Understanding the Activity of Media Use in the Age of Digital Reproduction10.1515/9783110740202.
User-generated content was launched in the early 1990s as a concept for describing media content produced outside of professional media institutions by everyday media users. It gained widespread popularity around 2005 and in the article it is argued that the rise of the concept coincides with the interactive web and the ability for industrialized media and culture production to take advantage of the productivity of ordinary users. The article discusses first the frameworks of production of UGC, including the business models of the platform economy into which this kind of content is drawn. Secondly it discusses the types of users who generate content, and thirdly it accounts for some of the criticism the concept has met. The article ends with situating UGC in the longer history of media production and suggests an explanation for why the concept appeared at the time it did.