Look At That: Self-Created Content Is Suddenly Hot (Again?)

from the was-it-ever-not-hot? dept

For years, while people went on and on about the importance of copy protection to make sure that “content” would be available online, plenty of people knew not to be worried. Those who were complaining were almost always using “content” in a more traditional sense — as in the professional, broadcast style of content. What they kept forgetting is that the whole reason why the internet is useful, and why people flocked to it in the first place had nothing to do with that kind of content. It was about communication — which is a different kind of content. It’s user created content. Almost everything online that has really caught on has been about enabling that user created content, so it’s a bit funny to see the NY Times make it sound like user created content is suddenly a “hot” area. It’s always been a hot area online. What’s new is that more companies are recognizing this and building additional tools and resources to make it even easier for anyone to create and “publish” their own content. The examples in the Times article suggest just some of where the next generation of tools might be headed. Basic things like blogging tools were the last generation. What’s next is less about starting with a blank slate, but taking content and building on it — even if that goes against just about everything the “traditional” content industry thinks about how the world works. Tools like del.icio.us or Yahoo’s new wannabe-del.icio.us and even things like Google Maps (especially with the addition of Google Earth today) that let users do much more with the initial content show a brief glimpse of where some of this is headed. The individual pieces may not make much sense (and, as businesses, they may fail), but the concept is there. People use the internet to communicate — and we’re just at the beginning of what the next generation of tools will allow us to do.

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