The worst thing about 21st century internet culture? The fact that two generations of people have been conditioned to refer to everything they do as "content".

Are you a writer? An artist? A photographer? A film maker? A blogger? It no longer matters. You're a content creator and something something monetisation.

Seriously, I hope people stop referring to the things they create as "content". You're not just making generic stuff to fill up space on a website owned by people who don't care about it. Your work deserves more respect than that. You deserve more respect than that.

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Creative professions are deeply undervalued. Artists, writers, and all kinds of creatives are underpaid. People shamelessly steal their work and treat it like a disposable commodity. People act as if it just magically appeared one day and don't bother to credit whoever made it.

Ironically, people everywhere keep trying to use that same work to make money, without having done any of the work themselves.

Our society dismisses creators while voraciously consuming the things they create.

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@InvaderXan Why, when you create a hierarchy of labor based on money production and growth, something as wild, subjective and unstable as art can't be given a steady monteary value and therefore it can't be considered valuable >.>

@furkachi But it *is* considered valuable. So much so that many people consider even owning artwork to be a thing that only rich people do.

The problem is that, while the art itself is valued, the artists are not.

@InvaderXan @furkachi good point. People value the creation and not the creator, fight over who owns the creation and leave the creator out to starve. Again, a cultural shift is needed, to see the artist as the driving force behind the work, and appreciate their work, rather than commodifying the creation and valuing is for its resale price, which the artist never sees a penny of.

@WanderingBeekeeper @InvaderXan exactly; especially since while the result of the labor can be considered of extreme monetary value, the labor that creates the art is considered secondary (a "hobby labor", that is not worth monetization for its own sake, compared to more "professional labors", like management for instance).

Which, you know, is also made worse by the myth of the "sell out artist" that has reached enough monetary stability through their art that they *must* not be authentic

@furkachi @WanderingBeekeeper The whole "sell out" thing is problematic.

It should mean anyone who creates things in excessive amounts for the sole purpose of selling more so they can get money. Unfortunately, most people apparently take it to mean literally anyone who has managed to achieve any level of success.

@InvaderXan @furkachi Or creating a work, any work, for the sole purpose of generating revenue, rather than expressing an idea, or inspiring people, or other creative urge. I've hit that point: I'm currently writing porn because I believe it will sell, and I need the money. My ttrpg and research writing has generated so little income that my tax preparer has never counted it in my returns. Feedback from readers? Yeah right, I've gotten all of three comments on the cushaw article. LiberaPay = 0.

@WanderingBeekeeper @InvaderXan And to be honest, it should not be taken as a source of shame or error to sell out, in the sense that we're all forced to take part in unconsensual labor to survive in the very likely chance we can't completely align our wants and the economy. Especially that making art for purely monetary purposes doesn't make your personal art less authentic?

@furkachi @InvaderXan We are forced to live in a capitalist environment, yes, at least until we can burn it the fuck down. What it does is deprive me of time and energy to pursue my personal art. The lack of interest - art to me is a conversation between artist and audience - deprives me of motivation to create, leaving me to produce for the content/revenue stream based solely on what will sell, rather than pursuing an artistic vision and making something new and possibly inspiring.

@WanderingBeekeeper @InvaderXan Exactly; this does not make you a inherently bad person, it is only the result of being forced into a system that does not accept your creating art as valid labor

@furkachi @InvaderXan so how do you deal with this? I've taken up too much of this thread, sorry - let's shift focus. How do you create in this environment? How does the necessity for monetization impact what you create?

@InvaderXan @furkachi pardon me if I'm not entirely rational or well collected on this subject. I spent thirty years making art, and am now old and very very bitter about never finding an audience, while crappy writers who can churn out potboilers in a month enjoy financial success. Capitalist commodification of art and the lack of funds for art on the part of most of the population has left me with a body of work very few people will ever even see. I create for the conversation, not for me.

@WanderingBeekeeper @furkachi A perfectly understandable attitude. I'm quite certain you're not the only one.

@InvaderXan @furkachi oh definitely not. For every author or painter who finds their audience, there's a dozen who throw out their art in frustration at never being able to get a reaction of any kind with it. Eight years ago, I showed a hanging lantern I made to a coworker, and he asked, if you can do that, why are you working here, and I answered, because there's nobody out there willing to pay me for my labor. That lantern is in a box on the floor behind me.

