Star Wars Is God’s Gift to Content Farms
Inside the Star Wars content wars.
Star Wars arrived in theatres yesterday, creating a massive demand for internet content that reaffirms the movie as a cornerstone of global culture. When a 'phenomenon' occurs, content farms must provide the content that supplements the phenomenon and offers a meaningful buildup. This arc is present in entertainment, news, media, and mass niche internet culture, providing a bountiful harvest for every content farm. Every content farm can write a positive review, but is your farm willing to curate diversified content to fully satiate the reader's Star Wars content desires?
A blockbuster movie like "Star Wars pt 7" give us hope that there's something connecting all of us, with the magic of space, science fiction, the Force, and other stuff that might be important to people who don't want to read about ISIS. Instead, we can feel like 'the entire world is watching' and participating in 'something real.' Generations can connect with other generations over this cross-generational film franchise.
But Star Wars somehow united AND defeated content farms.
Star Wars and 'big box scifi film' content might be the perfect realm of content, some how making it 'okay' that all content farms are the same. It is based in a fictional world, thereby releasing it from the moral pressures of covering real life events. You can just be excited about everything Star Wars, and take it all in as fun. Plus, it falls into the geek content realm, which makes it way more shareable by geeks who think they are on the bleeding edge of science, indulging with sound, rational consumerism. Regular schlubs who want to participate in the demand pull of a consumer phenomenon just want to know that there is content that justifies their unexplained desire to be part of the initial rush.
If you've got a content farm, it's your job to create content that resonates with the widest possible audiences. Star Wars content is the perfect way to keep the clicks coming. Here are some of the great content types that we're seeing on today's internet:
Lines of people demonstrating the demand to see the film.
When people dress up to see Star Wars, they enable content farms to create content very easily. Local newspapers can publish photo slideshows of people waiting in line. It proves that the community is 'activated.' Young people are off the streets having a safe time, consuming something that teaches life lessons.
The world is always intrigued by people lining up for anything. If there was a line around the block, you would probably ask what people were waiting for. What could be worth waiting for? Should I be actively waiting for it? Maybe I should get in line. Wow. Some people are really into this, dressed in costumes while they wait in line. Don't they have a life? I've got real things to do. Say what you will about Star Wars, but at least people are having good, wholesome fun.
Spoilers, and light-hearted spoiler backlash content.
The internet is a place to acquire information. Content farms are profit seeking providers of information. This means that people who want in-depth information about the plotline of a popular phenomenon will likely turn to internet sources to find it. These are called 'spoilers.' Some 'trolls' ruin things for people and 'take to social media' to spoil things. Most content farms crusade against the unfair spoilage of blockbuster movies.
Spoiler content is there to preserve the common man's right to see Star Wars with an open heart, ready for a new experience. Since revealing the plot of a movie isn't exactly life-or-death, the entire content realm of 'spoiler coverage' is a 'fun' moral space. It's even fun to make sure you give a 'genuine' and 'relatable' spoiler warning to let your audience know that you take their right to see the blockbuster movie. But also, go ahead and spoil the movie because people do want to know what happens immediately.
HUGE Box office numbers
Publishing box office news offers no context of success to the casual fan, desperate for content about the 'latest phenomenon.' Millions, billions, trillions are all the same, because it's more than the middle class will make in their lifetime. So why do the 'box office predictor' posts still get published? It reaffirms that we are part of something massive by publishing massive numbers.
We all need to feel like we are connected to the global spectacle. The great content farm allows us to 'bring something more to the table' during a watercooler discussion. Bringing this type of 'big picture' industry knowledge can help you quantify the success of the film from a larger perspective. Box office numbers might not mean much, but like any other realm of statistics, you can make them mean as much as you want to.
"Breaking down the science" of Star Wars
Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye the Science guy have been innovative scientific content producers. They illustrate that self-identifying geek/nerd audiences want to flex their science muscles when they consume both the real world, and science fiction. When a revered science fiction film like Star Wars comes out, it is natural to question the science. That's OK. But you know what, it's also fiction. And that's OK. Some of this stuff could exist, and some of it couldn't. And that's OK. But as long as you feel both informed and excited about it while you keep clicking on my specific content farm's content--that's the most OK thing that you can do.
Social media reactions (sponsored and unsponsored)
When a Star Wars level meme happens, the demand-pull for content turns all of us into content creators. Your tweets, sponsored status updates, sponsored lightsaber overlays, and Instagram "Straight Out of a Galaxy Far, Far Away" memes are all part of the inescapable celebration. Perhaps it is content from powerful legacy mediums that makes the world of content farms seem more functional and appropriate. Embracing something that isn't real, and using contemporary mediums to celebrate it with information that doesn't need to be verified for accuracy or moral climate.
I've learned that content farms specialize in coverage of the coverage, usually resulting in media angst. The Star Wars meme cycle is somehow so deep that there is no way of telling where the coverage cycle starts and stops. The content farm era's first dance with a Star Wars film didn't feel dirty and cheap, baiting for clicks that didn't need to be made. The system has already been perfected and tested, ready for an event like this. A phenomenon this large made all internet content feel supplemental in contrast to the daily dose of curated, misleading, and insincere attempts to cover 'real' things.
Life on the Content Farm is a weekly column about internet media written by the last relevant blogger.