What happens to old content on the web?

As I perused the recent Startup Edition on writing, I came across a great post by Kevin Dewalt. The premise of the post is that blog posts lose their value over time. This is very true. Blogs just aren’t designed for browsing past posts. Kevin proposes an awesome strategy for dealing with this by turning old blog posts into an email course.

Beyond blogs, there is a larger problem here: over time, all content on the web loses value.

This makes sense. In the daily (or even hourly) news cycle, new content gets churned out quickly. As readers, we have a limited attention span, and the old content usually disappears from our attention to make room for the new.

The problem is that not all content should lose its value. Some content is evergreen. It will never go out of date, and it is so good that it should always be easily accessible.

How should we deal with this evergreen content? How do we find it, or resurface it, when it may be useful?

There are countless news sites, social feeds, and other distribution platforms for new content. How many distribution mechanisms are there for old content?

For most, the main mechanism for discovering old content is the search engine. If an epic piece of content has the right keywords for the query, page structure, and incoming links, search will work just fine. But, this isn’t always the case.

For the more dedicated, they may search their private stash of bookmarks, or their saved posts on Digg, reddit, StumbleUpon, etc. This may help the individual, but isn’t a general solution to the problem.

The even more dedicated will organize their bookmarks, and publish curated lists on their own websites or blogs. These are more helpful, but the curation is scattered all across the Internet.

More recently, curation platforms such as Pinterest have popped up for people to organize and publicly share boards containing their favorite pieces of content. This provides a great way to discover old content based upon tastemakers. But, searching through a sea of pins can be time consuming, and isn’t always easy.

I don’t think there is a good solution here yet. Still, content on the Internet continues to be created at a rapid pace. Finding the best stuff can be difficult, and with time, will probably get more difficult. It seems like there is a big opportunity here.

P.S. This is post number #47 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

BTW: I’ve been thinking about this problem a lot for current project: Soulmix.

One thought on “What happens to old content on the web?

  1. How do I find the best content? | Alex Shye

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