Is UGC the right term?

October 6, 2007 at 5:50 am | Posted in Term | 5 Comments

What does “user” mean to you? What is “generating content”? Why is this term popular? Does this term really describe what’s going on? Here’s a link to a post from Publisher 2.0 that summarizes some of the discussion in the “blogsphere” regarding the term UGC.

Here are some alternate terms I’ve seen out there, what’s your take on them? Do you have any more suggestions?

  • Social Media
  • Independent content
  • Authentic Media
  • Unpaid Freelancers
  • Participatory Media
  • Digital publishing


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  1. Even after reading the UGC blog I haven’t the foggiest idea what it means. And especially didn’t understand the two comments! Guess I want to ask end “user” of what? I understand generated content” but why is the word “user” used? Just can’t put the words together….creates no picture in my mind. So I think, ok, I write a blog…so I am using digital media to generate content. What else does a “user” use?
    And so what? What’s the point? All the other sentences around this topic leave me clueless. Guess I am more out of it than I thought! Or too literal! duh….

  2. I agree with Eunice that it’s important to ask “user of what?” A user of online news sites? User of video sites? A scientist using a site with research from around the world?

    So UGC would be content generated by someone who not only contributes but also consumes?

    # Social Media – While I think that social media is a good term for the collaboration and two-way communication that happens on blogs and can be applied to much UGC, I think this is narrower in scope than UGC itself. For instance, if a blogger decides not to allow comments then the blog becomes a one-way form of communication, but the blog would likely still be considered UGC. Or would it?
    # Independent content – I don’t think all independent content would be considered UGC
    # Authentic Media – And what is unauthentic media?
    # Unpaid Freelancers – This is an interesting term. Though media interns would probably be included in this group as well. Also, what happens when the UGC gets picked up and does make money? Does it cease to become UGC because someone decided to pay money for it?
    # Participatory Media – I would have to make the same argument about this as I did with social media.
    # Digital publishing – I don’t think UGC necessarily needs to be digital. The op-ed page of a newspaper is filled with comments from readers who want to voice their opinion or contribute in some way to the publication. Or what about newspaper-sponsored essay contests where the winning essay is published in the paper? I think these would be considered UGC, though I agree that UGC is primarily associated with digital publishing.

  3. UGC is a useful term, but not to the so-called users actually generrating the content. The idea that we’d ask someone to “generate content” is misguided. We ask people to leave feedback, voice an opinion, provide counterpoint, rate usefulness etc. They provide a subjective record of their experiences. I almost wrote “experiences of the site” in that last sentence, but stopped myself, realizing that content and experiences come in many forms. An open forum or debate relies on UGC, whether online or offline.

  4. Content is now the fastest commodity on the web. It is being produced and consumed by the users in an infinite cycle. The future of content is with users. I have an interesting video to showcase the same and future of media at

  5. Off topic – Help with PM?
    lost password
    Boss Resurfacing
    Boss Resurfacing

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