The Content Challenge

How to become friends (and not foe) with your content

Content is 👑 king” is a phrase that’s frequently tossed around in the world of marketing. But when it comes to our daily lives, the opposite can feel true. In fact, content can often feel like a scourge…drawing our attention away from living in the moment, cluttering our inboxes and desktops and minds, and leaving us without a sense of completion thanks to the infinite news scroll.

Content is everywhere and we interact with it almost all day, every day – whether that’s creating it or consuming it (or both).

Let’s count a few ways this happens:

Content creation

  • Posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms

  • Making documents, presentations and spreadsheets

  • Writing emails and messages

  • Jotting down lists and notes (whether on paper or in an app)

  • Taking pictures and recording messages

  • Creating designs, drawings and artifacts

Content consumption

  • Scrolling through social media posts and news stories

  • Looking at documents, presentations and spreadsheets

  • Reading emails and messages

  • Viewing images and videos

  • Reading articles, information and advertisements

…And much more.

At a 🌍 global level, the content game looks like this:

  • 500 million tweets are sent each day

  • 294 billion emails are sent each day

  • 4 petabytes of data are created on Facebook each day

  • 65 billion messages are sent on WhatsApp each day

Whether we’re creating or consuming content, it’s hard to keep it all organized, tracked and findable. How many times have you come across valuable information on a website or in an article and then, weeks later, when something triggered a thought, regretted you didn’t save or track it?😫 Conversely, how many times have you looked at your desktop and shuddered at the sight of all your unfiled documents?😳

Content is ubiquitous, cluttering our digital workspaces and brains…yet it’s also very hard to track down when we need it. Therein lies the conundrum.

All this to say, we’re at high risk of becoming foe (rather than friends) with our content.

Here are some ways I’m trying to make peace with my content:

  • I’m selective about what I consume. With limited hours in the day, I’m serious about not wasting away my time with mindless content scrolling through social media posts. I have a shortlist of places where I like to discover and consume content, places where I know it’s high value and investigative (sometimes that means paying to get behind a paywall).

  • I’m strategic about what I create. That means thinking carefully about the best format to create content in. Sometimes jotting down ideas for a meeting in notes or an email is far more efficient and impactful than creating a full-fledged deck to present my thoughts. Sometimes getting back to basics and stripping away notions of how things “should be created” results in the best outcomes.

  • I use systems that work for me. One size definitely does not fit all. Sadly, too many software programs and apps assume it does. That’s a big reason why I was inspired to create Charli, which employs AI/ML to understand context and place value on the preferences and behaviours of the user. I’ve created systems that fit me (which will be different for you), and it’s exciting to see Charli learning and augmenting those systems.

With billions of pieces of content being created every day, our challenge to harness it is only increasing. 💣 What are some ways you’re fighting back against content overwhelm?

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