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The Evolution Of Content

While humans have evolved over time to get larger, content has predominantly evolved in the opposite direction. We’ve come a long way and we’re streamlining the most directly descriptive of the arts – writing.

The larger humans have grown, the more numerous our capabilities and activities have become, and the less time and patience we have. Most consumers now seek content which is compact and easily digested. From the beginning of time, words have been important to communicate – but to what lengths?

So many words, so much time

Yes, words have been around longer than we can imagine, but let’s start with when the Internet came into being, because that’s when the marketing and advertising boom came into play. The very first piece of content to appear on the internet was an e-book about…well, the internet! Published in 1993 by O’Reilly and Associates, this book was a guide to internet usage. Just five years later, in 1998, the first ever corporate blog was launched by Microsoft.

Blogs became the new craze with the launch of Blogger in 1999, and the writing was extensive, exhaustive, and potentially exhausting! In the 2000s, blogs and e-books really began to burst onto the scene. People were writing technical e-books about their businesses and products and giving away free advice for the consumption of tech-savvy voracious readers. Seth Godin published the most-downloaded e-book at the time, called Unleashing The Ideavirus, and with this came the mass recognition of long, detailed content.

Eliminating the excess, getting crisper

Soon after e-books and long blog articles peaked, they started fading into the background, retaining their usefulness but beginning to be overshadowed by shorter, to-the-point content. “How-to” articles and concise factual content, complete with salient points and witty headers, made their way into the spotlight around 2010. This was the same period that the appeal of social media was embraced by companies across the world.

Platforms like Yahoo Messenger and Orkut took the internet by storm. While Yahoo Messenger lived a long life, Orkut eventually faded into oblivion. Facebook, unlike the others, came onto the scene and conquered the world wide web. Social media websites such as these were so crowded with crisp content, that its crispness was lost – readers and marketers alike, were struggling to sift through and distinguish relevant from irrelevant.

Getting graphic has a way with words

Talking about relevant, between 2012 and 2015, the infographic stepped onto stage. With attractively designed content and easy-to-understand images to represent the same, this ensured that people understood more, in less time and with less effort. And so, started the snackable revolution. The platforms also changed, with Twitter in 2006 and Instagram in 2010 bringing to the fore the importance of super-short content, visual aids and of course, hashtags!

If you’re able to read the above hashtag without struggle, you’re officially a part of the snacking generation.

Content has lived a long and happy life and continues to be immortal. It contracts and expands over time, and even though the current norms seem to dictate that short content has better reach, it ultimately boils down to quality. Well crafted content, written with the right target audience in mind, will always win. And that’s the long and short if it!


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