At The Root of It All: Neither Squares, nor Rocks, nor Pointed Sticks.

Posted on May 24, 2011


It is often said that content is king. You should also note that it’s content creators who most often make this claim.

In a world with so much content, in a world with so much high-quality content, in a world where people can easily connect to whatever content they deem high-quality, it is difficult for me to accept the claim, “content is king.”

There is, for example, a reason why a monarchy has only one king. In a land where everyone is king, there really is no monarch.

What then might be king?

My theory is this: what is king is the human tendency to attach to a person, place, or thing. Art, advertising, marketing, websites, dating, community engagement, or advocacy all succeed when a sense of attachment is created in some person or persons for some person, place, or thing.

And, yes, I agree, really great content seems sometimes to engender an attachment to itself, however, on closer examination, I think factors like “continued and repeated exposure”, “habit”,  and “peer pressure/affiliation” provide a more plausible explanation of how the attachment was created. In some cases, the attachment can be almost arbitrary: the right time, right place and — for reasons entirely beyond any particular person’s control — someone is ready to become attached.

A piece of undigested potato, perhaps.

Long before texts, shiny rocks and pointed sticks, the species survived and reproduced successfully because of our attachments to each other, particular places, and particular things. If you can figure out how to engender and nurture attachment in particular persons with predictable and measurable results, you are, perhaps, on your way to being king.

Posted in: Philosophy