PREDICTION in 2007 user gen content will become even more prominent and diverse

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by: Lynette Webb (with Dan Calladine)

User generated content, grassroots media, whatever you want to call it, had a huge impact in 2006. YouTube came from nowhere to end the year as one of the pre-eminent entertainment sites online and a fascinating window into the bizarreness of daily life.

Blogging continued to diversify and there was a rise in ‘serious’ professional blogs. Uploading photos became standard practice, as a means of sharing and storage, and some led by Flickr even forged new forms of online community.

In 2007 we’ll see user-generated content become even more prominent and diverse. For example:

**** Services and tools will emerge in 2007 to make creatively editing video, mashing it with other content, adding overlays (eg: speech bubbles, hyperlinks within video, etc) and so forth, far easier and quicker. This will permit user generated video content to become more elaborate than just the typical webcam stream (although we’ll still see a lot of that too).

**** In addition to the adhoc clips, we’ll start to get more series akin to “Lonely Girl”. The best of these will jump from online to mainstream media. In 2007 at least one major network will announce a primetime, broadcast TV show made entirely of user-generated content.

**** In 2007 we’ll see the arrival of a ‘badge’ as a mark of professionalism for leading blogs, provided by a respected news brand. Although this will still be arms-length, as for legal reasons such companies can’t be seen to be endorsing the specifics of every post, but it will represent a mark of respect and legitimacy. We’ll also increasingly see leading bloggers crossing over and writing articles in mainstream press; and vice versa. By end-2007 it will be accepted practice for journalists to have a companion blog on which they expand on articles they’ve written, respond to comments and solicit opinions.

**** Politicians, CEOs, and field technicians will continue to see their casual foul-ups broadcast to the world, thanks to video sharing sites. And not only will they be broadcast to the world when they happen, they’ll be remembered and regularly dredged up and increasingly incorporated into montages Daily Show style. (If you haven’t seen Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show”, one of the most wonderful features is when they juxtapose what politicians said in the past with what they’ve just said in the news… it can be hilarious, ego popping and sometimes downright terrifying).

**** An auto-blogging service will launch, which will capture a person’s online behavior (playing a game, buying a book, posting to a message board, etc) and create a "feed of me”. Just like Flickr, people will be able to set whether this is private, available to selected friends only, or broadcast to anyone who wants it. A surprising number of people will be comfortable with the latter.


**** Classic content providers are increasingly talent-spotting in user-generated content sites. Advertisers and their agencies should do the same. Not only can it spark ideas, it can also lead to some interesting collaborations.

**** Don’t don’t don’t be tempted to launch a flog aka a fake blog for your product. You’ll get found out eventually and any short term benefit will be obliterated by the fallout. As my colleague Gary put it “Why, oh why are people still launching fake blogs? Who doesn’t realized by now that this is a bad idea? It’s like the headline is "Man surprised that hitting self in the head with hammer hurts, causes bruise".…

**** Think of sites like YouTube as being a new genre of TV channel, but with different rules for success. Be creative in how you seek to use them and don’t be afraid to experiment.

**** Be a good sport if someone creates a send-up of your ad, or does something creative with your product (so long as it’s not hurting anyone). It means they’re talking about you and even if it’s not what you’d ideally want them to say, it’s better than not being noticed at all. Getting huffy and responding with a “big company corporate” response is only going to prolong & worsen the problem. (Learn from Coke-Mentos).

This is part of a series of predictions for 2007 developments, prepared jointly with my colleague, Dan Calladine, for Isobar Global.

Special thanks to Gary Stein at Ammo Marketing, part of the Isobar Network, for his ideas and help –

Opinions are ours personally and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Isobar group.

Image CC thanks to Thomas Hawk 

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