Friday, August 11, 2006

(theory & practice of) User generated content

"The killer app for mobile after voice and email is content."
[David Harper: User-Generated Content: Killer App Of Mobile. WinkSite 3 Nov 2004]

(this is how they create hypes. As voice and text is no content at all whatsoever, we need CONTENT and fast!) :D

Google Alert has dutifully informed me about 'user generated content' and 'users as innovators' related articles/news/posts since September 2005. Lately the number of hits has grown exponentially. I quess I should thank all those social media, lead user and web2.0 enthusiasts who reinforce the inevitable hype of social media (/games).

This seems also to be a great moment to make a skewed/biased/inadequate summary of ***theory + practice of USER GENERATED CONTENT***.

in theory:
According to Wikipedia: User Generated Content is a term that has come into the mainstream during 2005 in web publishing and new media content production circles. It refers to on-line content that is produced by users of websites as opposed to traditional media producers such as broadcasters and production companies. It reflects the democratisation of media production through new technologies that are accessible and affordable. These include digital video, blogging, podcasting, mobile phone photography and, of course, wikis.

If you are new to the discussion you should google 'lead user', 'users as innovators' or 'informal innovation' plus 'tool kits'.

Another great starting point is Eric von Hippel's website. Eric is the brightest guru of user innovation studies. He has done many inspiring case studies related to the topic since the 1970s.

Other researchers/professors/writers (this is not an exhaustive list!!!): Christian Lüthje, Cornelius Herstatt, Peter Magnusson, Mary Sonnack, Sonali Shah, Karim Lakhani, Pia Helminen, Per Kristensson... See e.g.

in practice:
One easy example is fan culture: there has been fanzines since I don't know when, currently many Habbo Hotel fans publish their Habbo fan sites, fan art, stories... Some clever entrepreneurs/companies have also utilized fans to develop their digital content further.

There are also companies like GoFresh ( with their is an excellent example of user generated content. I am sure you know eBay already. The basic philosophy of Wikipedia is based on user generated content / community ideas. FourDocs is rather nice one (home made docs). Blogging is also a part of the big picture. In / / the core of the content is created by the users not to mention, LinkedIn, (back then the talk was circulating around data mining / personalisation)... A few years back tsunami in Thailand was broadly and trustily enough reported by 'users' aka amateurs aka AverageJoes.

Game developers (too) have noticed that they can save money and time when releasing early beta versions to hard core fans and enthusiasts. In MUDs advanced users (~wizards) can develop the world further. Graphical online game developers currently provide tool kits for the users to modify the game worlds, characters etc.

Let''s see what web2.0 developer come up with when it is common to use the Internet via a mobile phone. A lot of new possibilities to marvel.

The value of user generated content? Read this article:

My new best friend has a word to say about this as well:

No comments: