User Generated Content in the New Media

User Generated Content in the New Media

January 10th, 2008 | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy

This episode of Future Talks is on the question of what is about User Generated Content, or the people formerly known as consumers.

In the Future Talks online TV series, international futurists Glen Hiemstra and Gerd Leonhard engage in a conversation with Ralph Simon as he interviews them about the trends shaping the future of media. When discussing User Generated Content Glen and Gerd highlight such trends as …

The development of user generated content is changing our relationship to media creation, for both consumers and producers. With access to programming that allows one to effectively self-publish text, music, and video, the consumer is now content-provider, and in some cases becomes the content as well. As the wave of user generated material continues to swell, we’ll see increasing skill and sophistication of serious users attracting the attention of major media; attrition as casual users become bored and fall away; and a probable sustained level of activity in social networks, where self-generated content acts as the lubricant for these social connections.

Nothing says “user generated” like the blog. The strong desire on the part of so many people to express themselves on such a wide range of topics, interests, and concerns has changed the face of the web. In this first wave of experimentation, applications are all over the map. Content generators, “the people formerly know as consumers,” (Leonard) are engaged in the creation of serious, well-researched blogs on one end of the spectrum, and “sblogs,” the blog equivalent of spam, on the other. Furthermore, not all of the “user generated” content is truly generated; a fair portion is copied, linked to, and siphoned off. Of the bloggers who are actually generating their own content, a fair percentage of them (75%) will quit after the novelty has faded.

Others won’t. The user who is serious about creating high value content will extend a trend we’re already seeing: user generated platforms as launching pads for professional careers. It’s the electronic version of playing the gigs or doing the rounds. Hollywood producers tune in to YouTube, harvesting emerging talent. And the best and most ambitious of the blog writers have written their tickets into new careers.

On the social networking front, we’ll continue to see a lot of user-generated activity, as it is the users themselves who not only provide, but in effect become the content. In visiting a site across the globe, you shape its content with your “presence;” in connecting your social network to a favorite link, you build value into the network. In this we see an increased mingling of our physical and online lives, as the online world surpasses its earlier function of providing access to information, to now invite dynamic opportunities for creative self-expression as well.

This program and all the Future Talks programs are available at Media Conversations, both for viewing and as MP3 downloads. And the entire series can be obtained as free podcasts from iTunes. (At the iTunes store, search for “media conversations.”)

Glen Hiemstra is a futurist speaker, consultant, blogger, internet TV show host and founder of To arrange for a speech contact

Glen Hiemstra

About Glen Hiemstra

Glen Hiemstra is the founder and owner of An internationally respected expert on future trends, long-range planning and creating the preferred future, Glen has advised professional, business, and governmental organizations for two decades.


  1. Ediblebed   |   May 7, 2008

    To understand this important story, you have to understand how the telephone
    company works. Your telephone is connected to a local computer, which is in
    turn connected to a regional computer, which is in turn connected to a
    loudspeaker the size of a garbage truck on the lawn of Edna A. Bargewater of
    Lawrence, Kan.

    Whenever you talk on the phone, your local computer listens in. If it
    suspects you’re going to discuss an intimate topic, it notifies the computer
    above it, which listens in and decides whether to alert the one above it,
    until finally, if you really humiliate yourself, maybe break down in tears
    and tell your closest friend about a sordid incident from your past
    involving a seedy motel, a neighbor’s spouse, an entire religious order, a
    garden hose and six quarts of tapioca pudding, the top computer feeds your
    conversation into Edna’s loudspeaker, and she and her friends come out on
    the porch to listen and drink gin and laugh themselves silly.
    — Dave Barry, “Won’t It Be Just Great Owning Our Own Phones?”


  2. J Hill   |   Jan 13, 2008

    Wanted to ask if you had watched Current TV at all. I thought it wouldn’t be good, and I was wrong. It is the most interesting new thing I have seen on TV. Felt fresh. If you havn’t, I recommend it.