Confusion over UGC, Social Media & Video

This is a conference season and we’ll find same people speaking at different conferences week after week. Next week I’m speaking on a panel at the ad:tech in Shanghai on User Generated Content. Over last 3 years I have seen this topic discussed to death so I’m busy thinking of what exactly has changed in UGC over last 3 years. Add to that we were casually informed that there are other panel topics like Social Media, Search & Video etc and we should not touch those topics or overlap. I was a bit shocked with that casual information and asked myself whether UGC would be of any relevance without Social Networks, Video Platforms, RSS, and Search. And the answer was NO. So I don’t think I can put UGC in a silo and frankly speaking I don’t know how to create that silo. Let me explain why –

People generate two types of content – long form content and short form content – and a small fraction of this content is original and rest consists of mashups. I personally think not much has changed in the long form content except the content generation, distribution & hosting platforms are much better & user friendly. I think short form content is really driving the growth of UGC – people putting out status messages on IM or Social Networks, people commenting on status or other updates, people tagging each other etc. I also think that the content distribution has become very sophisticated and hence people get to new content quickly. Essentially the ecosystem (Social Networks, Video Platforms, RSS, Emails, IMs, Search Engines, Publishing Platforms) around UGC has progressed tremendously and it is helping in making UGC popular.

I’m looking forward to raising some of these issues & discussing them on the panel. Lets see how that goes..