User Generated Content: A Review of User Motives

Table of Contentss

User Generated Content: A Review of User Motives and Satisfaction

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User generated content

Field Research





Appendix 1 – Questionnaire

The universe today is a shriveling one, with engineering assisting to bridge the distances in assorted ways. The Internet plays a large function in conveying people together. The rapid gait of advancement in information and communicating engineerings ( ICT ) has brought about a great trade of new and hitherto non imagined chances for human communicating. The Internet began as a medium for exposing information to users in the early 1990s, and has grown enormously since so. It has besides changed in character and facilitates two manner ( and multi-way ) communicating really good. Some of the new engineerings that have facilitated this new multi-directional methods of communications are web logs, labeling, societal webs, wikis, etc. These new engineerings are frequently jointly called ‘Web 2.0’ , as described by both Nixon ( 2006 ) and O’Reilly ( 2005 ) . The content on the Internet has besides undergone a noteworthy alteration due to these new signifiers of communicating. There is a significantly greater degree of engagement from the users. Alternatively of being dominated by content that is uni-directional, i.e. created by specific writers for readers, there is an increasing sum of user-generated content. What is alone about this user-generated content is that it is largely voluntary and non paid for. User engagement in the Internet is so great that it has a large impact on the lives of the users. Cochrane ( 2006 ) uses the term ‘Social Software’ to underscore the societal effects of the Web 2.0 engineerings. Sigala ( 2007 ) further illustrates the degree of societal alteration brought about by Web 2.0, saying that the societal web phenomena blur the lines between the function of consumers and Godheads

The impact of these societal engineerings has non been restricted to the field of societal life merely. Schegg et Al ( 2008 ) find that advertizers spent $ 450 million in 2006 on user- generated content sites ; this is besides expected to increase to $ 4.3 billion in 2011. This is a important sum of money. Hence progressively, there has been a great sum of attending given to this issue. This work attempts to look into what motivates people to take part and lend in user based on-line publications, and happen out what satisfaction they gain subsequent to their engagement.

User generated content on the Internet is on the addition. With more and more people traveling online, and people passing more and more clip online, it is merely to be expected that this increasing sum of clip spent can non be nonreversible, where people merely receive information and do non end product anything. What is go oning is that people are progressively bring forthing an end product when they are on-line, making content of assorted signifiers, such as the written word, exposures, digital drawings, audio recordings and picture recordings. Dhar and Chang ( 2007 ) examine the utility of user generated on-line content and happen that the informations from web logs and societal networking sites are really utile in foretelling gross revenues in the music industry. Their survey finds that “the volume of web log stations about an album is positively correlated with future sales” , “greater additions in an artist’s Myspace friends hebdomad over hebdomad have a weaker correlativity to higher future sales” and that “traditional factors are still relevant” . Traditional factors include the power of large names – music from major labels and vocalists systematically perform better compared to indie music shapers who receive similar sum of attending online. OConner ( 2008 ) examines the effects of user generated content on the well known website, is one of the largest on-line web of travel consumers. Customers wishing to go utilizing a peculiar air hose, or to a peculiar finish no longer rely merely on the traditional beginnings of information such as governmental touristry booklet and air hose advertizements for information prior to doing their determination about their purchase. Alternatively, they turn to the Internet, to happen indifferent information and reappraisal from independent 3rd parties. O’Conner ( 2008 ) states that this has turned the web into a “user-driven, non-linear depository of information” . Web 2.0 besides helps alter the equation, by presenting assorted new beginnings of information. User generated content, for illustration at web sites such as, are available unfiltered, dynamically and locally. However, he sounds a word of cautiousness, saying that such information may non be dependable and has been found to be littered with unjust biased reappraisals turning the consumer off from peculiar companies. In short, echt user generated content can besides be spiked with maliciously created content, and there is really small attempts and mechanisms in topographic point to observe, prevent and take this.

