User generated content (UGC) is rising in popularity as more and more consumers are voicing their opinion and joining in on the conversation. Because of the rise of social media and blogging, consumers are able to become actively involved in a public forum in order to share product reviews, customer testimonials and their reactions regarding some of the biggest breaking news stories.
Recently, there was an article on TheConversation.com which discussed the difference between journalists and bloggers. With user generated content on the rise, media companies are now discussing what constitutes “true” news.
“The situation has become even more complicated as the source of news moves increasingly away from traditional channels to the millions of people carrying mobile phones and sharing commentary, photos and video on social networks.”
UGC is now shaping the way news is being portrayed and reacted to. Viewers that used to turn on the television to receive their news are now “plugged-in” to social media sites in order to be consistently updated on the current events. Instead of receiving updates from the evening news broadcast – which is typically hours behind “real time” – we are now able to log onto Twitter, Facebook or YouTube in order to receive information, videos and updates on what is currently happening.
These social media sites are becoming more reliable in providing both current and relative information. Additionally, this information enables us to learn of other’s reactions and enables us to comment on, and provide content regarding, the current events.
However, some journalists don’t see this new UGC generation as an improvement in the way news is being told:
“Although it is tempting to simply take a video of a bomb explosion at face value when it appears on Twitter, YouTube of Facebook, reporters or commenters will always need to establish the reliability of the piece of content.”
Are reporters against this content because it could possibly display a different viewpoint than what the newsroom wants to inform their audience of? Perhaps having user generated content is actually a better way to deliver a story in an unbiased perspective. If you have multiple videos covering different angles and perspectives, then viewers will feel as though they are more informed and are then better able to form the opinion of what is happening on their own, instead of having the news tell them what they believe to be true.
The news’ job is to keep the audience informed but, perhaps there is a new, more inclusive, way to accomplish this. Showing more viewpoints and prospectives of a situation can easily be done through user generated content, so why not inform us better?