Social network sites like Myspace and Facebook have become popular destinations for user generated content. Some people may question the value of that content (and the same judgements hold true for any communication media, by the way) but the popularity of such sites shows no sign of diminishing.
An interesting site featuring user generated content is teachbyvideo.com, a site that harnesses user generated content with amateur videos showing how do to do things – teaching videos. I came across teachbyvideo.com in the April 2007 issue of Econtent magazine in an article called Team spirit: inspiring users to generate content. The article discusses different business models for user generated content, emphasising focus and quality: “there are no hard and fast rules, but a tight alignment between the content and the audience is the best rule of thumb” (p.32).
What user generated content demonstrates is that people want to have a say and are prepared to put a lot of thinking and effort into making that happen. That type of awareness and facilitation has been used by some companies to interact with external customers.
However, by harnessing that energy, it is possible for organisations to provide a platform and encourage staff to contribute user generated content “in-house”. Ensuring relevance and quality will be paramount, as it should be for content generally, but internally generated user content might be just the thing to facilitate new ideas, creativity and innovation for organisations. After all, people working inside a company are just as likely to want to have a say as external customers and the people contributing to social network sites.