Why Spikey Katfish?

I always used Spikey Katfish as an amusing (mostly to myself) name for any un-named product I was working on. Years years ago; Iwasthisclose to using it for the much more . . . straightforwardly-named Connect (an AIIM newsletter I created/wrote). I wrote the following as an explanation for the name.

The Tale of Spikey Katfish

What does a catfish have to do with managing content? Nothing. And everything.

Catfish are everywhere. They come in all shapes and sizes — from the tiny and cute Cory in your aquarium to the gigantic (9 foot) Mekong catfish — and are native to every continent (except Antarctica). They are covered in armor or have smooth, delicate skin. Invasive, catfish can thrive in environments as uninvited guests. Stinging, many catfish can deliver a painful jolt through spines on the tips of their fins. Most importantly, coated in cornmeal and fried, they are a culinary delight.

What’s this got to do with managing information? Your information is everywhere. Your information comes in all shapes and sizes: emails, tweets, paper forms, Web forms, you know the list. Information also appears where it’s least wanted. (We’re just getting over email challenges and, now, here comes SharePoint sprouting unmanaged like mushrooms after a spring rain.) Improperly managed, information can definitely sting you in a court of law. Yet, properly managed and controlled, will make your workforce smarter and your business more efficient.

That’s why we’re calling this newsletter Spikey Katfish. Plus, our editor likes it. Since the planning began to move from inform to e-doc (and then AIIM E-DOC Magazine and then Infonomics), various magazine-related drafts have circulated around AIIM with Spikey Katfish as a tongue-in-cheek working title. After all, the editor is from Louisiana. Maybe the sun got to him. Or a crawfish bit him too hard as a child. Regardless, he found this amusing. Now, eleven years on, it makes (a little) sense to rename our newsletter Spikey Katfish. Plus, it is kind of a fun name and we want to add at least a little fun to the definitely difficult task that all of us are involved in daily: how to manage and get the most out of our information.

We’ll do our best to serve up a delicious helping of helpful advice, tips, and interesting information every other week.

Order up. Me, I’ll have the fried catfish po-boy.

Katfish and Content

As I transitioned from writing about content management to writing about and doing the work of content marketing, the analogy continues to make sense to me.

Content is everywhere, just like catfish. It comes in all shapes and sizes, just like catfish. Corporate, farm raised catfish tends to be bland, though still somewhat effective. Wild catfish have a stronger flavor and make a bigger impact on your taste buds, like creative, thoughtful content does.

Catfish have spiky tips (yes, I do know the real spelling) as a defensive mechanism. I think all good to great content has that edge, that . . . punch you need to prick the attention of the person on the other end of the screen.

Now, since it’s not in use: 20 years after, I still love the name. I needed a title for the blog. Fate. Destiny. Lack of further imagination. Whatever.

Thus.

Spikey Katfish.

I hope I generally make sense.

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