An introduction to User Generated Content:
1) As defined by Wikipedia:
“User-generated content (UGC), also known as Consumer Generated Media or User-created Content (UCC), refers to various kinds of media content that are produced by end-users.”
2) Scribe Media in their interaction with Cory Ondrejka report:
“Unlike most upload-your-content-and-we’ll-share-it-in-some-sort-of-social-media-Web-2-point-oh-way, content creation in Second Life is really, really, difficult.
Yet people still create and people still come to those creations. By Ondrejka’s account, users have contributed over $500 million in design and development within Second Life.”
3) McKinsey’s study on “How Companies can make the most of user-generated content”
“We observed that users cite a variety of reasons for posting content online—chief among them, a hunger for fame, the urge to have fun, and a desire to share experiences with friends (Exhibit 1). While some users were open to the idea of being compensated for their contributions, that wasn’t a primary driver: the people we studied weren’t paid for their contributions.”
4) Web Analytics Article on “User Generated Content starts small then snowballs”
“Over time, participation rates throughout the user group increase. In 2004, for example, 90 percent of the contributions to Wikipedia came from just 2 percent of its users; by 2006, the top 2.5 percent of them were responsible for only 60 percent of all new content.”
Thoughts around User Generated Content:
- The Creators
- The Users
- Impact of Creations in VWs
- Does UGC drives VWs interactions
The creators as has been seen are mostly a small percentage who let their creative juices flow and design / create items for the Virtual World in this case.
The users enjoy / utilize the previously generated content for their endeavors, sometimes tweaking them slightly like positioning the created content or compiling different content from various places and putting it all together. An example would be I collect various types of Buildings in Second life, various types of Furniture and then put them in a house that I can then call my own. The very act of compiling different content and putting them in a certain arrangement can count as UGC again as that would be a new permutation. So a user could actually be creator as well. Somebody customizing their avatar to make it look a certain way could actually be UGC as well, since the user doesnt actually create anything new, but chooses a particular combination.
The impact on Virtual Worlds is that it leads to a rich set of environment that can be used by the world. Worlds like Second Life have leveraged this to become highly collaborative in nature and lead to immense amount of participation in their environment. When a person spends time on creating / customizing things they feel more attached to it and tend to build other things around it. So once one customized their avatar, they might want to get an area for their, hence the presence of house lenders in Second Life.
“They employ a team of virtual architects, some of whom have backgrounds with the Sims and Halo. Littlefield describes the visual quality of vSide as AAA, applied to a virtual social environment.”
The user basically has a MMORPG kind of interface where the user has a definite task like listening to music, finding easter eggs.
Another interesting thing that should be considered is that interactions with people can be in a way be UGC itself. The very nature of interactions can be interepreted as that.
Also at the same time, I feel that UGC is very important, and unlike what some people consider that UGC is secondary, my conclusion is that is perhaps the most important factor for VWs. VWs like Second life gives tools to its users who can build 3D models without the need for expensive 3d tools like Maya or trying to learn open source 3D tools like Blender.
Finally the last word from my side is that UGCs have been the reason for the Virtual Worlds success and the more collaboration that is manifested as user generated content are responsible for mass-adoption of Virtual Worlds.