I was listening to a podcast today were James Altucher (on The James Altucher Show) was interviewing Maria Popova (Brain Pickings). A major point that stuck out for me was how they discussed content vs substance. It struck a chord with me because I’ve been trying to put into terms what I want to create: things of substance.
“Content” has become such an overused internet marketing, native advertising, insert-buzzword-here term that essentially is a tactic-based way to grab your attention. You see this everyday in listicles on Buzzfeed or in your endless Facebook feed where everyone posts Buzzfeed lists. Listicles work so well because they succinctly curate ideas or themes that people can relate to. Top lists headlines attract our curiosity to things like “Top 5 Things All College Dropouts Have In Common” (I’m sure thats an article somewhere) because instinctually we want to check if what we think of is on that list. People want to relate to each other. So the majority of content feeds this curiosity, it meets the desire to consume more information, and commonly distracts from one’s currently boring circumstances (escape is a big one). An unending rabbit hole time-suck is at your fingertips.
Content is king as they say.
Then there’s substance. Substance, or substantive writing and production, is media based more on helping others, or helping yourself and thereby potentially helping others in similar circumstances. It usually requires much more vulnerability. Creations of substance can be derived from personal struggles and stories. We love stories. Stories can time travel and live longer than us, longer than our bloodlines. Great stories have substance.
Creating something of substance provides you with such a unique ability to connect with others in a way that sharpens them and lasts beyond the moment. It lingers longer in your mind. Substance can be timeless.
I hope to create more things of substance.