Writing & Editing for Digital
Week 9: User Generated Content,
Crowd Sourcing and Citizen
Public Service Announcements
See me to get your assignment back
If you handed in a late assignment without the
extension form attached, you lost marks. Hand in
the form ASAP to get your marks back!
Feedback on assignments - make sure your links are
For further help with links, check out: http://dev.
Public Service Announcements
"Ongoing content creation, discussion and participation"
Regular new content (minimum once a week)
Correctly formatted hyperlinks with informative link text
Use of relevant multimedia resources
Serve the audience - helpful how-tos, links and information
about useful resources or events.
Great, original writing & lateral thinking!
Discussion & Participation
Comment on other student's blogs
Make an effort to host & respond to comments on your blog
Cross promote your blog and other student blogs where
"The people formerly known as the
audience" (Rosen, 2006)
100 million mental hours have
been put into creating
(Source: Jane McGonigal, Webstock 2009)
On Flickr's 5th birthday, it was hosting 3.2
billion photos and videos, had 3 billion page
views per month, and was receiving 5,000
new uploads PER MINUTE.
(Source: Heather Champ, Flickr Community Manager, Webstock 2009)
"Who are these people? Seriously, who actually sits down
after a long day at work and says, I'm not going to
watch Lost tonight. I'm going to turn on my computer and
make a movie starring my pet iguana? I'm going to mash up
50 Cent's vocals with Queen's instrumentals? I'm going to
blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or
the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has
that time and that energy and that passion?
The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global
media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy,
for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own
game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you."
Key points from Jay Rosen:
Media production is no longer one-way (creator-> consumer) - now it's
Consumers are now also creators (Axel Bruns calls this "Produsage")
Media companies no longer dictate when, where or on how you access
(daily newspaper or TV broadcast -> 24 hour online news, accessed by
mobile device or phone, time shifted, downloaded or replayed)
Web audiences tend to form "user communities around our favorite
Online, we tend to form "user communities around our favorite spaces":
"If you want to attract a community around you, you must offer them
something original and of a quality that they can react to and incorporate
in their creative work.” (Tom Glocer, Reuters)
Key points from danah boyd:
Networks are increasingly important because of the impact
technology has had on the way we live and the way we gain and
" Technology has made networks essential"
Information is acquired in three ways: push, pull, and osmosis.
osmosis - 'drive by info' - eg seeing Yahoo headlines when
you're logging into your webmail
Push - traditional education, TV, radio are all forms of
"You may have choice in which channel you allow stuff to be
pushed from, but it's still streaming content at you."
Pull - RSS subscriptions, search, etc - the networked effect of
links for learning & education
Key points from danah boyd:
"Today, youth are also information pushers and they have more ways in which they can
push what matters to them...Many youth are active creators, producers, and
distributors... today's youth traffic in content."
"What this means is that youth's access to certain types of information is increasingly
framed by their networks. When I ask teens how they found out about a particular
video or website or many other things, the answer is pretty universal: "my friends."
"As a result of this networked ecology, information is a form of currency. Status is
attained through the trafficking of content. The cooler the content, the more status is to
be attained by being the one to show it off to your friends."
What is User Generated Content?
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines UCG as having three
requirements: Publication, creativity and that it be non-professional (unpaid).
Publication requirement: While UGC could be made by a user and never published online or elsewhere, we focus
here on the work that is published in some context, be it on a publicly accessible website or on a page on a social
networking site only accessible to a select group of people (eg, fellow university students). This is a useful way to
exclude email, two-way instant messages and the like.
What is User Generated Content?
Creative effort: This implies that a certain amount of creative effort was put into creating the work or adapting
existing works to construct a new one; i.e. users must add their own value to the work. UGC often also has a
collaborative element to it, as is the case with websites which users can edit collaboratively. For example, merely
copying a portion of a television show and posting it to an online video website (an activity frequently seen on the UGC
sites) would not be considered UGC. If a user uploads his/her photographs, however, expresses his/her thoughts in a
blog, or creates a new music video, this could be considered UGC. Yet the minimum amount of creative effort is hard to
define and depends on the context.
What is User Generated Content?