Web logs

Possibly by far the largest sum of user-generated content on the Internet today can be found on web logs. Web logs are on-line journals maintained by one or more persons who on a regular basis post new stuff for the ingestion of readers ( Richardson, 2006 ) . Many web logs have a cause, or a subject. Other web logs do non follow any specific subject and the writer ( s ) may post any content they feel like it. Blogs may be personal, official, political, spiritual, etc. The chief shaping feature of web logs is the sum of user generated content that is made available free of charge. The writers who spend clip updating web logs do so pass a batch of clip and money in bring forthing the content for the web log. Where the web log espouses peculiar causes, such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s ( FCO ) functionary web log, the users may be paid to bring forth content. Bloggers on the FCO’s web log include Foreign Secretary David Milliband, Minister for Europe, Jim Murphy, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Meg Munn, and several top ranking British diplomats and embassadors stationed outside the UK ( FCO, n.d. ) . The FCO’s web log was created to give the FCO a more ‘human’ face and to enable the section to link more with the people on the land. It can be safely assumed that these top functionaries of the British authorities who blog do non make so out of personal involvement merely. Part of their work duties may possibly include blogging, or possibly they may hold volunteered to blog in order to foster their callings. Either manner, these sorts of bloggers do non blog without wage. However, the impact of web logs on the political sphere is important, around the universe. Malayan blogger Jeff Ooi became the first blogger to be elected ( Screenshots, n.d. ) . MP Jeff Ooi began blogging about the political state of affairs in the state ( Malaysia ) in his personal web log. Notably, his web log did non get down as a political web log, but as a personal 1. Subjects covered by Mr. Ooi early in his blogging included his avocations such as picture taking and personal causes such as the development of his local country. However, his courageous tackling of political issues head on began to pull more attending and people began flocking to his web log for his vocal Hagiographas. He shortly began to garner ‘little birds’ who fed him information about the government’s errors. This increased his popularity and finally he decided to accommodate action to words and decided to stand for election. He was elected and is presently functioning as a Member of Parliament in Malaysia. His success is a testament to the power of web logs. User generated content literally evolved into user communities who supported him and this brought a sea alteration to his life. His vocal nature besides inspired many other people to get down blogging, and the degree of grassroots political blogging by ballad citizens in Malaysia is rather surprising. One of the chief grounds for the growing of blogging is the freedom brought approximately by the Internet. The local Malaysian mainstream media is greatly stifled by a combination of forced self-censorship and restrictive media Torahs. Unfettered by Torahs and cost, the web logs become a really feasible and strong alternate media.

Thurman ( 2008 ) investigates the acceptance of user generated content enterprises by on-line intelligence media. He uses the term ‘citizen journalists’ to depict ballad users who play a similar function to journalists on the Internet. One of the most of import facts to observe is that the detonation in user generated content is enabled by the development of user friendly, low-priced online content direction tools such as WordPress, Blogger, etc. Lay users can easy put up and keep a web site, free of cost. Depending on the sum and quality of content they generate, they may besides be able to bring forth income from these web sites. Noyes ( 2001 ) , Lidwell et Al ( 2003 ) and Cooper ( 2004 ) indicate that user friendly designs will automatically do users gravitate to the package applications. It appears that these package ( Such as WordPress and Blogger ) have found the optimal degree of user friendliness made users gravitate towards them. The good design here has contributed to the enlargement in user generated on-line content. Laic people such as these frequently write about public personal businesss, as stated by Matheson ( 2004 ) . Thurman ( 2008 ) estimates that there are more than nine million web logs, and more than half of them cover with public personal businesss. There has been unfavorable judgment that the mainstream new media have been slow to react to this phenomenon of grassroots news media. In fact, traditional media have tried to encompass the Internet ; most mainstream newspapers and intelligence bureaus today maintain web sites that are on a regular basis updated, about hourly. News collection web sites, such as Google News and Wikinews have besides sprung up. These web sites aggregate intelligence from assorted beginnings. The beginnings that are speedy to update will frequently happen themselves in the front page and pull more traffic. However, possibly the factor which delays traditional journalists from reacting every bit rapidly as citizen journalists is the fact that traditional journalists have to look into their facts before printing, are encumbered by ruddy tape such as holding to acquire the permission of higher directors before posting sensitive intelligence points, etc. Formal intelligence bureaus and media companies are more apt to judicial proceeding for inaccurate coverage than ballad bloggers. Hence bloggers can compose first and believe about truth subsequently ; Individual bloggers have no 1 to reply to demur themselves, and can post content every bit shortly as they have clip. These factors mean that ballad bloggers will ever be quicker to react to intelligence as it happens than traditional journalists.

