Sir Tim Berners Lee has been granted a special award for his outstanding contribution to the world of creativity, communication and design - the worldwide web. It's interesting to reflect on his special gift to publishers, who can now deliver fresh content faster and cheaper than ever before.

Naturally as a professional freelance journalist I despise the word 'content'. It cheapens the nature of the creation. Whether 'content' is a news story or an award-winning documentary, use of that despicable word to describe it ignores the true value of the creative expression. It's a horrible word, which assumes the works of Shakespeare are the same as those of a hundred monkeys banging away at a typewriter.

Those most guilty of using the word are customarily those who have never truly attempted to make a living through the soul-stretching so customary to any creative professional.

I don't care if you are a graphic or web designer, musician, film-maker or some kind of scribbler, like myself - whatever creative work you achieve demands knowledge, skill, experience and time. And a touch of unique madness, I think. Remember the 'Think Different' ads?

The nature of the giant creative boost that is the worldwide web has put some 'content' in peril - file-sharing, for example, has affected the income of many musicians.

But the opportunity of the online world remains a powerful thing: it's possible now for a single story - or any other piece of creation - to spread across the planet like a forest fire.

I saw this clearly this week with the little tale about Ann Summers and Apple I found and penned. That one got around. It was also visible in an opinion piece I wrote yesterday concerning Microsoft's Zune team's iPod Amnesty Bin. That seemed to strike a nerve.

The challenge for creative folk in the online age is to find a way to use the web to deliver the greatest possible benefit to the greatest possible number, without leaving themselves in poverty.

Sir Berners-Lee showed us the way when he chose to release his world-changing, age-defining, era-enabling work on creating the foundations of the web for free. Sometimes man's best inventions deserve to have a life of their own, free of the many limitations of the primitive barter system at the heart of the so-called "Free Market".

The challenge is to harness Berners-Lee's foundational decision that beats at the heart of the web and to apply those ideas to creative expression.

Whatever your task, you need to find a way to make your chosen path sustainable. Creatives need to find a middle ground between selflessness and financial common sense.

All existing models for creative distribution are open to question today, in this socially-connected Web 2.0 age.

Musicians are engaging with this new online world. They are exploring new strategies for bringing their art to an audience, bypassing old-fashioned, slow-moving and greedy distribution systems, as represented by some of the more traditional record labels. Mick Hucknall's label-free success is a prime example of this, whether you enjoy his art or not, he's doing well in this new world.

Hammered by file-sharing, musicians were once the victims of the online world. The previous music distribution system's elemental disassociation with Tim Berners-Lee's invention meant that artists found it increasingly difficult to make a living.

Forced to experiment, a whole new generation of creative musical souls today follow the inspirational fire at the heart of the web to explore new territory, new business models, new ways to make a living in the web world.

The effect of this is that musicians, once casualties of the new digital world, will one day be the web's pioneers. The independent models they identify and create will eventually be emulated and embraced by every creative individual.

There won't be such a thing as 'content' anymore. There'll be audiences and creators joined in a constantly engaged feedback loop.

A humming and constantly changing collection of small, medium and large groups of connected humanity, joined at the intellectual hip. Timothy Leary would be proud.

I just hope I live long enough to see it come to fruition.