Creation outside of professional routines and practices: User generated content is generally created outside of
professional routines and practices. It often does not have an institutional or a commercial market context. In extreme
cases, UGC may be produced by non-professionals without the expectation of profit or remuneration. Motivating factors
include: connecting with peers, achieving a certain level of fame, notoriety, or prestige, and the desire to express oneself.
Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User-generated_content)
What is User Generated Content?
Q&A databases - Metafilter (http://ask.metafilter.com/)
$5 membership allows you to post comments, customize the look and
behavior of the site.
The privilege of posting links to main page comes after posting a few
comments and being a member for at least a week. This lag is built in to allow
new members to get used to the place and to understand what other members
consider good links.
Check out the new user guide: http://www.metafilter.com/newuser.mefi
YouTube - vodcasts/blogs, responses, mashups, fan videos
Blogging - Blogger, WordPress.com
User content uploaded to social networking sites & blog sites
Often a business will host a site for UCG, and attempt to
make money from it via advertising or other means
Social networks and social blogsites are examples of
this model - eg Facebook, LiveJournal.
The ability for even hobby bloggers to sign up to place
Google Ads on their blogs, or join blog ad networks like
Nuffnang mean that the line between unpaid and paid
content creators is now blurry.
The professional/UCG hybrid
Some websites/publications contain a mixture of professional/UCG content
Amazon - professional site which employers editors, but with a large amount of
UGC (reader reviews, lists)
Salon - professional web publication with a user blogging platform, Open Salon
Registered users can have a blog on Open Salon, as well as rating and commenting on other posts, messaging other members, and more.
The Open Salon home page functions like "a real-time magazine cover". It highlights the best content, but also what other members are
reading, rating and commenting on. A new issue goes up every evening; which is updated the following morning and "as necessary"
In the near future, we'll begin featuring the best Open Salon content on the cover of Salon.com. We'll also be unveiling ways for you to
earn money for your great work on Open.
Split into three groups - one to represent users/creators, one to
represent publishers, and one to represent community
managers/editors working on a UGC site.
Each group should work together to write a response to the following
hypothetical scenarios. How would you respond?
The site: LiveJournal
The problem: A user has reported another user saying her user picture (which
depicted breastfeeding) is inappropriate content.
In 2006, a controversy erupted amongst users of the LiveJournal service (at that
time, owned by Six Apart) when some users were asked to remove default user
pictures containing images of breast feeding that were deemed inappropriate as
they contained a view of nipples or areolae.
The incident was picked up by breast feeding advocacy groups and others who
were opposed to breastfeeding images being 'censored' as though they were sexual
Identify the main issues that need to be addressed. How would you respond?
How did LiveJournal respond?
LiveJournal responded by changing the FAQ on appropriate content for default
user pictures. The original FAQ said that graphic sexual content was not
appropriate. The FAQ was changed to say that nudity is not appropriate
in default user pictures; Breastfeeding pictures were not restricted by the original
FAQ, and the current FAQ reflects the fact that they are only restricted from use as
a default user picture. It should be noted that breastfeeding pictures are still
allowed as user pictures that may be manually chosen while posting but may not
be the default. (Source: Wikipedia)
LiveJournal also published an explanation and apology: http://community.
The site: Flickr
The problem: Virgin Mobile published an ad campaign using photos from
Flickr, with slogans mocking the people in the photos. Now the parents of a
teenage girl whose photo was used is suing Virgin Mobile and the
Virgin's use of the photos under Creative Commons was legal, as there
wasn't a stipulation that the photo was for non-commercial use only.
However, one picture depicted 15 year-old Alison Chang at a fund-raising
carwash for her church, for which her family sued Virgin Mobile and
The case hinges on privacy, the right of people not to have their likeness used in an ad without
permission. So, while Mr. Wong may have given away his rights as a photographer, he did not, and
could not, give away Alison's rights. In the lawsuit, which Mr. Wong is also a party to, there is an
argument that Virgin did not honor all the terms of the nonrestrictive license.
On November 27, 2007, Chang filed for a voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit
against Creative Commons, focusing their lawsuit against Virgin Mobile.
Within days of the story of the courtcase being reported in the media,
Virgin withdrew the ads, replacing the Flickr photos on its website
While Virgin hadn't violated the terms of the CC license, it came in for
criticism because it had used a photo of a 15 year old girl in an ad
campaign without her permission (no model release was used). The fact
that the campaign was mocking her didn't help their position either.
The lawsuit, brought by her family and alleging invation of her rights,
especially her right to privacy, was thrown out of course due to lack of
jurisdiction. (Source: Wikipedia)
This term was coined by in Wired in 2006: The rise of
Crowdsoucing, by Jeff Howe
Originally seen as the next step beyond outsourcing,
crowdsourcing is a means of problem solving, or a
means of production, in which the challenge is thrown out
to the general public, usually via the internet
istockphoto allows any photographer to make their
photos available for a small fee - undercutting
professional photographers or galleries
The Guardian's crowdsourcing experiment - the MP expenses
170,000 documents reviewed in the first 80 hours, thanks to a visitor participation rate of 56 percent
REader recommendations & sharing of information
The Geek Feminism blog link roundup - If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, of
if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism” to bring them to our attention.
Kraft and the Vegemite iSnack 2.0 disaster.
48,000 names were suggested by members of the public
The name iSnack 2.0 was chosen and there was a loud
Kraft then announced they were changing the name
The Pro-Am Revolution
The social trend towards innovations which have come out of
"pro-am" (passionate, high skill amateurs) labour
open source technology
the invention of the mountain bike!
Highly recommended read!
Also see the TED video of Charles Leadbeater talking about
crowd-developed innovation: http://www.ted.com/index.
enabled by access to the internet and free publishing
Blogging: WordPress.com, etc
Live video: Ustream
The Pro-Am Revolution - people with the skills, passion
and time to produce independent citizen journalism to a
Problems for citizen journalists
*Companies claiming copyright on media uploaded to their
site (ie Facebook)
*Companies making it difficult to get your data *back* from
their site if you want to leave (proprietary file formats, difficult
*Companies soliciting and copyrighting material submitted by
citizen journalisms (Fairfax - SMH/The Age)
Global problems for citizen journalism
*Reporters without Borders- Press Freedom roundup 2008:
"Predatory activity is increasingly focused on the internet."
1 blogger killed
59 bloggers arrested
1,740 websites bocked, shut down or suspended
*more online journalists incarcerated than other journalists
for the first time
The Blogging Revolution by Antony Lowenstein
In 2008, someone was for the first time killed while acting as
a "Citizen Journalist"- Chinese businessman Wei Wenhua -
was beaten to death by cheguan (municipal plice) while
filming a clash with Tianmen demonstrators on 7 January
It couldn't happen here!
*Anti-terrorism laws being used against ctizen journalists in
Australia and the UK.
*NSW government encouraging citizens to submit photos
and video of crimes
March 2008 - Project View- Video Image Evidence on the
*Ben Grubb's article "Who watches the watchers" is in the
readings this week.
*Abuse of open acess to publishing -death threat against
newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt published on IndyMedia -
an illegal action by an individual which impacted on a
*The Howard and Rudd governments both gave their
support to the trial of ISP level internet filtering, which you
wouldn't have the option to opt out of.
*Family First Senator Steve Fielding and Independent Nick
Xenephon proposed filtering (censoring) additional material
in addition to the ACMA black list.
Tools for Citizen Journos
The Center for Media & Democracy - Sourcewatch
Wiki article of tools for Citizen Journalism
including the Reporters without Borders handbook for
bloggers and cyberdissidents
It includes advice on how to start a blog, get it picked up
by search engines, ethical guidelines and
recommendations for the bet tool to use-as well as
information on how to blog anonymously and technical
ways to get around censorship
Beware: Terms of service, copyright and censorship. Do
you want to control your own media and copyright?
September 2007 - a Flickr user sued Virgin Mobile for
using a Creative Commons licensed photo from Flickr in
an ad. No model release used.
I AM NOT A LAWYER!
In Australia, professional journalists go to jail while trying
to maintain the professional standard of protecting their
Non-professional citizen journos or bloggers are likely to
have even less legal protections.
The US was considering laws to protect bloggers in
2006, I'm not sure if it was passed.
Educate yourself on the laws around copyright,
Arts Law Centre of Australia Online - Legal issues for
EFF guide for bloggers - updated in Feb 2009