For a long time, we’ve been creating too much content, so much so that I think that we’ve already reached Peak Content, the point at which this glut of things to read, watch and listen to becomes completely unsustainable.
Source: Peak content: The collapse of the attention economy
The problem of there being too much content isn’t new. There were already too many books for someone to read. Too many shows to watch. Too many movies to see.
When has this not been true?
The difference now is that marketers are better at telling us about the stuff we’re missing, and of convincing us that we’re making a mistake by missing out.
One way to differentiate yourself as a content creator will never go away, which is the timeless combination of quality + luck. If you make something that is just that much better than everyone else, and/or you happen to get noticed somehow, then that content will do well.
This isn’t likely to change any time in the near future.
But there’s another way to create good content that isn’t nearly as hard as writing What ISIS Really Wants, which was an epic piece from 2015.
Another way is to become a service that parses tons of content and distills it to the best of the best, and then presents it in an extremely clean and compelling way.
This is curation. Curation as a service.
It works for news, music, art, recipes—whatever people are both interested in and overwhelmed by.
Here’s a great example of a show that does it:
It has a few qualities that make it twinkle:
- It’s extremely short
- It’s very well produced
- The graphics magnify the story manyfold
- It’s quirky enough to be interesting
This is the type of combination that will win in coming years (until AI can do these things for us). These services win because the consumer of these services trust that if it were important enough, it’d be mentioned by their curator.
That receives the stress imparted by peak content, and allows the user to continue on with life.