Content is catalyst

Listening to the old internet dail-up sound┬ádefinitely takes me back to a time, not so long ago (10 years?) where I had to ask my parents every time if I could go on the internet. The computer would use the telephone line, so we couldn’t receive any phonecalls (and to be honest, I for one always enjoyed that silence). But it limited my first internet experiences to 15 minutes, max. Any longer and somebody downstairs would yell ‘Get off the internet, I’m expecting a phonecall’.

There was no Facebook, Twitter and we never heard of Google, or maybe just. In 1999, MSN Messenger was launched. Until then, I didn’t even had an e-mail address.

For me, MSN Messenger changed something. It was the first time I was communicating with others over the internet. Mainly classmates from elementary school, who where so lucky to have a computer as well. The conversations had no content, but because it was all so new, it made it worthwhile.

The chats where simple, and we where saying the obvious against each other. “Hey are you online too?, Woa, that’s cool, I’ll see you tomorrow at school, bye!”

Do you remember your first e-mail? I do, and I certainly did not say much other then ‘This is so cool I’m sending my first e-mail to you’. I can’t really call that content. It was the action that made it worthwhile, not the content.

Times have changed, yes. But in July, 2011, Facebook launched, together with Skype, their video-chat function. Now, video-chat is nothing new. MySpace had video-chat in 2004, but it was no big success. I just think it’s absurd they’ve launched it before voice-chat. Apart from the quality of webcams (I don’t know a whole lot of people who look fashionable on a smudgy space of pixels), I have a feeling video-chats are mostly without content as well (as for the video part I mean). We wave at each other, but the rest of the communication is like a phonecall.

Videochats are often advertised in a happy phony family situation. Grandpa who smiles with his grandson. A dad working abroad waving a stuffed animal at his mother and kid. Oh joy. I’m sure, in accordance to Murphey’s law, these things do happen the way as they’re portrayed, but I think most users don’t use it that way.

Content is essential, otherwise a conversation becomes entertainment. I do not believe in the notion that content is king however. A lot of website have great content, but the question is; how are people going to find it?