Has User-generated Content Made Professional Writers Obsolete?


With the proliferation of web 2.0 sites, does user-generated content negate the need for professional copy-writing and content? Nick Usborne doesn’t think so and I agree. He argues that there is a greater need for professionals to provide quality content that draws people in who then feel compelled to contribute and interact with the site. People still seek experts and authorities. Having such content anchoring a site can make it more appealing, as well as well as motivate better contributions from users. It’s kind of like what we see on television today – scripted vs. reality shows. Reality shows are cheaper to produce, content is unscripted and contributed by ‘real people’ who are the subject of the show. As a result, there have been some widely successful programs such as Survivor and Big Brother. But, there have been so many more gawd awful shows… too many to list here but many fall in the dating-modeling-pussycat-inventor-bachelor-talent-bobby -and-whitney variety. Then there is a show like American Idol, the most successful of them all that incorporates real people with a lot of scripted help, including tried-and-test chart hits they are asked to sing. Can you imagine they could only sing songs they write in the course of the show? Not sure it would be so fly.

5 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Business, Communications, Internet, Nick Usborne, Small Business Marketing, Web 2.0, Web Sites

5 responses to “Has User-generated Content Made Professional Writers Obsolete?

  1. nwriter

    I quite agree. People do seek experts. The unfortunate part is trying to discern the experts from the spouters. Not always an easy task, as many can sound knowledgable about a subject, yet their content be full of conjecture and speculation.

    The Internet is, to me, a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it allows people from around the world to express their views on anything. On the other hand, it allows people from around the world to express their views on anything.

    A blog, for example, permits me to write about whatever piques my interest. If I choose to write about the declining fisheries of the worlds oceans, I can. If written eloquently enough, many people may take what I say as gospel, yet I have little knowledge of fisheries.

    There are many sources of good, solid reporting by people who are not professionals, but I tend to think they are in the minority. People might be correct in their assertions, but its very difficult to ensure accuracy without futher research. This is why blogs are generally not considered useful as citation material in college work. Unfortunately, this means throwing the baby out with the bathwater as there are blogs that are very well written and researched.

    I think that user-provided content is with us to stay, but there will always be a need for the professional writer.

  2. It will definitely be interesting to see what develops over the next few years, regarding traditional news sources and user generated news.

    I actually wrote something about this on my blog a few days ago.

  3. they will never get obsolete, people are still interested in professinal articles and no midnight-kid-ideas.

    we see how important real professional content is, since murchoch bought Wall-Street-Journal

  4. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, the proliferation of user generated content, I think, makes people appreciate copywriters all that much more. Seeing sloppy copy is a sure sign of a “cut corners” operation.

  5. digitalproductsreview

    When I like an author, I buy his other books. User generated content still has a fly by night feel to it. Where to I go when I like the content a user generated? His Myspace page.

    It’s like a lawyer whose office is his car. Are you sure the guy knows what he is talking about?

    Websites are cheap and easy to build.

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