The usual term for this phenomenon is “UGC”—user-generated content. I prefer the term customer-contributed content because it rolls off the tongue better and fits our definition of a customer as an end-user of the goods and services you provide (whether they or someone else pays for those services).
On February 6, 2008, the Professional and Scholarly Publishing (PSP) division of the American Association of Publishers held its annual symposium. For the second year, I was the moderator for a day of fascinating talks and case studies. The topic at hand was Cyberscholarship: Where are our users taking us? The objectives for the meeting were to gain a clearer sense of:
1) How do today’s readers, scholars, and professionals want to interact around professional and scholarly content?
2) How do they want to use and interact with published research?
3) How do they want to learn from each other?
The panelists included Kevin McKean, VP and Editorial Director of Consumers Union; Paris Patton, VP of consumer research firm Sachs Insights; Mark Ranalli, President and CEO of Helium; Melissa Burke, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Sermo; and Bryce Johnson, President and CEO of CafeScribe. What all of the panelists had in common was a passion to make it easy for customers to interact with and to contribute content.