I have just read an interview in the October .Net magazine with Andrew Keen. Andrew is self proclaimed as one of the most hated people on the net because of his criticism of Web 2.0, current social network habits and online culture. As hated as he may be by the masses, I feel most of what he is talking about is very intelligent, and well worth listening to. Are the sites like YouTube, MySpace and Flickr ultimately rather evil? Is user generated content the future of entertainment? Or is it just a big scam to drive traffic and sell advertisements, and line the pockets of the already wealthy. Here is an excerpt from the .net interview:
.net: Why don’t you like user-generated content and social networks? Isn’t it great that the power is in the hands of the people now?
AK: Who says that power is in the hands of the people? I don’t see any evidence of this. The A-list bloggers – mostly rich, white men in silicon valley – are no more representative of the “people” than any other traditional cultural or economic elite. The only “people” economically benefiting from user generated content are the millionaires at Google, YouTube, MySpace and Flickr.
User generated content is a huge scam. It’s a way for the owners of sites such as YouTube and MySpace to get content for free, drive massive audiences and then sell advertising around it. If the content has any value, then the creators should sell it…
Consider The Effect Of Your Actions In Social Networks
I think it is hard to argue that there isn’t a financial drive in the motive behind any venture on the net. Ultimately the reason why these types of sites are started are to make money, and I don’t think you can hold it against the pioneers of these sites for having a great idea in the first place. However, it is worth at least considering the effect of your actions when creating content for someone else. When you upload a video to YouTube and it is viewed thousands of times, who is making money from it? Not you. Would you be happy if you knew what sort of revenue was being generated from your MySpace blog.
When you invite an email friend to join a social network like MySpace, you are giving their email away. On MySpace you can’t even read a private message or comment without visiting the site, which is littered with in your face advertising.
Where Does Blogging Fit Into The Picture?
Most blog platforms allow you to place your own advertisements. You can make money from blogging. You can produce content, and drive traffic to a site where you benefit. And when you own the domain that the blog is on, there are also long term benefits, such as page rank, profile and branding etc.
Content that you create, under your own name, on your own domain, on your own blog creates value for you. Content that you create anonymously, for a large social network site like MySpace or YouTube, creates value from someone else. On that note here is some user generated content created by someone else, that I feel adds particular value to this topic:
Prometeus – The Media Revolution: