At FontoXML we have got more than a decade of experience in digital publishing and online media. Between our people, probably more than a century. In the past decade we’ve seen the publishing landscape shift from print to online. And with this shift we’ve seen user-generated content taking over.
“User-generated content is used for a wide range of applications, including problem processing, news and research and reflects the expansion of media production through new technologies that are accessible and affordable to the general public. All digital media technologies are included, such as question-answer databases, digital video, blogging, podcasting, forums, review-sites, social networking, social media, mobile phone photography and wikis.” (Source: Wikipedia).
In the publishing industry users have partly taken over the role of journalists and editors, with varying degrees of success. New technologies have enabled them to do so. It is fairly easy nowadays to write a blog, edit a video, start a wiki or even write a manual.
Study on technical content developed by customers
For this reason The Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM) conducted a survey of the solicitation, management, and incorporation of technical content developed by customers. Here are some results that we find particularly interesting:
– Answering technical questions
Ninety-five percent of the organizations with an existing UGC program indicated that they implemented their programs because they believe that many technical questions can be answered more quickly and accurately if customers participated in the process.
– No technical mechanism
Over two-thirds indicated that they either did not have the resources needed to monitor and incorporate user content into technical materials or they did not have a technical mechanism to do so.
Finding appropriate software may overcome some of these obstacles, particularly since money appears not to be an obstacle.
– Tools to gather content
The survey and interviews suggest using multiple tools to gather content. While the corporate web site, including user forums, wikis, and email are the most used, social media sites may be useful for reaching a broader audience of potential contributors. Tools include feedback links in company-provided content, user forums, customer comment forms, wikis, and video and social media sites.
The full report can be downloaded here: CIDM User-generated Content Study