In one of the digital media courses I teach, I find that my old media students often balk at one of the axioms of digital content: by publishing something you are essentially releasing it into the wild.
Digital content doesn’t sit still — it travels, interacts with other content and competes for attention far beyond your website.
The concept is familiar to anyone with a smartphone, a tablet, a RSS reader, a ‘read later’ applet, or any other tool that separates the content from its original platform for the convenience of the reader. Shared links, search results, etc. also places your content into competition that you may never intended.
Smart writers, editors and publishers acknowledge this. Some try hard to prevent it, others simply acquiesce, and still others embrace it as both a challenge and an opportunity. In general, digital natives consider this a good thing. Cameron Koczon, from A List Apart, calls it “orbital content.” Anil Dash and Dave Winer are strong advocates for the idea of a personal “news stream.”
However, whenever I teach this concept, objections are raised.