user-generated content (UGC)

User-generated content (UGC) is the words and photos that unpaid contributors create and provide to publications, particularly Web properties.

User-generated content (UGC) is published information that an unpaid contributor has provided to a web site.  The information might be a photo, video, blog or discussion forum post, poll response or comment made through a social media web site.

Commercial media's growing reliance on user-generated content has led to some controversy in the publishing world. Some organizations monitor user-generated content carefully for profanities, lies and attacks on other contributors. Others let users self-police their content. 

Critics point out that the content quality of amateur contributors can be inconsistent, but the user-generated content movement has also been praised for allowing website visitors to lend their voices to news coverage.  In contrast to a traditional one-to-many media arrangement, some media organizations are basing their entire business models upon UGC, encouraging unpaid contributors to provide content that the media organization can republish, promote and profit from.


This was first published in March 2013

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