Death Of The User

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Perhaps the most odious buzzword to emerge from the second coming of the web is “user-generated content” — my objection to this term is not just aesthetic (although it’s quite an ugly term). My real problem with user-generated content is the notion of a “user.” Rishad Tobaccowala of Denuo highlighted the unfortunate double meaning in his keynote at OMMA last fall:

User Generated Content: Since when did I become a heroin addict?

and

Treat me as a person, not some user, consumer, addict, shallow person defined by your brand or some other form of low life.

Worse than the negative word association is that the use of the term “user” in a media 2.0 context has completely obfuscated what is actually happening in media. [Read more…]

Democratizing The Economics Of Content

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Google was way ahead of MySpace, YouTube, and Facebook in disrupting the content business — Google acquired Blogger in early 2003 to accelerate the rise of “user-generated content,” otherwise known as people publishing content online with free, easy publishing software (as with “blog,” I use that phrase as an unfortunate consequence of wide adoption). But how would this explosion of online content benefit Google? Why own the platform? The answer arrived soon after with the launch of AdSense, which provided this legion of new publishers a way to monetize their content, thereby embedding Google in the exploding economics of online content. [Read more…]