Sporadic Content Development
I find the word “content” is similar to “regardless.” We know what it means, but we’re not sure if we are using it the right way. As content experts, we have access to data that shows us what people will end up talking about and what content they will undoubtedly consume.
However, a unique phenomenon seems to be at work with the state of content today. Without any references, I would like to call it Sporadic Content Trend. (I believe I have enough experience to make up terms like this.)
What is a sporadic content trend?
I learned the word from Cher Horowitz of Clueless fame. It means “occurring at irregular intervals or only in a few places; scattered or isolated.” With that said, I dubbed this phenomenon as such because content, regardless of the platform, seems to come out of nowhere. No warning. No strategy. No implementation. It just… happens.
Instead of working to develop new ideas and techniques, content creators are expected to jump on these trends so that we can keep up with the demand. More on that shortly.
Trends pass by as quickly as hay fever and nobody looks back – unless it becomes trendy to reminisce about it i.e. “throwback Tuesday” and “flashback Friday.”
Current trends hardly have any origin stories, except for the year it happened. Even the meme’s origin is now a meme as well. Regardless of how or why the information was developed, it is still content that translates into data that can be used for the good of society – or if you need to Google “how-to” videos.
How sporadic content shaped the state of media
The only historical marker we can identify that would explain the surge in sporadic content is the rise of YouTube. Crowdsourced content saw a huge boom in the early 2000s. There were no directors, brand managers, feasibility studies, sales experts – there were just people making videos of themselves.
The video was not the golden goose even at the time, but it did pave the way for other media to gain equal if not more amount of attention. Regular people started publishing works of photography, art, and literature. Some were generic – as evidenced by the millions of interpretations of The Starry Night – while others were… pretty cool like the DIY rangolis, storytime videos, video game Let’s Plays, and so much more.
The main point here is that each of these ideas was created just because people wanted to try them. Not all sporadic content becomes viral. But the ones that do pay off a lot, not just for the creator, but for the people who absorb their content.
Here are some examples of how content created by regular users defined content trends:
On Facebook Notes, when it was still cool, teenagers started posting Slam Book templates that allowed them to share something about themselves without anyone asking. And everyone enjoyed reading each other’s content.
In these Notes, there are questions like “Which movies shaped your childhood?” Today, we see articles titled 100 Movies that Shaped Your Childhood. The kids who passed these templates around didn’t make any money off of it, but I’d say they enjoyed it more than the overworked writers that publish these articles.
When we discovered that we could put our photos online, a lot of things happened. Some good, some bad, but most of it funny. Because of that, a few brilliant individuals decided to use their editing skills to make seemingly ordinary images funny by captioning them. These then involved into…
GIFs are images that seem to be moving but are actually continuous depictions of stop motion frames of videos. It’s likely that similar people who delivered memes also decided that moving pictures with captions would be just as fun and funny. Not only that, GIFs seemed to have become a strange form of communication nowadays as well.
I’ll end this list with this last item as it has become one of the most popular forms of content today. There are millions of vloggers or video bloggers and thousands of topics that they cover. The most popular ones are either gossip vlogs or entertaining/funny vlogs. Below that are How-to videos, live streams, short highlights, and so much more.
There is so much content out there that it would take hundreds of years for us to finish consuming everything that has been published as of this second of writing this phrase. And there will be more sporadic content to come. The question now is: As content marketers, how will we proceed?