User-Generated Content

Jon Udell calls it reader-created context and explains:

Everything about this buzzphrase annoys me. First, calling people “users” is pernicious. It distances and dehumanizes, and should be stricken from the IT vocabulary (see Those clueless users) as well as from the publishing vocabulary. IT has customers and clients, not users. IT-oriented publishers have readers, not users.

Second, “content” is a word that reminds me more of sausage than of storytelling (see Sausage, traffic, and clueless users). As writers and editors we don’t “generate” “content,” we tell stories that inform, educate, and entertain — or should.

Now that the original vision of a two-way web is finally made real, we can distinguish between amateur storytellers (in the best and highest sense of amateur) and professional storytellers. Thanks to the contributions of the amateurs — who are of course professional practitioners of the disciplines that we “cover” — we can tell deeper, richer, more well-informed stories about the products and services they create, and the work they do. Those stories are valuable, and the business I want to be in is based on that value, not on the “monetization” of “user-generated content”.

Beyond Google

The Economist writes at the state of search:

Google’s problem today, says Chris Sherman, the executive editor of SearchEngineWatch, an online industry newsletter, is that they regard themselves as the best, and yet they don’t really seem to have a clear strategy, which seems to make them dabble aimlessly.

Yahoo!, the largest internet portal with about 400m users (of its e-mail, instant-messaging, music and other products), has spotted this weakness and come up with a strategy to differentiate its own search engine. Yahoo! has been at this game for only two yearsit used to use Google for its search technology, until it realised that this was the most profitable part of the businessbut now has hundreds of engineers working on it. In contrast to the quasi-religious faith that Google places in its mathematical algorithms, says Eckart Walther, one of Yahoo!’s search bosses, Yahoo! is about combining the best of people with the best of technology.

The idea, Mr Walther says, is to look not only at links between websites but also links between people and thus to use social search to solve subjective queries.

Utilicom

[via Anish] Thomas Anglero writes:

In brief, Utilicom is the emergence of the only global industry with more money, political importance (the US is currently fighting a war to protect it) and arrogance to usurp the global Telecommunication industry without realizing that that small bump it just drove-over was the death of a 150 year-old industry. Utilicom is the emergence of the Utility companies upon the world stage of communication.

The Energy companies are the Poseidons of Utilicom. While Telecom companies focus on M&A of each other, the Energy companies will allow this to transpire because its a waste of capital and is clearly unnecessary. This was proven last week by Orange UK (France Telecom) who threw-down the gauntlet on broadband DSL and unlimited nationwide calling by practically giving it away (about $9 USD) to anyone willing to be an Orange UK mobile subscriber.

Let me repeat this, a mobile company just gave away the income stream of every fixed-line incumbent Telco on the planet earth for $9 and simultaneously created new mindshare in the market that the essence of value has shifted from one domain to another. This “Value apocalypse” will be the primary premise by which your Utility company will utilize to establish itself as your primary energy and communications company.