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Is Content the New Currency?

Think money is the main currency in business? Think again.

Is Content the New Currency?

Between the endless Euro drama and the Bitcoin brouhaha, currency has been much in the news of late. Most people would probably name the US Dollar as the dominant currency in this day and age. While that may be true in one sense, is today’s preeminent currency even still money? Does money allow for a brand to buy trust? Or is it one’s digital footprint? What about social media profiles or properties? Perhaps the dominant currency today is, as smartly noted by Hugh MacLeod, social objects—or as many of us all call it, social content.

The dominance of the web and the human behavior spawned from it as a result has turned social content into a new, increasingly important, currency. Think about it for a second: the web allows for informational exchange—transactions, if you will. In the past, these transactions took place when you went directly to a destination. However in 2013, most of us live in the here and now of the "feed"—our home for content discovery.

We are now entrenched fully in the era of the sharing economy. This sharing is on two fronts. One is the sharing of things or services courtesy of an array of technologies or facilities. The other front is the information packaged and presented as content: thought leadership, entertainment, utility, or whatever else allows us to begin and continue conversation among a group of people with whom wish to engage.

The era of "Like/Follow/Fan" is fading into twilight. Brands will continue to accumulate likes because bigger is always perceived as better, but social acquisition campaigns are doing business and customers a major disservice. Technology is breaking down barriers between brands and customers faster than when social first operated as engines for connection.

Sharing content helps us connect. Connection helps us engage. Engagement leads to a relationship. Relationships lead to friendship and possibly endearment. In the industrial economy, we congregated in front of the TV, read newspapers and magazines, gathered around the radio and saw signage that told what to believe. In the sharing economy, technology has allowed us to connect, engage, question, critique, criticize or concur. Humans are social animals, and we still need something to spur connection. Content acts as that stimulant. Content is our true currency.

Five Reasons Content Is the New Currency:

  1. Content has meaning beyond the data it contains. It can be shared and exchanged with others to acquire additional knowledge—much like a traditional currency.
  2. Financial transactions used to buy status. Now, content buys earned trust.
  3. In the sharing economy, bonds are formed through content and utilitarian exchange.
  4. Content creates equity much like stocks and bonds. The more subject matter expertise a brand brings to the table, the more business they can create. This expertise is displayed in the form of content.
  5. The definition of the term currency is anything that is used as a medium of exchange. Content acts as that catalyst because it brokers an exchange between people with similar interests and goals.

Geoffrey Colon is Vice President of Social@Ogilvy. Follow him on Twitter @djgeoffe

[Ben Franklin: Ilyashenko Oleksiy via Shutterstock]

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