Deep Thought of the Day: Jeff Jarvis Explores the Word 'Content'

"There is content everywhere. You just have to see it."

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Jeff Jarvis has a pretty impressive resume: the journalist/new media expert was the founding managing editor of Entertainment Weekly, authored What Would Google Do?, maintains a high-profile blog, and is an associate professor at the City University of New York's graduate school of journalism. He's undoubtedly smart and industrious. Today, though, he may have lost a few folks out there when he decided to go deep.

"What is content?" wonders Jarvis, set off by a debate over the iPad's limitations as a content-creating device. To answer his own question, he begins with the world he knows: "We in media," he says, "think we get to define what content is: It's what we make." But Jarvis rejects such a limited definition of the word "content"--understandably. "When we e-mail a link to a friend, that act creates content. When we comment on content, we create content." Jarvis continues in this vein for a while, listing a number of things humans do that create "content."

Then Jarvis offers some belated justification for this foray into the philosophical: "So when I complain about the iPad hampering our ability to create content, I mean that it makes it harder to share links and thoughts and images when I wish it had made it easier."

That sort of explains it, then. But as a parting shot, Jarvis tosses off this cryptic, dramatically punctuated morsel:

There is content everywhere. You just have to be able to see it. And respect it.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.