“Content” fills spaces. “Content” takes the shape of its container. “Content” groups things that have little to do with one another; “content” conflates things that are fundamentally opposed to each other. “Content” is the kind of word you use to tell convenient lies. “Content” sounds most at home next to “marketing,” which is another way of saying that “content” is pejorative.
Nobody actually loves “content” except people who understand it as a means to a boring end. So: As a dozen adjacent industries inevitably grow and shrink and merge and disappear into one, I predict that maybe — hopefully? — we will arrive at a shared realization: We never should have given in to that terrible word.
This will be followed immediately by another realization, which will not help: That it probably wouldn’t have changed a thing.
John Herrman is coeditor of The Awl.