TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: User Generated Content Good For Old Media

Re: User Generated Content Good For Old Media
4 Jan 2007 12:02:52 -0800

Kate wrote:

> "The one group that has made the most hype is the so-called 'five
> minutes of fame' and I'm not necessarily convinced that that will
> continue to grow," Davies said.

> "In fact you might find people start to get bored with it (but) the
> less glamorous use of the Internet as a form of creating user
> generated content is part of society now."

I am very skeptical of "user generated" content. Here's why:

1) This was promoted as the "coming thing" back in the days of BBS's.
All the claims made now about the Internet's ability to spread
information DIRECTLY to the people were made back then. They were
false then and false now.

2) The reality is that most people only have so much free time. They
can't be bothered sifting through mounds of what I call "bar chat".
They are not interested in flame wars, insulting unwelcome opinions,
branches into way-off-topic areas, etc. They want a reasonable chance
that what their reading as some accuracy in it.

In other words, the traditional news source--be they print, TV or
Internet -- offer editing and controls. Despite all the complaints of
bias and the like, most people do want their news and information
vetted and edited first.

There is of course a small subset of passionate people who want to
read it all. But this is a very small subset.

3) A similar function is performed by the entertainment industry (for
better or for worse). Advocates claim the Internet will bypass the
"greedy music business" and allow musicians to send their work directly
to the people. Well again, some pre-editing is required and like it or
not the editors have a pretty good eye of what will be popular. Same
with movies. The old time Hollywood moguls like Jack Warner et al had
their faults but they were generally pretty good at picking hits out of
the great many properties submitted to them. They were generally good
at picking talent to make such productions. This is a lot harder than
it seems.

In entertainment, for things that catch the public eye, there is
something "extra" about the production. It's hard for us lay people to
put a finger on it, but we sure know it if its missing and we quickly
change the channel or walk out.

4) Undoubtedly some new talent will emerge from the new media (myspace
and youtube) and that's fine. But the vast majority of sites will be
of very little interest to most people. I suggest it being new it has
something of a "fad" quality to it that attracts lots of people. It
is here to stay, but it will not totally replace other media as some
like this article suggest.

5) The traditional providers will face competion -- as they have
been -- just from personal time (as opposed to content). That is,
someone who once watched broadcast TV or read the newspaper will now
spend more time on the Internet playing around (as I do.) But some of
that will just be using the Internet to download a TV show or
commercial music.

[public replies, please]

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Regards your point (2) above, I can
recall a time (1980-ish through 1993-4) when I used to read almost
everything on the net. I read almost entirely the 'genuine' Usenet but
skimmed through 'alt'. Now I am essentially 'retired' as you know,
with all the time in the world; I do not get even close to reading it
all any longer. And Usenet has started to mature a lot also in the
past few years. The net is a lot like newspapers used to be in the
early years of the last century, when the phrase 'yellow journalism'
first took root. Newspapers have 'cleaned up their acts' since that
time and become a lot more sophisticated. Ditto, I think the net has
become a more powerful tool than in its earliest days. I think the
next twenty or so years will bring a gradual merger of these two
sources of information, hopefully for good. PAT]

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