2006, Brought to You by You

From the New York Times:

Imagine paying $580 million for an ever-expanding heap of personal ads, random photos, private blathering, demo recordings and camcorder video clips. That’s what Rupert Murdoch did when his News Corporation bought MySpace in July. Then imagine paying $1.65 billion for a flood of grainy TV excerpts, snarkily edited film clips, homemade video diaries, amateur music videos and shots of people singing along with their stereos. That’s what Google got when it bought YouTube in October.

What these two highly strategic companies spent more than $2 billion on is a couple of empty vessels: brand-named, centralized repositories for whatever their members decide to contribute.

All that material is “user-generated content,” the paramount cultural buzz phrase of 2006.

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