman who despised the word "content". I'm utterly sick of the word.

@fraying there's literally another toot on my timeline saying youtubers aren't artists.

People say the same about writers, podcasts... everybody's gotta fucking dictate labels for everyone else.

@fraying interesting. Had to think about that one. I like it.

@fraying yeah, I find even my ironic uses of the term are starting to leave a bad taste in my mouth. kinda similar to using 'brand' as a sardonically mercenary way to say 'style' or 'milieu'— I don't find it nearly as funny, or nearly as obviously-unserious, as I used to

Not just artists and writers either. Apparently that's what we all do now. Create "content." And I abhor that we've collectively internalised that.

@fraying YES to this post... I've been complaining about this problem online for as long as I've been online... Art is NOT a product! Music and art should not be a commodity and it is not content. Capitalism destroys creativity and words mean things.

@fraying i use content to refer to everything i post: from off-hand gripes and commentary, shitposts, sincere posts, art, memes, etc. all of that is content, technically.

my art is my art, it is a type of content, but it is specifically my -work-.

likewise, i don't use brand ever, unless it's to mock that kind of mentality. it's just my work.

@fraying yes, this. it’s one of the issue where i go d’accord with stallman – the words we use are important, and we should choose them thoughtfully.
content is a marketer’s concept, who doesn’t care what he panders, just how effectively and in what manner he does so.
if people don’t like the connotations of ‘art(ist)’, we have the beautifully nonspecific ‘maker,’ for example. and we can always make up words to exactly fit our notions of what we do.

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