My little struggle with editing text directly in Wordpress has highlighted a distaste for the term ‘content’, as in ‘content block’, and ‘content provider’. Others have also questioned this terminology. Is all this effort really just content?

But what other collective noun is there? Online platforms are in the container industry. They provide containers for other peoples' stuff. YouTube , TikTok, Instagram, Wordpress, Substack, Spotify, Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, The New York Times. They’re all containers. And what do you call the contents of a container, if not ‘content’?

The rise of neoliberal economic ideology turned everyone into a ‘customer’. It eroded all other forms and structures of personhood. It became hard to argue that you were more that just a customer, because the extra something had already been devalued.

Now, the ideology of the container economy is turning everyone into content creators, with a similar flattening impact.

So what’s the creative alternative?