User Generated Content Creators v Consumers

eMarketer has an analysis of how User Generated Content (UGC) creators stack up numberwise to those of us who merely passively consume the content.

They’re obviously really only talking about the web at this stage, but since UGC is HOT for mobile too, it’s interesting to look at the overall trends, as an indicator of things to come for us mobilists.

Firstly, not surprisingly, both creators and consumers are growing fast and this trend is accelerating into the future. By 2011, the number of consumers will have risen worldwide to 254 million – up from 128 million in 2006. In the same timescale, creators rise from 118 million to 237 million.

So what does this tell us? Well, no surprises that there’s more consumers than creators. After all, there’s far fewer people who leave comments on this blog (creators) than there are readers (consumers), as an example. In this case, about 1% might leave a comment and in my experience, that’s a pretty common rule.

But hang on. These stats indicate that there are nearly as many creators as consumers and that is new. In fact, consumers account for around 92% of creators, which is a pretty major shift.

Let’s admittedly be wary about this as the definition of UGC is very broad (people who post videos, photos, music, blogs, wikis, personal profiles – does this include, say creating a profile in Facebook or MySpace? – and personal Web sites). There’s a major difference, for instance, in posting a couple of pics to Flickr and creating a blog, as an ongoing, long-lived project.

But it does raise the intriguing idea (even taking this broad definition) that the vast majority of UGC is actually created for an audience of less than 1 person on average, if we factor the UGC with largish audiences. So the Significant Other in our lives seems to have become the audience for most of our UGC.

Which actually is not such a shift away from traditional media if you think about it. The audience for most photos in the old days was probably a handful. And many a long suffering group of friends have had to read through the scribblings of a prospective poet or novelist. So maybe the result of the ability to create content more easily has simply resulted in a glut of the stuff and the overall consumption per creation has decreased for most people.

Something to think about.

—–>Follow us on Twitter too: @russellbuckley and @caaarlo