Social Networks

Social webs are another type of user generated content. Social webs are greatly increasing in popularity. Some of the more popular societal webs are Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc. Beck ( 2007 ) describes the importance and value of societal webs. He illustrates the pecuniary value placed on on-line societal communities by foregrounding the sum by which these online societal community web sites were bought – Google bought Youtube for $ 1.65 billion, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation bought MySpace for $ 580 million. Beck stresses that the value of these societal communities is in the user generated content and non in the engineering behind the web sites. The engineering easing these societal webs had been developed more than six old ages ago, nevertheless, the growing of the on-line communities and user generated content is what became really valuable. The societal webs served as a radio detection and ranging to companies, bespeaking to them what was popular at the minute, and what was non ; the huge power of recommendation that these societal webs had was besides really of import. Beck ( 2007 ) states that the development of on-line societal communities was interesting to corporations as they realised the importance of these communities as a strategic selling tool and a beginning of valuable information about consumer penchants and sentiments. More and more people are going less concerned with what companies have to state about their merchandises, as they see them as advertizement that is decidedly biased towards the merchandise ; alternatively, they go to independent online beginnings to obtain indifferent reappraisals in order to organize their sentiment and do purchase determinations. Hence ready-made online communities are so really valuable both in footings of being an first-class beginning of information for information excavation every bit good as in footings of being a confined audience for selling messages.

Wikis and Other types of User Generated Content

Wikis are a specific type of medium that allow users to make content. They are designed specifically with the intent of easing collaborative content creative activity. Wikipedia is one of the best known wikis in being today. Wikis are frequently used for educational intents. Boulos et Al ( 2006 ) , Duffy and Bruns ( 2006 ) , and Maness ( 2006 ) all describe the utilizations of wikis in item. Wikis have become a popular beginning of information, peculiarly for academic utilizations. However, one of the chief jobs caused by wikis is that deficiency of birthplace of the information published in the wikis ( Fichter, 2005, and Lee, 2005 ) .

In order to look into user motives and satisfaction gained subsequent to engagement in on-line publications, a bipartite research was fashioned. First, the writer needed to place a population of respondents. In order for the population to be representative, some kind of selective solicitation was thought to be required. Beck ( 2007 ) finds that on-line communities can be divided into three major types, those that are socially oriented, professionally oriented, and commercially oriented. Consequently, the writer attempted to place three groups of respondents, those that participated in on-line publications socially, professionally and commercially. First, a questionnaire was developed that could be distributed to the respondents. The questionnaire was kept short and simple. The questionnaire was distributed to pupil equals, selected professionals who were approached, every bit good as selected concern people who were approached. 30 people responded to the questionnaire. Some respondents participated in on-line publications in more than one capacity, i.e. some people contributed to online publications in more than one word picture, for illustration professional and societal. No peculiar job was identified that prevented these from being counted ‘twice’ , i.e. person who participates in on-line publications for both professional and societal intents would be included in both the groups. This means that the entire figure of people in all the three groups would transcend 30, even though there were merely 30 respondents ( the entire figure of people in a group would still be below 30 ) . However, the distribution of the respondents across the groups was far from even. 23 respondents stated that they participated in on-line publications for societal intents, 15 said that they did so for professional intents and merely 5 said that they did so for commercial intents. The consequences of the study are summarised in the following subdivision.

The Questionnaire

What is your age?

1.What is your gender?

2.How often do you take part in on-line publications? ( Please circle )


3.How would you characterize your engagement? ( Please circle, more than one if appropriate )


4.What motivates you to participate/contribute/spend clip on on-line publications?

Motivation for societal engagement


Motivation for Professional Participation


Motivation for Commercial Engagement


5.What satisfaction do you derive from the clip and attempt you spend take parting in on-line publications?

Satisfaction for societal engagement


Satisfaction for Professional Participation


Satisfaction for Commercial Engagement


6.Are you concerned about the legal deductions of take parting in on-line publications?

Yes NoDon’t know



How often do you take part in on-line publications?

Never – 1 ; Rarely – 4 ; Occasionally – 12 ; Frequently – 13

How would you characterize your engagement?

Social – 25 ; Professional – 15 ; Commercial – 5

What motivates you to participate/contribute/spend clip on on-line publications?

( Summarised and adapted from existent responses )

Motivation for societal engagement – Entertainment, publicity of personal causes, pass oning with like-minded people.

Motivation for Professional Participation – Develop professional image, advertise professional capablenesss, progress calling

Motivation for Commercial Participation – Expand concern, construct up concern profile, generate and increase income

What satisfaction do you derive from the clip and attempt you spend take parting in on-line publications?

Satisfaction for societal engagement – Feeling Happy, doing new friends, indulging in avocations

Satisfaction for Professional Participation – increased ego assurance, promotion in calling

Satisfaction for Commercial Participation – increased income, new watercourses of income, increased concern profile, increased fight

Are you concerned about legal affairs originating from your engagement in on-line publications?

Yes – 3 ; No – 27

The consequences of the study showed that most people who participate in on-line publications for societal intents do so for amusement, publicity of personal causes and pass oning with like-minded people. Analyzing these motives in farther item, one can instantly place the demand for take parting in on-line publications for the interest of advancing personal causes. Most people who passionately believe in something will desire to speak about it. When they go on-line, this translates to user generated content. Peoples who create content online for professional intents have stated that they do so in order to develop their professional image, publicize their professional capablenesss and progress their callings. The type of user generated content from originating from people take parting in on-line publications with these motives may be more considered, i.e. people may take clip to make content, reexamine their content and verify the truth of the information user and/or presented before printing it online. Hence this sort of user generated can be said to be more desirable, and trustworthy. Users who create content online for commercial addition have stated that they do so in order to spread out their concern, construct up their concern profile and generate and increase income. This sort of user generated can be treated as a grade off from advertisement, in many instances. For illustration, if a individual is hired to compose content on a web site, this content will mostly be positive about the web site, and the patrons of the web site. Independence and objectiveness is frequently compromised when fiscal addition becomes a consideration in the creative activity of user generated content. Koskinen ( 2003 ) finds that people mostly create content online in order to entertain each other.

User motives for online content have important impact on design. The Design of such engineering have to back up information look, and have a smooth response, suited for all types of users.

The other side of the coin is the satisfaction users derive from take parting in on-line publications. The consequences of our study show that users who created content online reported experiencing Happy, doing new friends, indulging in avocations when they did so for societal intents. This satisfaction is really similar to the satisfaction one derives from existent universe societal communications. Users who participated in on-line publications for professional grounds reported holding increased self assurance and promotion in calling. Users who participated in on-line publications for commercial grounds reported increased income, new watercourses of income, increased concern profile and increased fight of their concern. It is interesting to observe that there were about no negative responses reported subsequent to users’ engagement in on-line publications. This means that people overpoweringly were satisfied with the result of their engagement in the on-line publications. Hence it can be safely assumed that the respondents did non see any negative unanticipated fortunes as a consequence of their engagement. However, a word of cautiousness is necessary here. Although the respondents have non indicated any negative response, it is so really easy possible for a user to see a negative result as a consequence of take parting in an on-line publication. For illustration, users who maintain a profile in Facebook and unwittingly put in an application that uses their personal information illicitly, for illustration, for individuality larceny, will confront terrible negative effects to their engagement.

