Retrenching the content ecosystem: Smaller ponds for more manageable content management

Being a big fish in (your own) smaller pond can help mitigate some issues with content integration.

Being a big fish in (your own) smaller pond can help mitigate some issues with content integration.

Over the past few years, the greater content ecosystem has expanded dramatically – pushing content management to its farthest reaches. What used to be small ponds of data has become an ocean, leaving many content management system designers struggling to handle all the user generated content and data modules that are now flooding in. While improvements in automation to better handle high data volumes may be on the horizon, the fact that they are beyond our current capabilities means that CMS design may be temporarily better focused elsewhere: into retrenching internal data ecosystems into smaller, more relevant ponds.

Connected themes making connections 
Content creation and discovery begets new content, as data is processed by new users and reconfigured into forms that meet a niche. This is, fundamentally, the purpose of good content and is woven into the structure of modern content languages: inter-connectivity, hyperlinking, the ability to be shared and reconfigured on demand, while still preserving some modicum of authorship tracking. Without inter-connectivity, content represents a dead end for users – a nearly insurmountable obstacle in the modern ecosystem.

“Unprecedented ease in authorship comes with a distinct drawback.”

Here comes the flood
Of course, even in this time of unprecedented connectivity comes with a distinct drawback. Users are very nearly drowning in a flood of content, with the influx showing no signs of abating any time soon. According to CSC, we will see a staggering increase in data production by 2020 – growing 4300 percent. With this much data, the focus on the interrelationships between data that matter most to us is paramount.

While many assume that this interconnection between data is the source of the volume, this is more of a situation where the tail wags the dog. Content authorship has expanded due to simplified creation tools and platforms – breaking down traditional barriers to entry – making interconnection the only means we have to navigate such high volumes of data.

Creating the smaller pond
Since the operational challenges of dealing with the unrelenting torrent of data are beyond the capabilities of even the most sophisticated automation and web-scrapping capabilities, content marketers and CMS designers may have to turn to a counter-intuitive solution: creating smaller, proprietary ecosystems.

This “smaller pond” tactic may seem like a step backward in the overall pursuit of a larger, more integrated content ecosystem, but it does help mitigate some of the issues related to handing such high volumes of data. By building up a organization’s internal content ecosystem, you are essentially damming off the data influx – allowing it to flow through automated gatekeepers for processing and integration. This is a key step in converting raw data to hypertext.

By setting up an in-house ecosystem, organizations can more effectively scale their storage and CMS needs based on the data that they have on hand. While this may pose some limitations when it comes to providing linking to data and content currently outside the parameters of the CMS, it may ultimately prove more responsive and nimble in the long run. Rather than wading into the deep end of the content, setting up your own space allows for more easy and intuitive innovation, thought leadership and the more straightforward marketing of your content insights.

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