Content vs. Writing- More similar than first appearances?

Lisa Dush’s article titled ‘When writing becomes content,’ is intended to bring the reader up to date with many of the ways writing as a profession has changed, for better and worse, with the new developments on the internet and social media. She lays out the differences between traditional and content writing using the individual words as metaphors, as well as splitting them into two different classes with differing procedures around creation. This leads to her description of how “writing becomes content,” which is a key point in her argument. This idea of writing becoming content is a necessary one to her argument that more is done in academic settings to teach students about the nature of content writing, as it may well become essential to their work in the coming years according to her argument.

How does content writing differ from traditional, past just the medium?

Dush’s idea of incorporating more modern mediums of writing into degrees focused on finding writing careers should be a no brainer, and fortunately it seems that is the direction education in these areas is trending. That was one of the strongest pleas made through the paper- the need for teaching these skills is apparent, but an interesting point Dush makes is where she states, “content and content practices are likely already being taught in our courses, although not named as such,” which is strikingly similar to another article from Brandon Busteed titled “could the liberal arts (better named) revolutionize corporate education.” In this paper, Busteed argues for the need of a rebranding of liberal art education to make it more appealing to those searching for new careers. Much of what is mentioned in the article is also present in Dush’s article, especially centered around ideas of rebranding and education. I would argue this rebranded education focuses more on adaptability and other life skills along with traditional focus on writing, much like what can be found in an article written by Bri Stauffer titled ‘What are 21st century skills,” where the focus is shifted entirely to learning broad skills employers are searching for, rather than knowing how to already perform one specific task. This idea of adaptability lends itself well to content due to its broad and constantly changing structure. Should one new social media format crop up, suddenly a content writer needs to understand how to adjust for such a change.

Dush does an excellent job of pushing this idea through her way of relating content and writing, and maybe the strongest way in which she relates them is through her breakdown of content into the last of her four categories, commodified. Her point on commodification of content is important to relating both traditional and content writing because she states, “commodification always happens to texts in circulation,” while later arguing as well that there is a worry at some point it will develop into writers not being paid for that lone skill at all. The only discrepancy to be found there is that if commodification and exploitation were argued as always being present, it is less of a new revelation to see it rear its head again through the cover of a new medium, however this does not make it any less worrisome to see. The notion is present from the start of the paper and is the thing which begins all of conflict with need for a response- the ever-looming presence of invitations to “write online articles without pay,” which brings up an important lesson to teach in any of these classes designed for content writing. The people who learn these skills are still writers and deserve to be paid as such- no matter the medium for which they produce.

Overall, Dush’s article does an excellent job with a simple for it to succeed. She lays out a problem and defines it, that being The newly merging content and writing fields and their associated metaphors, then tackles exactly what needs to be done to solve it. Her solution is not one of returning to ‘the good ol’ days,’ but instead provides actual sources of adaptation to this new technology which is not going away. This is important, because a huge flaw in many proposed works of theory is laying out only the idea and not the implementation. Just stating that content writing is flawed and leaving it does not function as well as a paper because it does nothing to confront the issue you have just recognized, and Dush avoids that trap through the simple suggestion of adjusting what we already know. If content and writing are merging, then theoretically, writers already know half of what these new jobs would contain and can accordingly adjust our systems of education to better prepare others. What is interesting about this preparation is that it will frequently affect people who have never lived without the internet, which creates an open door for those younger students to take the ideas presented and adjust them for their understanding of the internet space, or even the specific areas which they frequent online. The ideas present in the paper are interesting and exploratory in the way she finds solutions, and leaves the door open for more solutions to be found still.