@InvaderXan @furkachi The synthesis of these would be that art is less funded than trade schools (and results in the "starving artist" trope) because it's harder to serve as the middleman that takes all the credit (i.e. the boss) in such an unstable and inherently expressive and individual industry.

@InvaderXan @furkachi The few artists favored by the rich are the few that licked their boots enough to get there.

The majority of writers, painters, etc. are nowhere near that level because they're attempting self-employment in a system that only benefits the ones employing others.

@InvaderXan I completely agree that creatives are undervalued (often to the point of being compeltely unpaid while others profit).

I'm not sure where I stand on 'content' as a term. It's helpful to me sometimes to encompass all of the things I make, not all of which is fiction. I guess I can see however the way in which it homogenises in a bad way. I don't think there'd be any harm in me unlearning use of the term though, so that might be next steps for me.

@vicorva "Content" just feels like such a generic term, you know? With writing alone, it could mean a story which you spent a week carefully planning, writing, and editing, or it could mean this toot I'm typing right now. And then there's all the "content" which isn't writing. I just... ehh.

@InvaderXan @vicorva Do you have annalternative suggestion what to call "something to post on my website", when it could be image, fiction, or a blog post, which is shorter than "something to post on my website"? :)

@anke @vicorva You could just say what it is you're posting? Writing is writing. Photography is photography. Artwork is artwork...

@InvaderXan @vicorva I'm specifically looking for something unspecific XD

@Anke @InvaderXan I'm considering 'projects' and 'works' though I think I prefer 'projects'.

@vicorva @InvaderXan "Works" might work for me, but I use "projects" for things that are bigger. Like the whole animal alphabet, A-Z is a project, each one of them is a work.
Mostly the "content" question is about "I want to post *something* to my website once a week" kind of planning 🤷

@anke @vicorva TBQH, the words "content" and "something" carry the same amount of information in this context. The phrases "new weekly content" and "something new every week" are completely interchangeable here.

So the real question is, what exactly is that something?

@Anke @vicorva @InvaderXan to me, it's the mindset that led to the term that is the problem.
My view is extremely coloured by having worked close to webdesign.
But it's sort of the need to have an unspecific word that is the problem, and not the word itself.

When I think of these kinds of things, I tend to use terms like "creative outlet". That term, however, is not helpful if you're trying to push yourself into posting something on the interwebs regularly.
And that's more or less on purpose.

@panina @anke @vicorva True. It's web developer speak for "stuff that goes on web pages". But that's kinda my point. Alone, it's a meaningless word. Unless you're talking technically, you could replace "content" with "stuff" and it would mean the same thing.

"I create stuff."

"We post new stuff every Tuesday and Friday!"

"Social media is about creating consistent, good quality stuff."

You know?

@InvaderXan @panina @vicorva
Yeah, I can go with "stuff" 😆
(for context: The idea is to encourage myself to a) create stuff regularly and b) share what I create regularly, but c) withOUT locking myself into a schedule of "this number of that kind of content/stuff per month" that might block mr because I really want to create something else)

@Anke @InvaderXan @vicorva when I try to push myself, I split this in two.

1: I want to do something creative every day. Write, fix a gadget, sew something, take care of my kid's plant, whatever. Something creative.
2: I want to show stuff I've made to people. Find something I've done, and tell myself that it's good enough to show the world.

This approach, however, does not work with social media or blogs. It does not turn me an unpaid worker that improves someone else's network. And it does not earn me followers.
Which I like.

@vicorva @Anke @InvaderXan i just say "shit", in the most generic and agnostic sense in which that word is used

"stuff", if i need to be g-rated for whatever reason

next in line is "work(s)", but that might have unfortunate implications for some people

Although I agree with @InvaderXan that using the specific term is preferable, "work" should catch all of those without being degrading.
@Anke @InvaderXan @vicorva oops, I see you already mentioned that in later replies. Then, also taken from the link I posted in the other subthread, I suggest "publication"

@InvaderXan @vicorva When Mike Rugnetta started saying "yarr, content" in a pirate accent every time he had to say it, it made me realize just how weird it is. I agree, for me, it homogenizes unhelpfully.

