The user is the content.

You may have heard me before railing at the term user generated content. It infuriates me because it embodies two ideas: “you mean we can get them to make films for us for free?” and “Well yes they can use our space but only when and how it suits us”.
It begins with the assumption that you can’t trust the public – or rather the public is just too risky to trust. This has shaped too many public and private sector approaches to sharing with the audience.
Websites don’t exist without links, they don’t exist without readers and hence they don’t exist without community. It is the users, the comments they make, the virtual, intellectual and actual links they establish through using your content that turns it from a string of one and noughts into something with influence in the world.
Without the user there is no content, so learn to trust us.

One comment

  1. I think you’re totally right Nick. Control is an added issue when it comes to trust. Clients see their site, blog or even Facebook Page as “their space” and any comments or contributions from users as a violation of that space.

    I think organisations sometimes need to understand that, as Richard Gatarski at http://www.weconverse.com has said in conferences and seminars, the more control you have over your space, the less “in touch” you become because you can’t really get a true handle on how your customers use or view your products.

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