Content vs. Technology

ANDY MONFRIED poses some interesting questions in The Tradeoff of Advanced Technology, vs. Content. While watching what he considered to be a prize DVD of a live Rolling Stones concert from 1975; his wife commented how lackluster the recording was. Andy’s perception was based on the value of the content itself – a goldmine…a treasure-trove! His wife’s perception was based on the technical quality of the broadcast. Andy asks if old-but-substantive content is under threat as a result of our new definition of quality, based on technological measuring sticks.

Here’s what I posted on Andy’s blog:

I SUPPOSE THAT CONTENT is degraded with every re-formatting shift. I’m sure that those who witnessed that Stones concert live in 1975 would argue that the DVD that you procured doesn’t do the show justice. Technology might improve the technical quality of a poorly recorded sound/image, but it brings it further and further away from the original each time. That’s why I would prefer a bootleg original of a Grateful Dead show than a re-mastered copy.

I don’t fear that we will actually lose much content though. As several commenters have suggested, old content is regularly lifted onto new platforms. The entire Bible was recently re-formatted into SMS text messaging format in Australia. But surely, with each reformat, some of the nuances are lost. Not different from a game of Chinese whispers – things normally get lost in translation – and that is true even when translating content into various technological platforms.

CONTENT is certainly KING.

That said, there have been times when I changed radio stations while listenting to a great song because the reception was bad – choosing to listen to a song I didn’t like as much more clearly. Perhaps, like most things in life, a balance is needed.

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