Category Archives: What is UGC?

Baffled? Let us explain

Happy 5th Birthday Twitter!


We came across the word ‘twitter’, and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,’ and ‘chirps from birds’. And that’s exactly what the product was.” – Founder Jack Dorsey

Conception

It’s five years ago this weekend that developers at the Odeo podcasting company in San Francisco began work on their new project: an SMS service allowing individuals to communicate with a small group. On 21 March 2006  Jack Dorsey published the first ever Twitter message:

“just setting up my twttr”

The Early Years

Originally a service for Odeo employees, Twitter went public on 15 July, 2006. But its lucky break would have to wait another year – for the South by Southwest (SXSW)  film, music and interactive festival in Austin, Texas, held in March 2007. During the event, delegates’ tweets were streamed live on prominent plasma screens by Twitter employees, and the service quickly became flavour of the conference, with overall daily tweets increasing from 20,000 to 60,000. By February 2010, that number was 50 million.

Twitter Today

Its breezy name belies a medium that’s shown huge social and political strength. Although the majority of messages posted are indeed banal chit-chat, some of the traffic has had a big impact. The most obvious example is the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, in which Twitter was deployed by protestors to rally and communicate with each other on a mass scale, and to subvert the authorities’ crackdowns  by enabling protestors to share information directly with journalists.

Twitter at five has certainly remained true to its roots: unlike Facebook it remains resolutely a fountain of ‘short bursts of information’. But many are far from inconsequential.

CARON BELL

Top of the UGC Pops


Everyone loves a good count down so here are the top 15 most popular 2.0 websites (that’s user generated to you and me). Compiled by eBizMBA (The eBusiness Knowledgebase) in March 2011 it comes complete with their estimated unique monthly visitors. And some of these are seriously good websites. You have been warned. Enjoy!

15 | Wikia – 21,1000,000

At number 15, Wikia, “written by community members that are passionate about subjects ranging from video games, TV shows and movies to food, fashion, and environmental sustainability.”

14 | deviantART – 21,500,000

Commonly abreviated to DA, Deviant Art is a sharing site where people can post and comment on art. As of August 2010 the site has over 14.5 million members, and over 100 million submissions, receiving around 140,000 submissions per day. In addition, deviantArt users submit over 1.4 million “favorites” and 1.5 million comments daily. In 2009 DevianART even went on a world tour.

13 | HubPages – 24,500,000

HubPages is a website designed around sharing advertising revenue for user-generated articles and other content on specific subjects. Users (known as Hubbers) submit magazine-style articles posted as individual webpages (referred to as Hubs). Users retain all intellectual property rights to their Hubs and can delete them at any time. In May 2010, HubPages was recognized as one of the “2010 Hottest Silicon Valley Companies” by Lead411.

12 | TypePad – 26,000,000

Typepad is a blogging service launched in 2003. TypePad is currently used by many large organizations and media companies to host their weblog, including ABC, MSNBC, CBC, BBC and Sky News.

11 | digg 27,500,000

Digg is a social news website set up in 2004. It lets people vote for stories, literally ranking them and allowing the stories to go up or down (hence term Digging) on a scale of popularity.

At the “Bigg Digg Shindigg” in 2010, which is part of the South by Southwest Interactive Conference – see the last blogpost – Jay Adleson, the CEO of the company, talked about the need to constantly change and update the way the website is run. Despite this, it’s said Digg has run in to difficulties after the latest version Digg v4 was launched in 2011. The site was uncontactable for weeks after the launch, so much so that disgruntled Digg users declared August 30, 2010 as the ‘quit Digg day’. Despite this it still makes the top fifteen at number 11.

10 | eHow 43,000,000

Ehow is like a dictionary of skills. Touch a button and instantly you know how to change a doorknob, teach good oral hygiene to your kids (it’s American of course), how to know if someone is lying, how to make a home first aid kit and the list goes on. The site has more than 1 million articles and 170,000 how-to videos. Ehow has a number of freelancers who write the articles, ehow members can network by building a profile, creating a network, comment on articles and interact on the online forums. It’s worth 1.8 billion.

9 | Blogger – 70,000,000

A blog publishing service that allows private or multi-user blogs withtime-stamped entries.

It was one of the earliest dedicated blogger publishing tools, launched in 2003, and dedicated with helping to expand blogging. Started by Pyra Labs, it was bought by google in 2003 which modernised the format. Fact: blogger has been banned in the following countries: Fiji, China, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Myanmar, Cuba, Turkey and Kazakstan.

8 | Photobucket 70,500,000

Photobucket is an image hosting, video hosting, slideshow creation and photoshowing website. It allows people to share and hold their own private photo albums, but also lets them share them publicly if they wish.

7 | flickr 75,000,000

Another image and video publishing site and online community now owned by yahoo! It is also used by bloggers who use the service is widely used by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media. In september 2010 it was said that 5 billion images were being hosted by flickr. Flickr offers two types of accounts: Free and Pro. Free account users are allowed to upload 300 MB of images a month and 2 videos. Pro accounts allow users to upload an unlimited number of images and videos every month and receive unlimited bandwidth and storage.

Flickr asks photo submitters to organize images using tags (a form of metadata), which enable searchers to find images related to particular topics, such as place names or subject matter. Flickr was also an early website to implement tag clouds, which provide access to images tagged with the most popular keywords.

