Today's Meaningless Phrase: "User Generated Content"

So folks are starting to learn that the phrase "Consumer Generated Content" is moronic, offensive and meaningless, as it defines folks who create stuff in terms of how marketers see them - consumers of products. And they're trying to replace it with something only slightly less offensive but equally meaningless and just as stupid: "User Generated Content." Why is this meaningless?

  • What producer of content isn't a user of something?
  • "Generated" is just a fancy-sounding word for "made."
  • It's really a surrogate for "stuff made by somebody who isn't thought of as a pro at making content, like The New York Times or AOL or somebody like that."

Why is this moronic?

  • The assumption is that there's a need to belittle folks who create and release content on the same playing field that CNN, The Washington Post and Yahoo play on.
  • That's a silly assumption, considering that so many stories have come out of the blogosphere, that so many entertaining animations have come from independent producers and that so much of our entertainment and news bubbles up from independent sources before it hits the mainstream media.
  • It's an artificial construct, and the people who use it should freaking know better.

If you do need to distinguish between established and new content producers, why not just refer to them by name?

BTW, I'll be the first to admit to making the "CGC" mistake. But I think it's time that we stop thinking that people creating things and interacting online is some sort of freakish thing that can't be explained without defining it in terms of what came before it.