Areas of Concern

Although it can be seen that there is a great trade of benefit and advantages to be derived from active user engagement in on-line publications, there are besides several countries of concern. Osborne ( 2008 ) points out some of these. Illegal file sharing ( where the individual sharing the file does non have the right of first publication and have the permission to administer the files ) , on-line auction fraud, unauthorized digital reproductions of branded goods in MMORPGs ( Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games ) and other online infinites, usage of unauthorized stuff in societal networking sites and web logs, etc. are illustrations of some jobs caused by user engagement in on-line publications. The jobs are hard to incorporate and extenuate because of the namelessness offered by the Internet and the jobs with legal power. Not all states are signers of the Berne Convention, and some do non implement right of first publication Torahs good. Hence felons are able to run from these states. However, from the users’ point of position, the greatest danger comes from fanatic companies eager to prosecute laic people unaware of complicated right of first publication Torahs. Most people who participate in on-line publications have small consciousness of concern about the legalities of utilizing copyrighted stuff, as evidenced by the consequences of the study conducted as portion of this work.

Golbeck ( 2008 ) raises the issue of privateness, confidentiality and trust in online content, particularly in the field of scientific discipline. Science is concerned with turn outing what is true. Birthplace is progressively going scarce on the Internet. It is going more hard to happen dependable scientific information, both for the scientists and for the general populace. The proliferation of user generated content makes it about impossible to find the genuineness and birthplace of an article online. The voluminous sums of scholarly literature being produced by academe does non assist either. Much of such content is locked off to users who are willing to pay unrealistically high monetary values for a publication, and even those are riddled with redundancy, conflicting information and slang. Goldbeck ( 2008 ) suggests that the “use of societal trust relationships for this undertaking is both practical and necessary as the Web evolves” . Although trust has been used chiefly in the country of security, Goldbeck ( 2008 ) suggests that the addition in user generated content has created the demand for a new type of trust. “Social trust relationships capture similarity in perspective” , states Goldbeck. In an earlier subdivision, this paper described the jobs with echt user generated content being spiked with malicious content. This job can be reduced, if non mitigated, if proper trust mechanisms are developed. For illustration, users who have an history in Facebook and similar individualities in assorted other web sites may be given a higher trust evaluation. Lone users with such a high degree of evaluation may be allowed to post content they create.

Kramer et Al ( 2008 ) justly province that information and communicating engineerings are ‘a major factor in assisting re-shape our civilizations and societies’ . The development of engineering greatly influences the way and velocity of development. However, the current tendency of development is to put great power in the custodies of the common adult male. Technology is authorising the common adult male to talk out and be heard. User generated content is an of import piece in the saber saw that helps authorise the common adult male. As the consequences of our study show, people have many different motives for making on-line content, and derive assorted different sorts of satisfaction from this activity. The same can be said of all human communicating, online or offline. Given the rapid gait of development of engineering, it can hence be said that the phenomenon of addition in user generated content is in fact an extension of human communicating into a new medium. User generated content in the on-line universe, in other words, is similar to user generated content in the existent universe ; the difference may possibly be that user generated content in the existent universe can be written or spoken while user generated content online by and large takes the signifier of the written word. However, this besides altering. With the coming of new engineerings such as Youtube and nomadic phones capable of entering picture, the on-line universe is increasing going more colorful and many-sided. User generated content is besides altering. More and more exposures, address ( in the signifier of podcasts, for illustration ) and pictures are being created and published online by ballad users. Kramer et Al ( 2008 ) further emphasis that portable and nomadic ICT engineerings play a major function in enabling and exciting the creative activity of user generated content. Schneiderman ( 2002 ) appears to hold got a grip on the class of development of engineering, stating that we need to oppugn non what computing machines can make, but what users can make. Puting the user foremost, as Schneiderman urges, we see that are many-sided as human existences are, so many-sided can be their motives and satisfactions from take parting in on-line publications.

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