There is an important difference between information and content. Content is contained within something larger than itself. Information can be content, but it does not necessarily have to be contained within a content container. It can stand alone. If a guy walks up to you on the street and throws up on you, he is giving you information. If someone films the event and posts it online, it has become content.

On social media, such as Facebook, we are posting our lives as content. We are giving away that content to a content container that is using our freely given content as a placeholder for highly directed content in the form of thinly and not-so-thinly veiled advertising, and to homogenize the various pseudo-consensuses that exist in any given society, but I digress.

When our lives become content, and reality is filtered to us as content via an ever-normalized newsfeed, what does that do to us?

I don’t know, really, but I’m calling the investigation Content And Its Discontents, because it’s a catchy title and one should never look a Freudian gift horse in the mouth. All kinds of nasty stuff could turn up, and no one wants that.

3 things to consider:

1. It is important not to jump to the conclusion that because the homogenizing force of the prominent social media platforms is pretty much a ‘bad thing,’ then the concept of living life as content is necessarily bad. It’s not necessarily so.

2. Think about the different meanings of the words ‘information’ and ‘content.’ Look up their etymologies and think about them conceptually; pay attention to how and when these words are being used around you.

3. Read the essay “Postscripts On The Societies Of Control” by Gilles Deleuze and think about how some of the ideas could apply to our discussion here.

Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze

Content And Its Discontents (A Philosophical Investigation)

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