We've all probably heard of User Generated Content and have likely dropped that term in ourselves in our community efforts.
Perhaps saying things like 'we need user-generated content to grow as a community', or perhaps another common way of expressing a similar thing is 'we need engagement'.
However, if we think about what it means AND what we actually can do in community, using UGC as a term feels like an undersell to what we can do in community.
User-generated content (UGC), alternatively known as user-created content (UCC), is any form of content, such as images, videos, text, and audio, that has been posted by users on online platforms such as social media and wikis. It is a product consumers create to disseminate information about online products or the firms that market them.
🧠 What do you think about when you think of UGC?
- it feels formal to address it like that
- adhoc / random
- it feels like an end point
- often personally driven
- there's probably no specific end goal, perhaps lacking real purpose or direction
There's a time and a place for UGC. It's often for bigger places, more for (social) networks. And yes, sometimes these can be communities, I get that. The lines are blurred here.
🤔 Thinking about Community Generated Content
Aren't users community members? Sometimes they can be. Other times they are not.
- Users are not necessarily community members
- Users don't always have the intention to contribute to community
- User-generated content, I guess, is mostly created as an individual piece of content
- Community content is more collaborative, even if it is an unintentional collaboration
- Community content has a purpose in mind, it supports the direction of where the community wants to go
- Community content often gets referenced back, people get credited or communicated with
- Community content is built upon ideas, discussions, feedback, etc.
We can broaden our perspective on what community generated content is by placing the emphasis on community and all the things we do or create in community.
The output of CGC or UGC can be conversations as:
- forum posts
- Rackets / racket.com
- live audio spaces - Discord, Twitter Spaces, Clubhouse
- event talks/recordings - conferences/meetups
- Community platforms
- Social media
- Challenges #100DaysOfCommunity
- Job posts
- Experiences / personal history
People can contribute to all of the above as user generated content, however community generated content comes from a more collaborative perspective.
- What can we do together?
- How can we support one another?
- What feedback can we give?
- What supporting ideas can we provide?
- What resources do we have access to so that we can make something better or more powerful?
- How can the community as a whole lift each other up?
- How can the community make use of, benefit and grow with the content?
- How can we evolve the ideas and the content?
- How can we provide our own unique experiences into it?
- How can we make it more?
- What can we do to amplify this idea?
Communities are heading somewhere...
It's easy to list out the types of content that could be created, not all of them will be relevant. You may actually need very few of them to create an impact.
The real difference is what you do with the content and how you align it with your vision.
As a community builder...
- you have a vision/direction to head towards
- you have your ear to the ground
- you are learning about your community and niche every day
- you see go deeper than community members
- you see things no one else does
The real difference is what we do with those outputs
It is our responsibility to nurture community created content. CGC is different because of the intentions behind it.
Our goal is to help people. Assist them along their community journey. Become better together.
When we create content in community, it is partly for ourselves, but also partly for the community.
- A problem shared by one has the potential to become a solution for many
- A question asked could be presented in many different ways
- A job post is not just a job post, it is a pathway for a member to thrive
- An idea shared could be a future collaboration
- Advice given could become an article, talk, podcast, video
- A comment made could be more useful than a talk or an article
- A comment made could create connections with people
- Ideas shared could evolve into a greater and bigger solutions
- A members current position combined with an idea could be the perfect storm to transform their lives
- All content has the potential for us to feel seen as human beings
- Content is overwhelming, who will curate it?