Medios, Redes, Vida y Sociedad (Starting April 14th some articles will be written in English)

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Stupidity and fun. Demons of content creation?

If our content is not funny (which for some is equal to boring) we have to accept that in some way is going to be left behind.


In a video interview included as part of a Content Strategy course, Mrs. Janice Castro, teacher with Northwestern University,  was explaining about the voice and tone in writing, she mentioned the importance of tuning in with the audience, as when a close friend calls you by phone and you recognize his or her voice. I am sure that she meant that our voice has to be familiar for each recipient, like it was his or her own voice.

Then she said something that shocked me: that content should be funny, to be engaging.

Fortunately, a few seconds later Mrs. Castro also gave us other adjectives for content: interesting and valuable.

Then, I breathed well. But, for one moment, I saw one more time that there is a natural tendency in people (common, professional, educated… any type of people) to believe that things have to be funny in order to be worthy: even content.

People say “the class is boring”, “this job is boring after a few hours”, “reading is boring”. Is this something that can lead us to cultivate better societies?

Even in the best families

Beyond cultures, nationalities, backgrounds and ages, funny things are sadly always ahead in the preferences of numerous segments of population. Despite that massive communication has changed to become segmented and aggregated communications (as Rachel Davis Mersey, also from Northwestern University, says); speaking in numbers, more people wants to be entertained before anything else; but certainly, and worryingly, this is more acute between youth.

Let’s be honest: speaking of attraction, the funnier is stronger even when is very close to stupidity (irrational acts of bravery, derision upon people’s tragedies and more) We just need to look at the statistics (page views, played videos, shared memes, commented threads and social posts) to measure some kind of audience engagement.

Therefore, the question can be: Is there a way (honestly speaking) to create engaging content for those segments of the masses that are captivated for fun, without using fun?

Fun and contentI am convinced that not everything has to be fun and there are more engaging experiences to produce in the recipients (sadness, tenderness, fear, inspiration and many more).

To be or not to be strategic?

However, funny contents (even those ranging in stupidity) created with no strategic at all, are most of the time ahead, has advantage over other content and remains on the top of the public choices.

If our content is not funny (which for some is equal to boring) we have to accept that in some way is going to be left behind. No matter what strategy we used: investing any resource for creating content putting fun on the back row, is a decision that we’ll have to face and a cost that we’ll have to assume.


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Content strategy: What our audience wants vs. what our audience needs.

Professor John Lavine, with Northwestern University, IL, says “did you know that the more content you give people that they want, the more time they will spend on content that matters to you?”. Also, he says that “It-‘s Not Smart if It-‘s Not Strategic”

I think, there is a dilemma in here. Let’s think about a social issue among youth within a community: pregnancy in adolescents. If our goal is to reach that audience in order to provide them with information to prevent this issue, this give us an idea of which is the kind of content that this audience require.

By the other hand, what they want (and therefore, what is going to help us to engage  them) is, for instance, things about pop stars, fashion or music.

And, by the way, maybe that music through videoclips, has been actually one of the triggers of the sexual-centered behavior that lead young people to unexpected pregnancy.

Let’s remember: in this scenario the goal is to reach those who don’t want to be preachify (?) or taught, and not necesarily those who already realized that they are now in a big deal and there is not way back.

So, how do you guys think we could deal with this paradox? The example is very specific and certainly, there must be a lot of alternative content to deliver to this audience, but I believe that sometimes, is going to be very difficult to find a wide range of answers.

A. de la Cruz, who is studying a course from Northwestern University, wrote something I want to use to finish this post:

“Content can be somewhat daunting for marketers. I believe that good strategic content lies not only the data of the content performance but also psychological behaviors of the audience.

We can only assume what the audience need or want, however through studying psychological behaviors we can safely create a valuable strategy.

Want Vs. Need, there shouldn’t be a choice between them, rather there should be a cohesion of the both in terms of strategy. Identifying the need and presenting it in what the audience wants may prove to be a good strategy.”