According to Andrew Odlyzko's research people are more interested in communication than they are in content. In Content is NOT king, Odlyzko writes:

The Internet is widely regarded as primarily a content delivery system. Yet historically, connectivity has mattered much more than content. Even on the Internet, content is not as important as is often claimed, since it is e-mail that is still the true "killer app". The primacy of connectivity over content explains phenomena that have baffled wireless industry observers, such as the enthusiastic embrace of SMS (Short Message System) and the tepid reception of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol).

I wonder how this translates to the adoption rate of internet applications? Will content management systems with a focus on user interaction and syndication (eg. community software like Drupal) grow faster than content management systems that focus solely on delivering content (eg. conventional broadcasting systems)? I think so, yes.

Comments

Bèr (not verified):

The main thing, is that at this very moment the vast majority of traffic to (and even within) a site comes from Google and brethren. Until they have adjusted their model truly beyond content (and that goes far beyond RSS integration), that content will remain king.

But, in the same time, we all see Yahoo, google and MSN putting a lot of effort into the communication part. Skype, google talk, MSN messenger and the various mail and chat systems have gained a lot of attention lately.
So it will not take too long before the balance will tip over to the communication part.

Dries:

Ber: one might argue whether the balance is about to tip over, or whether it tipped over long ago. I'm in the latter camp. E-mail, for example, has been far more important than websites.

Laura (not verified):

Is it really the case that content is not king? Everything about "web 2.0" seems to revolve around relevance. Interaction itself has become content, in a sense, just as that great conversation you have with a friend at a dinner party is both interaction and content.

Twitter is a new kind of content, but it's the relevance of that kind of content in people's lives that is making it a phenomenon rather than another passing fad.

Case in point: Take two sites running the same code, one is hugely popular, the other is very quiet. What's the difference? The content, measured by who's there, what they're saying, what relevance (or interest) people find it it, and what new whatever they take away from each experience.

Meanwhile, email thrives because of its content. I don't read it because it's email (and please someone tell that to the senders of the 100+ spam messages I get each day), I read it because of its content. The content is why I read the email.

Now making content more findable, more usable, and therefore more relevant -- that's a growth area for sure. That is part of the content in aggregate, just like a good index in a book makes it better and more relevant content than without.

At least so it seems to me.