Content is king again. Social media has taught us that you can build networks of people, but content is what engages them. Some of the best examples I've seen lately aren't of the bite-size variety, but much more robust. Suprisingly, some of the most engaging are new ways of looking at the written word. Here are two of them:
If you follow me on Twitter, you've heard me rave about Longreads. The premise of the site is simple, to aggregate the best long-form content on the web. Visitors to the site can sort content by the time it takes to read, from less than 15 minutes to more than an hour. New content is added daily from many of the best publishers of long-form content, like The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Business Week and many, many more.
This most recent entry into the long-form content space provides an intriguing challenge to the traditional news publisher business model. It also has a simple premise, original long form content from notable authors. The first original to launch on Byliner is by Jon Krakauer, for the price of $2.99.
While newspapers are still focused on subscription models, Byliner provides an interesting micropayment model into the mix. The site has not fully launched yet, but those who question the business model should ask themselves: if you'll pay $0.99 for an iPhone app that makes fart noises, and $5.99 for a magazine, why wouldn't you pay $2.99 for a really in-depth, engaging piece on something you're actually interested in. Don't like the topic? You don't have to pay.
I think both of these sites are an indication of how important the production and curation of great content have become. As the web grows, so does the need for both.