Saturday, August 25, 2007

Content and communications (2)

Many of the content oriented websites copied the press release of OPA, stating that content was on the way up. They had no comment on the research. Techdirt, however, started off a discussion on contents and communications.

Yesterday I pointed out that the stats of OPA are slanted (Techhdirt also does). It counts Personals/Dating in the content category. Besides it ignores pornography as well as edu and .gov domains. But any categorisation will be a problem. Jupiter Research has tried the categories: General news and archives, Audio/video entertainment, Adult entertainment, Financial and business news, Other content (e.g. horoscope, sports, health, kids), Digital music, Online games. This categorisation does cover the content activities on the web better.

But the problem remains and it is incubated in the conception of internet. Internet in the forst place is a communication service. It is not a carrier like paper, radio or television. But it is a multi-aspect service: content, communication. commerce and searching. The problem is most poignantly with YouTube. Are the videos content or are they communication? Or is the question wrong? A movie can be presented in order to tell a story. But the movie can also contain a message. And social networks contain content about the participants, but the main intention is to communicate with others. The social networks may be aiming at social contacts, dates or professional contacts.

Perhaps the whole discussion about contents and communications is not proper. The discussion should perhaps move from content to e-content. Content has to be delivered by some kind of medium. Traditionally it has been delivered by the human body and later on by teachnology in print products such as newspapers, magazines and books. For radio, television and movie technological devices have to be used for the production and reception. E-Content in the broad sense can be understood as electronic content, online such as internet and offline such as CD-ROM and DVD. I rather use for this phenomenon the term digital content. E-content in the strict sense needs a qualitative differentiation.

In the book E-Content in Europe E-Content is defined as: "E-Content is digital information delivered over network-based electronic devices, i.e. symbols that can be utilised and interpreted by human actors during communication processes, which allow them to share visions and influence each other’s knowledge, attitudes or behaviour. E-Content allows for user involvement and may change dynamically according to the user’s behaviour".
It is a subcategory both of digital and electronic content, marked by the involvement of a network, which leads to a constant renewal of content (contrary to the fixed set of content stored on a carrier such as a CD-ROM, or the content broad-cast via TV and Radio). This constant renewal of content in tie with its dynamic change allows for a qualitative difference, thus making it E-Content.

Using the present definition, OPA could sharpen the content category to e-content and see it as digital information, delivered over networked-based electronic devices with user involvement. Digital content with user involvement is different from e-communication. The difference does not lie in the network-based devices such as e-mail, messengers or Skype. But e-content must have a base in storytelling and e-communication in the mutual contact.

Blog Posting Number: 848


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