Monday, October 27, 2014

Forbes article says "user generated content is dead". Oh, really?

As I’ve hinted before (Oct. 13),  the recent abuse of social media by ISIS (or ISIL) will generate more debate on the permissive aspect of user-generated content, that is, material “self-published” online, often on social media sites or forums, without gatekeepers or financial accountability.  I saw this rather startling headline on Forbes from July 14, 2014, by Steven Rosenbaum, “User-generated content is dead, as video evolves”, link here. The writer suggests that most amateur content has few visitors and low following and makes little money.  I could probably challenge that claim by rummaging through a lot of amateur YouTube videos that do well (starting with Nora the Cat playing piano), but his point that companies are paying more attention to the quality of their marketing videos is well-taken.  Indeed, a commercial with really attractive people or with interesting actions or perplexing fantasy world-views can be fun to watch.  (A good example: AMC Theaters has an outstanding and realistic video showing a hypothetical outdoor theater on another planet with an extraterrestrial city in the distance, although lately it has replaced it with a newer one made with Coca Cola, whose “Love Bird” character appeared in NYC gay pride this year.) 

But it’s possible that content with relatively low number in terms of distinct original visitors or even income can have significant impact on a social or political debate, by “keeping them honest”. 

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