content vs metadata is one of the BIGGEST hangups for participants in my workshops! And for most purposes, the distinction is not SO important. Sure, sometimes you might sort by content, such as “alphabetical by first name.”
“Name” is definitely content and not metadata. Or you might filter through search; a search for “pinwheels” might pull back all movies with “pinwheels” in the description. Content should be searchable, and searching does create a “filter.”
I like to differentiate content and metadata to give myself a quick look at what elements will need special inputs in a CMS (or user-generated content creation flow) and probably a special mechanism to filter/sort. One way to identify of “core content” might be: “will the CMS only require a free text or an upload?” Ok, that’s core content.
But let’s say we want a pick list of colors. Or date. Or date range! Or location (ack! Google map integration to pin location on map!). Or popularity rating.
Metadata on objects requires a little more design thinking later on - whether designing how that metadata will let a user sift through a list of those objects or create that object, or let other users interact with the object (popularity rating). Metadata has implications…so I like to flag it early on. Hope that helps!