After spending time perusing my friends postings on Facebook and Twitter, it has occurred to me that people are always engaging in one of three basic activities:
- Consuming content which other people have created (Consuming)
- Commenting on or redistributing content which other people have created (Trading), or
- Creating your own content (Creating).
The vast majority of people, I think, are simply Consumers: they view the content created by others and react merely in their own minds. This is the most passive level of participation on the media spectrum and is the equivalent of reading the newspaper or watching TV, which is simply the act of letting other people’s creations wash over you. “Click here to play.”
A smaller subset of people will publicly voice a judgement about someone else’s content by, for example, “liking” something that someone has posted. This liking or “thumbs up” symbol, as we know it, might be considered an extremely mild form of content in and of itself, because one is at least going public with a position.
On a slightly higher plane of media participation is the act of forwarding other people’s content, or trading it as I call it. By forwarding someone else’s content, sometimes attaching a light comment of your own, you are calling attention to what someone else has created with the goal of aligning yourself with this content as if to say that you yourself would have liked to have created it, even though you didn’t.
The highest plan of existence on the media spectrum is occupied by those who actually create original content. Perhaps they write an essay on Medium (such as this one), perform a song on Youtube, or express an idea or opinion on Twitter. It is important to note that the subjective quality or cosmic originality of the content is not the main issue. For example, you might regard this essay as boring, trivial or possibly even horrific. You might even say these these ideas are not truly original and that someone else has already expressed them before me. But you cannot deny that my writing an essay is, at the very least, an act of creation, as contrasted with either an act of consumption or an act of trading.
When I heard about Medium.com, the website I am posting this essay on, I was immediately intrigued by the proposition of consciously creating my own content, instead of merely consuming or trading other people’s content. Would anyone be interested in what I have to say? Do I possess the skill to express ideas in a way which other people find engaging and compelling?
At the time of this writing, 442 people have clicked on my essays and 276 have read them to the end (62%). Six people have recommended them.
I have no idea if this result is good, bad or somewhere in the middle. All I know is that I’m creating my own content instead of merely regurgitating the content created by others.
I’m generating my own (hopefully original) ideas, organizing my thoughts, outlining how I wish to communicate them, then looking for just the right words to express them. I’m baking my own cake instead of eating someone elses.
Thank you for reading this essay to the end, thereby boosting my statistics, and helping to make my publishing dreams a reality. Now go out and do the same for yourself.
PS: If you liked this essay, feel free to recommend it and forward it to your friends. Thank you very much.