Stock and Flow

Robin Sloan, of Snarkmarket, applies the economic concepts of stock (“a sta­tic value: money in the bank, or trees in the for est”) and flow (“a rate of change: fif­teen dollars an hour, or three-thousand tooth picks a day”) to the media.  It is, he says, “the master metaphor for media today.”

Sloan argues that “flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist. Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years?) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.”

And it is a good analogy, or metaphor.  We need both stock and flow in today’s media world. We need to be constantly finding new things to talk about and getting them out in the world, but equally as important, perhaps more so, is the trust your readers have in you — another aspect of your stock.

I was loosely thinking about this the other day, not in these terms specifically, but very much how most of the stuff we do here is or could be forgettable — it’s mostly flow.  They are triflings, good diversions for five minutes at a time, but diversions nonetheless. This year, I want to concentrate on finding a better balance between this site’s own flow and it’s stock, with more posts that are meatier, more memorable, more durable over time.  Or something.

If that doesn’t work we can always fall back on animal posts — the Shina Ibu puppy cam is back!

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