User-generated content

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User-Generated Content is a term that has come into the mainstream during 2005 in web publishing and new media content production circles. It refers to on-line content that is produced by users of websites as opposed to traditional media producers such as broadcasters and production companies. It reflects the democratisation of media production through new technologies that are accessible and affordable. These include digital video, blogging, podcasting, mobile phone photography and, of course, wikis. Prominent examples of websites based on User-Generated Content include Flickr, Friends Reunited, FourDocs, YouTube, Second Life, Top Ten Media and Wikipedia. The advent of User-Generated Content marks a shift among media organisations from creating on-line content to creating the facilities and framework for non-media professionals (i.e. 'ordinary people') to publish their own content in prominent places.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), for example, set up a User-Generated Content (UGC) team as a pilot in April 2005 with 3 staff. In the wake of the 7 July 2005 London bombings and the Buncefield oil depot fire, the team was made permanent and was expanded, reflecting the arrival in the mainstream of the 'citizen journalist'. During the Buncefield disaster the BBC received over 5,000 photos from viewers. The debate over the publication of the Mohammed cartoons (January 2006) prompted over 22,000 emails from viewers in the first couple of weeks. The BBC does not normally pay for content generated by its viewers.

In recent years User-Generated Content has been a path to mainstream success for some. Afroman's novelty song Because I Got High became the most requested song on American radio in July 2002 due to its success on Napster. In the summer of 2006, Brooke Brodack was signed into a talent development deal based on her short skits on YouTube. Companies are becoming more adept at exploiting spaces originally intended for UGC as illustrated by the Lonelygirl15 scandal on YouTube where a fake videoblog was used to promote an aspiring actress.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

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User-generated content

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