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Are You a Content Consumer or Creator?

Think about the generation or two before us. A significant portion of free time was spent consuming media. From print to broadcast, everyday people simply digested information and content presented to them. But then, everything changed. We were gifted with the ability to share what we think, feel, and experience, on demand. The democratization of information was finally upon us and we the people would ensure that our voices would be heard and felt. This was our time, quite literally as Time Magazine named "us" as the person of the year.

You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world…

There was and is something missing however. It takes a dedicated investment and orchestrated movement to control the information age. Without it, we're contributing to social distortion, a regime governed by information overload that threatens social anarchy. Just because we have the ability to say something, doesn't mean it matters to our greater society, nor does it resonate. Even in the face of this new democracy of social media, the majority of "the social" are merely consuming content — 68% of all socialites according to Forrester simply listen, never saying or producing anything.

And while it's not the same as generations before us, I wonder if we're moving towards an era of consumption again, just under a new facade.

In all honesty, the long form of content creation is under constant scrutiny and its value is continually questioned. Blogs are seemingly losing favor to the statusphere in the rise of a Web that promotes curation and micro-sized content without true context. Minimalist self-expression masquerades as a new information economy and I think we have yet to show what we're capable of contributing or truly changing.

You might disagree with me, but shortly after the iPad was released, I sold it. Why? Well, it wasn't because I didn't love it. I found myself thoroughly enjoying the ability to consume content in a very interactive manner that fooled me into thinking I was creating even though I was simply curating and sharing. To counter the sensation, I purchased a keyboard and a stand. They had me believing , but then I did the math. There's more money in consumption than creation. And, that's when I realized I was simply trying to justify it as a tool for consumption AND creation. Truth is that it's a beautiful tool for content consumption and curation. But, I challenge you to create at least equal to you what you consume…or at least more than you do today.

Who are you?

What about you that some adore that we all need to experience?

What can you teach us?

I believe in order for the social economy to thrive, it must balance creation and consumption.

Additionally, we must invest in the social economy by demonstrating literacy and our ability to take what we learn and share our insights with those populating our coveted digital societies.

In the process we'll find that the balance is refined to the delicate, yet invaluable ecology of learning and teaching.

What do you think? What are you observing?

Reprinted from

Brian Solis is the author of Engage and is one of most provocative thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis's research and ideas have influenced the effects of emerging media on the convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSolis, YouTube, or at

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