User Generated Content – A Simple Primer

Posted in Blogging, User Generated Content by lawrenceiross007 on July 5, 2009

people dolls

What are the most common forms of UGC? – Errr…hold on just a second. What on earth is “UGC” and why should I care? And how can UGC help me to reach clients and customers, and grow my business?

Wikipedia defines UGC (user generated content) as “various kinds of media content, publicly available, that are produced by the end-user.” The idea of free content has been the central theme of media for decades. Consumers have been willing to receive free content, such as commercial radio, cable, and television broadcasts, in exchange for watching advertising.

The rise of the Internet, especially during this decade, has seen considerable experimentation with free content models. Prior to year 2000, content developed by professional online editors was often given away for free.

ugc universe

Post 2000, the public has also been allowed to, and indeed encouraged to make its own content available to everyone through social media sites such as CNN, MetaCafe, and YouTube. Not to mention the tens of millions of blogs, discussion groups, and question-answer databases that permiate the web. UGC now makes up the bulk of the content delivered by new technologies such as digital video, podcasting, mobile phone photography and wikis.

UGC may also employ flexible licensing or related agreements to further reduce the barriers to collaboration, skill-building and discovery. It’s a whole new world out there!

Here are a few of the most common forms of UGC. Each has its use to users and to individuals, professionals, and small business owners interested in social media marketing.

Blogs – you may have your own blog, or each member of your community can have their own blog. These blog entries can be aggregated into collective views (e.g., most recent posts, most active contributors, highest rated posts, etc.)
Discussions—create threaded discussion forums where members reply to posts from other members. A new take on this is comments on a blog – from most recent to oldest.
Wikis – a post from one member can be edited by another member, maintaining version and author history. Wikis are the equivalent on an encyclopedia on speed.
Videos—upload and share videos (YouTube, MetaCafe, or on your own site)
Photos—upload photos, embed images in posts, create photo albums
Calendars—mark events and posts on a personal or group calendar
Tagging—members can “tag” content to allow other members to find that content via “tag clouds.”
Mapping—apply “geo tags” to display content or member location on a map
RSS feeds—use RSS (real simple syndication) to incorporate content from external sources, or create RSS feeds to syndicate content to other sources and users
Podcasts—upload and syndicate podcasts on any subject (on iTunes or Blogs)
Bookmarks—mark and share URLS (web addresses) with other members – using services like Digg
Voting and Rating—vote on content and aggregate the results


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