The approach the NYT takes, editorially, to describing “user generated content” (what I prefer to call Conversational Media) is so dismissive, so backhanded, it makes me want to scream. Here’s how Richard Siklos defines it in today’s paper (the piece is entitled “Big Media’s Crush on Social Networking”).
User-generated content is basically anything someone puts on the Web that is not created for overtly commercial purposes; it is often in response to something professionally created, or is derivative of it. So, it could be a blog, a message board, a homemade video on YouTube, or a customer’s book review on Amazon.com.
Richard and his editors so deeply want to believe that conversational media is dependent on “professionally created” media. But it’s not, any more than it’s “not created for overtly commercial purposes.”
Certainly, conversational media will comment on packaged goods media, and lord knows the reverse is certainly true these days (The Times is the biggest commentator of them all, it can’t get enough of covering this space.) But there are so many examples of great conversational media that is both commercially driven and entirely independent of “professional media” (in our industry alone, there’s Om, there’s Matt, there’s Mike, there…and, and, and….), that making such a sweeping statement seems either ignorant or simply wishful thinking. Harumph.