The buzz around CGM or CGC is reaching an ever greater pitch and frankly – I’m a bit tired of it already.
Most of it is complete BS. I don’t even like the term CONSUMER generated . . . if we’re going to talk about people who use our product or service – I prefer to call them a USER. More humane.
I also don’t like user generated ADVERTISING. I find it vulgar to ask users to to create advertising messages FOR us – to use on them and others. Let’s face it – Advertising is a shit way to talk to people. It’s a great way to SHOUT and interrupt. But a pretty awful way to engage in a conversation.
Now, I don’t mind if – on their own – users generate ad messages for products and spread them around the internet or where ever. If it happens organically, on it’s own – that’s great. We should be ready to get out of the way and not screw it up by manufacturing it ourselves or stopping it’s natural evolution.
But I’m totally opposed to companies making a “campaign” out of soliciting user generated advertising. It’s a sham. It’s a cop out. If creating advertising is the only way you can connect with your users you have a problem. If advertising (the act of INTERRUPTING complete strangers and presenting them with info about products and services they didn’t even ask for) is the only medium worthy of a users input and control – you have a problem.
Here’s a fact. PEOPLE DON’T USE OR PAY TO USE YOUR ADVERTISING – THEY USE AND PAY TO USE YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE. AND THAT’S WHAT THEY REALLY WANT TO CONTROL.
If you want REAL “user generated . . . blah blah blah” give users control over what they actually come to your company FOR.
For example form the Merc– Microsoft is opening up it’s developer tools for XBOX.
… will make available a stripped-down version of its game development tools for $99. The XNA Game Studio Express software will have everything someone needs to make a working video game.
With the tools, gamers can create their own games on Windows PCs and uploaded them into Microsoft’s Xbox Live network, which could theoretically sell them to console gamers via download. Moore said that game creators could share their work with others, for free or for purchase.
They can also upload them on their own weblogs and user forums too.
Compare how much deeper a user would be connected to XBOX in this scenario than in one that had Microsoft simply asking XBOX users to create another friggin XBOX commercial.
What’s the radio lesson? We need to DEVLOP more ways to put users in control of their experience – AND not just for themselves – but be able to SHARE their “versions” with others. That’s engagement.
To steal a phrase from Fred Jacobs – that’s NEO.