“Sharing authorship and authority: user generated content and the cultural heritage sector” online now

I’ve put a rough and ready version of my paper from the UK museums and the web conference session on ‘The Personal Web’ online at Sharing authorship and authority: user generated content and the cultural heritage sector.

User-Generated Content Sites See Exponential Growth in UK Visitors

I missed this comCast report at the time (September 2006).

Leading User-Generated Content Sites See Exponential Growth in UK Visitors During the Past Year

“Web 2.0 is clearly architected for participation, as it attempts to harness the collective intelligence of Web users,” commented Bob Ivins, managing director of comScore Europe. “Many of the sites experiencing the fastest growth today are the ones that understand their audience’s need for expression and have made it easy for them to share pictures, upload music and video, and provide their own commentary, thus stimulating others to do the same. It is the classic network effect at work.”

While uniformly demonstrating strong traffic growth, UGC sites are also adept at keeping users engaged.

Interesting BBC article on the philosophy behind Craig’s List:

Initially it was mostly coming in via email which we would reply to, but we’ve grown so much that now the more common thing is you set up a series of discussion forums in which users bring up various things that they think are important to change or modify in some way.

Users talk amongst themselves about things we’re doing poorly or could be doing better, and then we’re able to observe that interaction. It proves to be a very kind of efficient and interesting and useful way, nowadays, of digesting that feedback.

The other important aspect that you might not imagine initially is that all of the feedback is coming in as ‘voting with their feet’. We just watch how people are using particular categories.

If we see that, ‘oh users want to do this and we’re not currently enabling this’, then we try to code up some changes to better enable them to do whatever that is.

Tagging goes mainstream?

“A December 2006 survey has found that 28% of internet users have tagged or categorized content online such as photos, news stories or blog posts. On a typical day online, 7% of internet users say they tag or categorize online content.

Tagging is gaining prominence as an activity some classify as a Web 2.0 hallmark in part because it advances and personalizes online searching. Traditionally, search on the web (or within websites) is done by using keywords. Tagging is a kind of next-stage search phenomenon – a way to mark, store, and then retrieve the web content that users already found valuable and of which they want to keep track. It is, of course, more tailored to individual needs and not designed to be the all-inclusive system”
Pew Internet and American Life project: Tagging

The report also goes into the definition of tagging as well as who tags and there’s an interview with David Weinberger on ‘Why Tagging Matters’.

User-generated content and the general public vs invited experts

We’ve been having discussions at work about the promises and challenges of user-generated content. In that light, this article is quite timely:

“The estranged founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia written entirely by members of the public, is to launch a rival that he says is less likely to be riddled with errors.
Larry Sanger says that vast swaths of the anarchic encyclopaedia he helped create in 2001 are in desperate need of an editor – and that is what he is promising for his new project.

Mr Sanger has begun signing up academics furious at the mistakes and generalisations they find on Wikipedia’s articles on their specialist subjects, and vowed to give these experts a special role to shape articles on Citizendium.org.”

Independent