Wednesday, October 24, 2007

UGC : does changing its name change our approach?

Stowe Boyd points us at Clay Shirkey's (see recommended blogs, left) thoughts on the need for a new term to replace User Generated Content in the minds of the media.

"Indigenous Content (which is to say “Created by the natives for themselves.”)

Instantly I quite like indigenous content. Or IC, as we'll be calling it by the end of the month... It's warmer, less master-and-servant.

But at the same time, is it just me, or does it still seem a bit, well, patronising?

Perhaps it's just my perspective - as someone who has been used to being at the centre, broadcasting out for a large part of my career. My natural (and obviously incorrect) fall-back position is to assume that I am not part of the native group doing the creating. If that's an issue for me, I suspect the mainstream media are going to be in at least a similar, if not worse, position.

Is what we call UGC important? Well yes, I think it is, for the reasons illustrated above.

The important thing is for media companies to understand is their relationship to both the natives and what the natives create.

If we label it as in some way different from that created by media companies (ie, simply 'content' or increasingly, and usually inaccurately 'expert' content) then we place a barrier between Us and Them.

Doesn't what we have learned about the power of the network and the dominance of communities insist that the barrier is torn down?

And to that end I'm going to stop calling UGC anything other than content.

Please, by all means question this approach, or suggest alternatives. It'll help us arrive at a more robust position.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?