I pity those who seem forced to use the term “consumer/user-generated-content”

Let’s all feel sorry for those business-to-business writers and editors who cover the marketing beat for a “professional” marketing audience. See, they have to use terms like “user-generated content” or “consumer-generated content” or “amateur content” to make the distinction clear between video, audio or words that are created by “ordinary” people who are not necessarily guaranteed they will be paid for that self-expression and video, audio or words that are created by those who are paid to create it, whether it’s self-expressive or not.

For example, here is a link to a story on Adweek.com that has the headline “Southwest Picks Consumer-Created Spot” (how one “consumes” air travel beats me, but I have pity on the reporter, so I’m not going to repeat my rant about the term “consumer”). In the article, we learn that Southwest Airlines’ experiment to solicit advertising created by amateurs will be seen during an April telecast of the NBA playoffs. (And on Youtube right now, as embedded below.)

The winning consumer-amateur was Brian Cates, a member of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program, who produces videos for a local comedy troupe in Oklahoma City. Wait! Have those folks ever been paid to perform? Has Cates ever been paid to produce a video? Let’s check with the NCAA of “amateur content” and see if we have a violation of the amateur-status of consumers to create user-generated content. Surely there must be a “professional content creators guild” who maintains such guidelines.

Obviously, this post is amateur humor generated by me, an excessive consumer of Southwest air travel. By the way, it’s a funny ad — see below. Sidenote: I’ve been on close to 120 Southwest flights during the past 12 months. None of them, as I recall, were the result of an embarassing moment from which I wanted to escape.

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