Histories of User-Generated Content: Between Formal and Informal Media Economies

15 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2011

See all articles by Ramon Lobato

Ramon Lobato

Swinburne University of Technology

Julian Thomas

RMIT University

Dan Hunter

Swinburne Law School

Date Written: January 28, 2011


Debates about user-generated content (UGC) often depend on a contrast with its normative opposite, the professionally produced content that is supported and sustained by commercial media businesses or public organisations. UGC is seen to appear within or in opposition to professional media, often as a disruptive, creative, change-making force. Our suggestion is to position UGC not in opposition to professional or "producer media", or in hybridised forms of subjective combination with it (the so-called "pro-sumer" or "pro-am" system), but in relation to different criteria, namely the formal and informal elements in media industries. In this article, we set out a framework for the comparative and historical analysis of UGC systems and their relations with other formal and informal media activity, illustrated with examples ranging from games to talkback radio. We also consider the policy implications that emerge from a historicised reading of UGC as a recurring dynamic within media industries, rather than a manifestation of consumer agency specific to digital cultures.

Keywords: UGC (user-generated content), formality, informality, media industries

Suggested Citation

Lobato, Ramon and Thomas, Julian and Hunter, Dan, Histories of User-Generated Content: Between Formal and Informal Media Economies (January 28, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1749803 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1749803

Ramon Lobato (Contact Author)

Swinburne University of Technology ( email )

Mail H53
PO Box 218
Melbourne, 3121

Julian Thomas

RMIT University ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, 3000

Dan Hunter

Swinburne Law School ( email )

Cnr Wakefield and William Streets, Hawthorn Victor
3122 Victoria, Victoria 3122

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