Confounding Web Content

I haven’t missed a month of posting for a long while now, so before September closes I need to come out of my copy daze and write something. It started out harmlessly enough, a long vacation at the beach, good intentions to whip off some fresh posts. Didn’t happen. Vacation happened, but I really unplugged…except for a little Facebook, I was purposefully, willfully, and with wild abandon NOT lashed to my laptop.

That’s an excuse, too. I’ve been back in reality for 2 weeks now. I’m up to my eyeballs in web copy and content, suffice it to say. I should have great balls of fire to write about…from my vantage point. Truth: I’m disoriented as hell. My web vantage point has gone topsy-turvy. Last year at this time I was still dragging myself along writing for internet marketing clients — a deep maw of business man pushing a huge boulder up on his shouldercontent and copy issues if there ever was one. This year I’m up to my hoo-ha in content and copy for mega-corporate clients–companies with brand spanking new content management systems being rolled out, teams of developers on call, consultants of every stripe buzzing in and out–wireframes, stakeholders, team meetings. Here it’s called “structured content,” “managed content,” “content development,” and “content strategy.” Sounds very organized, doesn’t it? Clear-cut. As if there’s a well-defined multi-purpose pathway through the glade. LOL.

Last week a colleague lamented that there was nothing messier than content implementation. “Implementation,” I thought. Quite a word. Sounds like hard work, sweat, forming steel.  It’s nothing like launching a fleet of paper airplanes. Content “implementation” is like rolling 2-ton boulders into place, wherever “place” is because no one really has a grasp on that.

That’s the confounding part of web content– implementing it, using it, FORGING it. Who exactly, in any organization large or small, IS marking the landing place for final content? What defines “final”? How will it be designed and used today, tomorrow, or next year? And who will be custodian? When it’s run it’s course, whenever that may be, how will it be changed, modified, edited, renovated?

Those wicked problems are not the exclusive domain of big corporate web copy, either. Is it a trickle-up problem or are the perplexities trickling down? Tip of the iceberg, it is.

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