Users & consumers are people too

I’m in D.C. for a presentation in the morning, but I wanted to take a moment to write about my endless distaste for the phrases “user-generated” or “consumer-generated” content.

Who writes this stuff anyway? Could there be anything more disrespectful to the people formerly known as the audience than to reference them this way? Users? Consumers?

Here’s what bugs me. J.D. Lasica’s wonderful term, the Personal Media Revolution, describes a very real revolution in terms of media. His book, Darknet: Hollywood’s War Against the Digital Generation is one of those must-have books, if you want to understand what’s really going on. And what’s going on is that people — those formerly known as the audience — are taking matters into their own hands. The revolution is a real one, and it’s against, in part, the people who come up with terms like “user-generated” or “consumer-generated” content. They’re not users. They’re not consumers. They’re people!

We make these condescending terms, because we still think of us as an “us” and the audience as “them.” In the Media 2.0 world, we’re all the same, and that’s the key to unlocking creativity in building platforms of information service.

I realize that the modernist marketing world needs to create slots for everything, because logic works that way. But collaboration isn’t a one-way street, and not everybody’s dying to get their stuff to us ’cause we’re the mighty media. Nuh-uh. We’re in this new media thing together.

In the words of the immortal Gordon Borrell, “The deer now have guns.” We’re smart if we respect that and stupid if we don’t.

Comments

  1. ICE
    Individual Created Expression

  2. While you’re at it, we don’t produce content either.

  3. thedetroitchannel says

    lends credence to the oft used term “the people formerly known as people” too.

Trackbacks

  1. The “WE” who Condescend to the “THEY” and the Personal Media Revolution

    Terry Heaton doesn’t like the terms user-generated or consumer-generated content. He says, Could there be anything more disrespectful to the people formerly known as the audience than to reference them this way? Users? Consumers?As I read this, I thou…

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