If I were to define content through a formula, the technopower would look something like this (and thanks to Joe Gollner for his help in articulating this):
Why I say that is because of a concept borrowed from the financial industry called asset amplification. In the context of financial markets, asset amplification describes how changes of wealth in financial markets causes amplification because of follow-on consequences. (Thanks to the Journal of Financial Economics article by Wei Xiong explaining how this works.) Similarly, the power of copy can be amplified if it is placed into a robust technology framework. Once copy is placed inside of a framework, it becomes the content of that framework. Like coffee is the “content” of a cup, copy is the content within a technology framework. And like a super-hero with the appropriate gear, copy, with the appropriate framework, gets super-powers, too.
The super-power of content is the potential for follow-on consequences of copy because of the underlying technopower is what turns copy into content. Thinking back a few years, communications coordinators who organized events would type out the event details: event name, start and time, place, cost, and so on, and then spend hours copying and pasting the event into sites that would allow them to paste it into a provided text box or, even more time-consuming, complete a set of form fields that the coordinators had to fill out individually. Today, we use content feeds which allow events to be amplified with no manual intervention. This is done through the technopower of the underlying technology framework.
As we get away from brochureware to robust interactivity, the need for rich semantic content grows. Again, copy, multiplied by technopower, makes content which can be processed by other systems. The event example was a simple one, but there are increasing levels of complexity, from “simple” publishing to the kind of interactivity and outputs that allow for successive complex transformations of content. We are all familiar with how content gets syndicated, but what may be a surprise is how much content is manipulated and transformed within a system. Each transformation provides the potential for additional amplification, and eventually provides a much richer user experience for the content consumer.
In the end, content may be nothing without copy; however, in a post-paper world, copy is nothing without content.
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- To DITA or not to DITA: That’s a Good Question – Part 1
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