I followed the thread about how bad a term “user generated content,” is and I fully agree. It misses the point completely, so completely that it betrays a perspective bug.
The value of writing publicly on the Internet is that you can solve problems quickly, by using a network of people who pool what they know to create something larger. When the Internet works this is why it works. It’s why conferences of VCs and their employees miss the point on technologies like RSS and even new stuff like Amazon S3 (which isn’t actually entirely new, but it’s still cool, very).
Without the Internet to develop RSS, it would have turned into something like CDF or ICE. Never heard of them? Exactly my point. S3 is likely to benefit from the Internet as a development platform because it will require a healthy sharing of ideas to make it work. Whether Amazon realizes this and lets it happen will determine whether S3 is a go or a no-go.
You need a village to raise a child, and you need an Internet to fully develop an idea.
In the 80s I called my outliners “idea processors” to focus on the application over the technology. But even then I was sure that networking was going to amplify the power of these tools. In that way, instead of thinking of “user generated content” think of the Internet as an idea processor, and you’ll be much closer to the power of what’s going on.