Organic Content

I came across an interesting debate recently, started by Derek here: Death to User-Generated Content. He argues that the term “user-generated content” is unfriendly, cold, too technical, a terrible label for the beautiful, amazing, brilliant things people create online. I followed the discussion around the blogosphere and found a comment that hits the nail on the head here: “UGC IS a blight on the industry – but not because the “term” is cold (which it is) – the problem with UGC is that when your primary focus is on the content, you loose. Users aren’t (mentally) creating content when they create content – they are connecting to other users – content is just a by-product of “the conversation”. Those services that enable conversations / transactions are kicking ass – those that are amassing content are not. It’s ebay vs amazon, it’s myspace vs digg, it’s yahoo vs google – the winners will be the players that ignore the content & enable the conversation.”

That really echoes what I had in mind. Derek had a suggestion for the term’s replacement: Authentic Media. That really doesn’t ring well for me, first, “authentic” is heavy and judgmental, and “media” is too connected to an existing establishment in my opinion. User-created content can become a part of the media establishment, but I would keep them separate by definition and allow them to intertwine as needed only.

My suggestion for the term’s replacement would be “organic content”. Nowadays everything is organic from your toothpaste to your search marketing, but that’s not a bad thing if you ask me. :) Organic implies that it’s grassroots, coming from the source, something raw and natural, untamed. I personally wouldn’t mind people sticking this label on the content I create in different nooks and crannies of the web.

And to echo the thought in the comment I quoted above, the term “organic” reinforces that this kind of content is not explicitly “created” (generated) but is a product of an interaction with the web or among its users.

Leave a Comment