On Atomizing and Sharing Content
All content, no matter what the size, seeks to exist on an atomic level once it is introduced to the web. We want tweetable sized snippets; we wish to point to 2:47 into a YouTube clip; we crop television shows to 4 second animated gifs, blockquote the lead paragraph of a New York Times piece, and strip a Wired illustration from its article to take with us. These atomic units make us fickle and peckish on their own, but the way to counter the loss of context is not to lament the size of things, but to take those individual parts and arrange them into larger wholes again. Content may break at its connection points, but the ingredients can be recombined.
Networked content seeks to bond to other content in as many different ways as possible. It is like carbon, constellations, or the crossroads. The stickiest content survives and thrives, because it lodges in our memory and has the capacity to bond and mix with what’s to come. The best things we make can stand on their own, but they give us the itch to connect them to something else to establish patterns. They suggest a fuller picture, now all we need are the tools to flesh out the rest of the image.
Frank Chimero, The Anthologists
Image by Craig Mod