@InvaderXan Imagine Beethoven or Davinci as "content creators"

@InvaderXan It might be a function of oversupply as well.

@jenalyze Possibly. Though I can guarantee that virtually every graphic designer or freelance artist out there has had someone try and convince them to either work for free or to give away their work for an absurdly low price. I'm including myself in this.

There's plenty of demand for skilled artists. There aren't many people willing to actually pay for their work though.

@InvaderXan here's another even more sinister thing: when large platforms refer to art published on them as "user-generated content".

And then proceed to argue that it does not require the same level of "copyright protection" as whatever crap Disney or Netflix came up with this month.

Screw them with a cactus. This is art. It deserves respect and admiration, even more so than corporate-made crap chewed and spat out by a thousand focus groups to target whatever demographic they want to milk.

@InvaderXan to be clear, I believe copyright needs to be reformed and dramatically limited, since it's getting in the way of culture and communication.

But point is: whatever anybody's take on copyright is, they don't get to arbitrarily decide that some kinds of art are more worthy than others and thus strip up-and-coming artists that have not yet signed with a major corporate overlord of their rights.

@rysiek @InvaderXan
I agree with your point, and just want to say that I love the idea of screwing someone with a cactus. Such a good visual.


Also good luck getting even friends & family to regard your work as legit and worth 2 mins. of their time if you refuse to get on every fucking Big Box platform there is to hype it 24/7.



I mean, if a space isn't crafted with an artists hand (or filled with art) that space isn't a healthy space.

Can't get much more valuable than that.

@InvaderXan I've begun unlearning calling it content. but yeah..

@InvaderXan I think this is more based in the fact that the internet has enabled unbridled consumption without the need for creating at all. Even the responses are canned.

In a way, it is sort of like an employee and a business owner. Some people fall completely into the employee category. But a business owner can sell trinkets online or run a fortune 500.

@InvaderXan asking for that respect however will often cost you your audience, and then you find out the value they actually attach to your work, which is zero. As @furkachi said, art can't be considered valuable under capitalism, while a content steam is a steady producer of revenue. Until our culture changes how it appreciates art and compensates artists for their efforts, art will continue to be seen by the market as one off efforts rather than a body of work.

Also, the use of the word 'consumer' to refer to normal people is demeaning and insulting. Eaters. It's a capitalist term for little mobile 'profit centers'. People. citizens. comañeros, colleagues... not 'human resources' like a lump of coal!

@gemlog @InvaderXan @vfrmedia @onepict I'm doing a localization of an educational webapp right now that give the users points for "consuming content". It's the most horrible description I've seen of learning in a very long time. Like we're back in the 20s, learning children Latin because it's good to break their spirits...


I let a subscription to Consumer Reports lapse because of this very thing. Maybe I shouldn't get into it now, but so many things that disappoints me about them maybe I shouldn't get into it all in this thread, which I think is great.

(I, too, like variants and combinations of "work" myself instead of the insipid term in question here so just throwing that out there.)

@InvaderXan @vfrmedia @onepict

@InvaderXan While I generally agree, I also don't want to spend my time arguing over the terminology people use. I care whether they agree with my ideas, not my terms.

Also I heard from someone who wanted a generic term and didn't buy this connotation. Personally I'll use "creative work".

@InvaderXan "content" feels to me like filling between the ads and trackers


I think there is a cultural value of not just doing creative work but doing a lot of it regularly even if the quality isn't there for all of it. I think the approach is not without merits but does seem to encourage seeing it all as content farming.

@zzz The problem is that while the cultural value is apparent, the fact that these things take time and effort to do well is not. Quality should be seen as better than quantity.


There is definitely a subculture of people that think you produce high-quality work by producing large amounts of work. They reference Picasso having produced over 100,000 pieces of artwork over his lifetime along with things like "real artists ship".

I think the truth is somewhere in the middle where to get good at something you have to do it a lot, but that doesn't imply a lot of completed pieces.


It's like how 'populating' a site is shorthand for 'get the fucking shovel out'.

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