I feel like the Knights of Ni sometimes. I get to hearing certain words, and they just make me crazy. It isn’t really the word itself that ticks me off, it is usually that it is used in a particularly inane (and usually increasingly popular fashion). This new rant is with the same word that I’ve bitched about before: conversation.
Over at boingboing, Cory Doctorow reported that Disney had apparently begun to consider piracy to be a serious competitor for their customers. The article he cites quotes Disney co-chair Anne Sweeney and her attempt to describe Disney’s approach in trying to exploit a market that could (at least potentially) be described as primarily the realm of pirates. Her primary point is that Disney is interested in creating content, because “content drives everything else”. It’s marketing-speak, but as marketing-speak goes, it’s not bad marketing-speak. The basic idea is that if Disney continues to create compelling interesting content, people will pay for it.
None of this really bugs me, but this is what Cory Doctorow had to say:
Content isn’t king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you’d choose your friends — if you chose the movies, we’d call you a sociopath. Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about.
I’m sure Cory thought that was clever, and indeed, it might be except for one simple, rather obvious fact:
Conversation requires two things: someone to talk to, and something to talk about. Of these two things, Disney can only manufacture one. Because it can’t manufacture the other, acting as if it is some particular failing for them not to provide it for you seems rather silly. Conversations aren’t (barring the possible exception of 976 phone sex lines) products. Acting as if it were the responsibility (or even the capability) of companies to supply them is just silly.
Addendum: If conversation is so important as Cory claims, then why does boingboing not allow comments?