Via Chuq, Scott Karp makes the case that User-Generated Content is a myth:
A whole mythology is emerging around the idea of “users” — consumers, fans, regular average folk — creating content that media companies and brands can leverage. It’s a compelling idea — but it’s a myth. The reality is that “average people” don’t create a lot of content — at least not the commercially viable kind. Most people are too busy. Those that do “create content” — and who do it well — are those who are predisposed to being content creators. The have some relevant skills, training, raw talent, motivation, something.
Good discussion in the comments.
Chuq wants us to distinguish identity, and I would add sharing, from content creation. “What goes on on facebook isn’t necessarily content creation. Setting up a profile isn’t really getting involved in content creation.”
On the other hand, Nate Ritter and Josh Catone review the ways in which participatory media has contributed to our understanding of the SoCal fires. Writing at ReadWriteWeb Catone says the fires have highlighted “the emerging symbiotic relationship between citizen journalists and the mainstream news media.”
Many news outlets have solicited, and subsequently used, submissions from people capturing news with cell phone cameras and on blogs (and Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, etc.) Multimedia platform Veeker, which last week signed a deal with NBC to handle viewer uploads in 10 major cities, said that NBC San Diego recieved over 2000 submissions of pictures and video related to the wildfires. CNN’s I-Reports section reportedly received about the same number of fire-related submissions.
(Not unrelatedly, NewAssignment.net’s Off the Bus project was covered in the NYT the other day.)
Finally, Stephanie Kanowitz reminds us that even august journalistic entities like CNN can feature goofy news by summarizing some recent CNN “Latest News” headlines: