The internet today is fueled by user generated content. UGC refers to any form of content that is created and voluntarily shared by unpaid contributors on publicly accessible platforms. Whether it’s a video, blog post, tweet, review, or podcast, UGC is published without promotional motives and allows everyday users to share their voices.
Unlike content produced by brands, companies, and paid professionals, user generated content comes straight from the minds and hands of regular people. It taps into an army of internet users to crowdsource, co-create, and disseminate content in a decentralized way. This makes UGC feel authentic, raw, and human compared to slick corporate content.
You can find user generated content across the entire online landscape today. Social networks are overflowing with UGC in the form of posts, photos, comments and more. Review platforms like Yelp and TripAdvisor thrive on UGC in the form of consumer reviews. Wikis, forums, podcasts, livestreams — the list goes on.
Let’s break it down. Content must fulfill three requirements in order to be classified as UGC:
When these three conditions are met, you have user generated content in its purest form. This authentic, un-incentivized content holds a great deal of influence today thanks to its trustworthiness and transparency.
Now let’s explore some prime examples of user generated content across the web
Here are some of the best UCG examples:
The updates published by users on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok etc. This includes written posts, photos, videos, audio clips, stories, and any other media formats supported by the platforms. Users spontaneously distribute these among their internet networks.
Product, service, business, app, and location reviews contributed by consumers to crowdsourced review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Glassdoor, Play Store, and App Store. These include star ratings, text reviews, photos, and videos documenting first-hand user experiences.
The wide range of forums and online bulletin boards where users exchange information, give advice, and engage in discussions around topics of common interest. Popular examples are Reddit, Quora, and niche hobby/interest forums.
The articles, personal stories, tutorials, opinion pieces, and other content published by unpaid bloggers on their own websites or blogging platforms. Blog comments written by readers in response to posts also qualify as UGC.
Collaboratively edited wikis like Wikipedia and Wikitravel which allow users to contribute and edit informational articles on every topic imaginable. These feature crowdsourced knowledge from volunteers.
The wide spectrum of vlogs, tutorials, commentary, citizen journalism, and other videos uploaded by regular YouTube users to share original or curated content. Not promotional videos from brands.
Audio shows recorded and published by hobbyist podcasters on topics they’re passionate about, not as promotional material. Distributed through platforms like Apple Podcasts.
The user-submitted questions and answers on public Q&A platforms like Quora, Yahoo Answers, Stack Overflow, and forums. The purpose of the content is information sharing.
Publicly accessible galleries showcasing photos, images, GIFs, and visual content uploaded and shared by users, like Imgur, Flickr or Photo Bucket.
Original fiction, fanfiction, poetry, and stories penned and uploaded by writers to platform like Wattpad, Webnovel, and Archive of Our Own.
Real-time user broadcasts of gaming, vlogging, chatting, performances, and other content livestreamed through Twitch, TikTok, and other platforms.
Product reviews, comments, complaints, suggestions, and other user-submitted feedback shared directly with brands and businesses.
User-made pledges and commitments submitted to platforms like PledgeMe and CommitChange centered around personal growth goals.
User-generated location tags, reviews, tips, and check-ins on location-based apps like Foursquare, Swarm, Google Maps.
Q&A, troubleshooting, best practices, and other crowdsourced information exchange between users on product support forums.
UGC gives regular internet users a voice and platform to share their knowledge, opinions, creativity, and experiences. It harnesses the power of crowdsourcing to produce a rich bank of content at a massive scale. For brands, UGC offers authenticity that paid advertising can’t match. That’s why user generated content continues to thrive and dominate the social web.
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