Understanding User Generated Content

User generated content (UGC, often hyphenated), also known as Consumer Generated Media (CGM[1] or User created Content (UCC[2], refers to various kinds of media content, publicly available, that are produced by end-users[3].

The term entered mainstream usage during 2005 after arising in web publishing and new media content production circles. It reflects the expansion of media production through new technologies that are accessible and affordable to the general public. These include digital videobloggingpodcasting, news, gossip, research, mobile phone photography and wikis. In addition to these technologies, user generated content may also employ a combination of open sourcefree software, and flexible licensing or related agreements to further diminish the barriers to collaborationskill-building and discovery.

Sometimes UGC can constitute only a portion of a website. For example on Amazon.com the majority of content is prepared by administrators, but numerous user reviews of the products being sold are submitted by regular visitors to the site.

Often UGC is partially or totally monitored by website administrators to avoid offensive content or language, copyright infringement issues, or simply to determine if the content posted is relevant to the site's general theme.