User content myth?

Chuqui 3.0 has a nice piece challenging the hype over “user generated content”.   He suggests that it’s inappropriate to call simple profile pages at Facebook or Myspace “user content”, and that only about 1% of users are generating most of the content in social network sites.    

I’m torn between wanting to agree that things are overblown about this and my basic assumption – social content of both high quality (serious bloggers) and low quality (myspace TV show notes from a 12 year old)  is driving the new web and will continue to do so for some time.     Tons of content is pouring in and even by a high measure of “quality” people already have more than they could read in a lifetime.    It’s hard to make a case that the popular YouTube videos are quality, yet they are generally viewed far more than most quality web pages talking about relevant news or science or yada yada.

So, is the importance of user content of mythological proportions?  

No, but thanks for a thoughful post Chuqui!  

3 thoughts on “User content myth?

  1. What might be considered as utter garbage must indeed have some value if it is being viewed so often. Or are we dealing with ‘value’ for the masses? Those 12 year old MTV viewers have different notions of value and I’m sure that somewhere some firm considers them to be an important segment of their market.

    Are thoughtful anaytical articles being written but viewers are clicking only on the centerfolds? Or is it that too many people are only posting the centerfolds? Perhaps its the search strategies that are at fault. If so, how does one go about specifying “nugget of gold” amidst all that User Generated Content? Or is the value determined by shallowness. Amidst all the video snippets out there was the babbling beauty fielding a geography question at a beauty pageant really worth all the attention paid to it?
    I am not interested in 12 year olds watching MTV and would probably only be briefly interested in the babbling beauties (providing the sound is turned off). Some out there in Web2.0 land might consider those things to be nuggets of gold, but I sure hope not. Search engines can’t seem to determine quality. Perhaps that is because most user generated content is so utterly lacking in quality.

  2. Search engines can’t seem to determine quality. Perhaps that is because most user generated content is so utterly lacking in quality

    … ha – yet the band plays on …

  3. Yes, the band plays on.
    And amidst all the drek of 12 year olds and MTV shows and shallow video clips, vacations get planned around comments made by hotel guests in travel related posts. The user comments are much valued (such as by VanessaFoxNude) but they must still be an awful lot to wade through to find the good ones.

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