The content density of a cultural producer

An interesting snippet on pg 164 of Jonathan Taplin’s Move Fast and Break Thingssuggests a metric of content density which could be extremely interesting to explore:

Digiday looked at the race for what some are calling peak content. What it found was that in 2010 the New York Times, with 1,100 people employed in the newsroom, created 350 pieces of original content per day and attracted 17.4 million page views per day. By contrast, the Huffington Post, with 532 people employed, posted 1,200 pieces of content per day (most of it created by third-party sites) and 400 blog entries (mostly unpaid), receiving 43.4 million page views per day. One can understand why the future of original journalism is threatened.

This quantitative metric raises questions which invite qualitative analysis e.g. to what extent does an increase in content density (less staff producing more content) correlate with content being shorter, derivative and shallow? Are there cultural producers where this isn’t the case? What are the conditions which counteract this seemingly inevitable consequence of asking people to produce more with less?


Categories: Digital Sociology

2 replies »

  1. These figures are very interesting. As with music, poetry and fiction, content has never been easier to publish widely at such low cost. The obvious inference here is that from the consumer/reader/listener/researcher/student position….the content is overwhelming and the human capacity for time consuming quiet, critical and thoughtful reflection on material has not, will not, keep pace. I am mindful for example just how long it can take to really get one’s mind around the classic writers….take the work of C Wright Mills just as an example. Will the current contemporary content flooding by digital content crowd out a careful slow reading of the ‘good stuff’ and how will we know what the current good stuff is (a potential tall poppy) if it has to compete with a other poppies, not just in a small field in which it can easily be seen, but in a prairie of poppies in which it is easily overlooked? There are gatekeepers still directing one’s attention, but are we still faced with too much stuff?

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