Another little fact…In May 2009, White House official photographer Pete Souza began using Flickr as a conduit for releasing White House photos.

In October 2010 it was reported that Flickr, along with Facebook and other social networking sites, is being monitored by the US Department of Homeland Security.

6 | IMDB 80,000,000

Internet Movie Database does exactly what it says on the tin. It keeps information about shows, movies, actors, production crews. Started up in 1990 IMDb originated from a list started as a hobby by film enthusiast Col Needham in early 1989. One of the most used features of the Internet Movie Database is the message boards that coincide with every title (excepting, as of 2010, TV episodes) and name entry, along with over 140 main boards.

5 | WordPress – 88,000,000

Our blog is run by wordpress as are 13% of over 1,000,000 biggest websites. Another great fact right? The brilliant thing about wordpress is how easy it is to use, it’s quick to get up and running and simple to navigate. And this is important when more people are blogging then ever before. Between the 5 Your2pencers we have more than 9 blogs up and running.

As of February 2011, version 3.0 had been downloaded over 32.5 million times.

4 | twitter – 89,800,000

A microblogging site, the most you can say in one go or ‘tweet’ is 140 characters -the same as a text message. Set up in 2006, it’s estimated Twitter has 190 million users, generating 65 million tweets a day and handling over 800,000 search queries per day. Woah there, I know, a lot to handle.

In Feb 2011, it was worth around $3.7 billion.

People on twitter include news agencies, public figures and governments , celebrities…who could forget the Liz Hurley/ Shane Warne tweet flirts… and of course journalism students.

Follow the people behind Your2pence at @HarrietBird @thedesertfox @sjhbradley @caronbell @bellrebeccabell @ltowersoflondon

3 | craigslist – 90,000,000

Known by me mainly for flat hunting purposes Craigslist is a sort of centralised network of communities, it allows people to post adverts for jobs, flats, gigs, services and forums.

Craig Newmark began the service in 1995 after moving to San Francisco and feeling a little out of the loop. He observed people helping one another in friendly, social and trusting communal ways on the Internet via theWELL, MindVox and Usenet and so set up his own.

A little fact for you: On June 16, 2009, “Weird Al” Yankovic released a song entitled “Craigslist” which is a parody of the website, done in the style of The Doors.

2 | Wikipedia – 250,000,000

Calling itself a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project, Wikipedia is the largest and most popular reference work on the internet. Launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, Wikipedia has 18 million articles (over 3.5 million in english) and can be edited by anyone who has access to the site.

Good fact wikipedia comes from the Haiwan word for quick (wiki) added with pedia from encylopedia. Clever hey?

And at number one, the Top of the User Generated Pops goes to…

1 | YouTube – 400,000,000

The video sharing site has only been around since 2005 but now boasts 400 million hits a month. Users can upload, share, and view videos.

It’s made cult heroes out of the ordinary every day person – who can forget david after dentist, light sabre boy and charlie bit my fingure – the most viewed user generated video on you tube. And its worth a fair bit – bought by google in November 2006 for $1.6bn. Wow.

So there we go the big 15. I’d really urge you to take a look and discover how to use some of these sites. I’m going to go and ehow a lot of stuff now. Many thanks to Wikipedia for being my excellent reference library.

The Rise of UGC – a Timeline


Check out a timeline I’ve built on Dipity charting the growth of UCG and associated technologies since the mid 1990’s. It all happened so quickly! (And in the true spirit of UGC, if I’ve missed out any massive milestones, let me know!)

CARON BELL

UGC Past, Present and Future


You could say that User Generated Content is a new name for an age-old concept. Since the early days of Fleet Street readers have been keen to give their tuppence-worth by writing letters to the editor. Radio and Television broadcasting ignited the trend of text and phone-ins to engage their audiences.

However, when the term User Generated Content entered mainstream usage in 2005, the Joe Public’s interaction with media was rapidly changing from passive to interactive. On the day of the July 7 bombings it was the dramatic stills and videos from passengers on the tube that led the BBC’s 6 O’clock bulletin, far removed from the eyes of professional journalists. Suddenly mass media organisations saw the significance of the citizen journalist to broadcast news – not only to comment on it, but also to break it. As a result journalists are increasingly looking to tap into users’ own platforms as well as curating the material that comes through their own websites.

The arrival of UGC saw a shift from media organizations creating professional content to producing web services that allow amateurs to publish their own content – think YouTube, Twitter, Digg and the Guardian CommentIsFree website. The one-way media of the past (the letters and phone-ins) had become a two-way, conversational media. Today web users are able to establish relationships and build communities with like-minded people, or debate with different-minded people. The net provides an unlimited amount of space for people to exchange opinions and ideas.

In contrast to traditional media web users have few barriers to entry – it’s easy to post a comment and you’re more or less guaranteed publication. And you don’t need to send something to mainstream media to reach large audiences – one of today’s top watched YouTube videos Yellow Socks has 2,519,238 viewers, 96,755 comments and counting…

With YouTube users loading 24 hours of new video content a minute, Twitter receiving approximately 28,000 unique visitors a month, and the Guardian.co.uk getting half a million comments a month and rising, UGC is an ever increasing phenomenon. The question is how to control the content from third parties whilst retaining a sense of accessibility and freedom of expression. And how to trawl the millions of daily comments, links and postings most efficiently to unearth those few golden nuggets of information.

EMILY ARCHER