Adding to the Online Noise – a Moral Debate?

tvs thrown in a heap

Is there too much content online? To many, it might seem like a silly question. Of course there’s too much content, many will argue (possibly with a dash of exasperation or rage).

Anecdotally, you’ll notice an endless proliferation of blogs, company sites, news sites, personal pages, tumblrs and more. And that’s not even getting into social media accounts. Indeed, a survey from 2012 estimates that 14,000 new websites emerge per year, and another puts the number of existing websites at roughly one billion.

With so much noise out there, so many words, so many opinions, it raises a moral question: Is it right to be adding to the noise?

Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker recently quit his column, partly, he says, because of the moral problem of adding to rising din.

“Every day, a billion instantly conjured words on any contemporaneous subject you can think of,” he says. “Events and noise, events and noise; everything was starting to resemble nothing but events and noise. Firing more words into the middle of all that began to strike me as futile and unnecessary. I started to view myself as yet another factory mindlessly pumping carbon dioxide into a toxic sky.”

Elsewhere, in Marketing Week, this article questions the point of content marketing: “The problem appears to be content marketers who, in a modern version of marketing myopia, seem to think that their reason for existence is to create content, rather than communicate with clients and sell stuff.”

And there’s the rub. While initially that article (and Brooker’s column) complained about the volume of content, they both ultimately bemoaned the quality of online content.

We would argue that it doesn’t matter how many pointless websites are out there, and even how much questionable marketing material there is. What matters is the quality of the work we put out.

The same argument applies across all mediums: It’s never a sin to make great TV, but it might be to add another reality TV show or infomercial to the mountain. Similarly, nobody complains that too many books exist, even if many of them are awful.

Good content is compelling to its reader, no matter the medium, and it’s always welcome, regardless of how much is already out there. And even though a content creator must answer to their client, they must also write something that people will want to read, either because it’s engaging or because it’s useful.

There is an ocean of online content and that watermark is rising, we agree. But we have no problem adding to it, if the content serves a purpose.

If you’d like to know more about what makes good content, drop us a mail or give us a call.


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