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Are you a Librarian or an Author?

Part of the friction that makes the job of a broadcaster more difficult in 2010 is that essential grind between the “librarian” and the “author.”

The librarian doesn’t write the books.  He curates them.  He organizes them.  He codes them and shuffles their display.

The author writes the books.  She creates the content.  She throws it out into the marketplace where it fights for oxygen with the work of other authors.

Today’s consumers are both librarians and authors.  They curate and organize their own content on their own devices.  They create their own content, too, even if by “content” I mean something as simple as their review of a book on Amazon or their rating of a movie at Rotten Tomatoes.

Broadcasters have historically straddled both worlds, too.  But tight budgets have pushed more of us into the role of a librarian – showcasing the content of others – and pushed us out of the role of the author – creating content itself.

Librarians will increasingly be a dime a dozen.  We are all librarians.  Granted, your ability to code and classify may be better than mine – but not for my tastes.

Authors – the creators of content – will always be prized above librarians because their very existence defies commodity status.

We need an author’s mindset.

We need a bias to view our cross-platform opportunities as invitations to innovation, not as spaces to be filled with whatever crap is cheap or easily available or repurposed from elsewhere.

Sometimes the reason to do something is because you can, because you want to, and because your consumers want you to.  Sometimes you will profit not because of what you do but because you are doing it at all.

I once read a piece about search engine optimization, and it made this compelling point:  The best way to rank high in search engines is to provide content worth experiencing, seeking out, and sharing.  All the other tricks and tactics can’t polish a turd.

So what about you?

Ae you a librarian – or an author?

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