Just to weigh in on this whole rush by NBC, CBS/Viacom, and a million other websites, etc to capitalize on User-Generated-Content – pardon my language, but I think it’s bullshit.
And the reason I think it’s BS?
I work in the entertainment business. I make my living here. I have worked very hard to gain knowledge and experience. BUT, what it is about me that makes me good at telling a story and about relating my beliefs or values to someone else has really very little to do with which agency I’m working with or what network I may be broadcasting on.
It has to do with what kind of a human being I am. It has to do with being as genuine as possible. It has to do with human experiences.
What does this seemingly existential observation have to do with User-Generated-Content?
The entertainment industry has spent many years and many billions creating an impenetrable sense of Us, and Them.
We are Creators, They are Users.
We are the purveyors and controllers of all that is good (as we deem it to be) and They are the ones who snatch up our crumbs of creative genius to fulfill their lives.
The day and age where messages were broadcast and heard in only a few places, with a few voices, the generations bought this.
But the Internet, and it’s enabling of unmanaged, uncontrolled, unstoppable and wonderful communication changes all of this.
As the Cluetrain so perfectly puts it: “Companies need to realize their markets are often laughing; at them.” and in order for that to be ok, companies must realize that a dialogue with their market – with their other selves, is OK. As a matter of fact, it’s GREAT!
In reality, We are Them, and They are Us.
We are human. We have human experiences – some of us have a passion and ability to communicate those experiences in ways that connect and inform other people who hear that communication and in doing so it enriches, informs, or entertains those other people.
It doesn’t make us better than them, it makes us more like them.
This is the black fear that the thousands of richly paid people in our business run from – because if we are more like our audience, then perhaps we’re not worth as much when it comes to the mountains of money that agents, network execs and “high end” creatives bathe in.
As once said in the first “Matrix” movie:
“There is no spoon.”
There is no division between us in Hollywood and everyone else out there – save for our access to money, and tools and know how.
The minute we figure out how to efficiently and passionately share those resources with others who have something to say in ways that our fellow human beings stop and say “Hey! I get that!” is the minute the *real* disruption in the entertainment business begins.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.