Reading List: Platforms, Not Users, Cash in on UGC

User-generated con-tent: The advent of user-generated content platforms has given so much to the world: skateboarding dogs, sneezing pandas and oh-so-many cute cats. It’s also created billions of dollars for the companies building the platforms, like Google and Facebook. The content creators themselves? Not so much. Fast Company takes a look at just how much monetary value Facebook and YouTube have created for themselves rather than for the creators. Now, to be fair, this is only “monetary value,” and many creators aren’t in this for the money but for recognition, social currency, feeling connected, whatever. Still, the infographic shows the uphill battle traditional media companies face in the war for attention when tech platforms can get armies of millions creating attention-gobbling content. Fast Company

The Meaning of TED: On the opposite end of the content spectrum, TED announced online views of its erudite talks have reached 500 million. Hope for high-quality content! But then again, it’s also a new twist on user-generated content, since TED speakers, as far as I know, aren’t compensated for the videos they record. Instead, TED keeps the ad revenue generated from the talks. The speakers get the prestige of giving a TED talk, a resume booster if there ever was one. Mashable

Trendy TV: One of the more interesting and unlikely effects of social media is that it could save TV. Well, that’s going too far, but the real-time Web is strengthening the appeal of appointment TV viewing. Time-shifting Glee is great and all, but is it as fun when you can’t tweet and update Facebook with other Gleeks as the show unfolds? Social monitoring firm Trendrr has an interesting site,, which ranks programming by the sentiment expressed in social media. This could be quite big if it works. The problem is sentiment-analysis is a tricky business in conversation. Computers are just great at picking up sarcasm. (See what I did there?) But if it does, social buzz could be an important predictor of success for TV programs.

Twitter’s Costolo Speaks: All Things D has gotten around to posting the video of an informative interview of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo by WSJ’s Walt Mossberg. Some highlights: Costolo complains there isn’t a third-party service that can correctly measure Twitter’s audience, since much of it uses apps; its mobile use is up 150 percent from the start of the year; users send over 1 billion tweets a week; Twitter isn’t killing off apps but “encouraging the ecosystem to move up the value chain”; it’s a “remarkably successful business;” and it has 650 advertisers who have run 6,000 campaigns. Twitter has surely come a long ways in a short time as a business, but it has still yet to prove it can provide those advertisers with large-scale ad campaigns beyond a one-day promoted trend and some promoted tweets. It will be interesting to see how it gets there without pissing off its users. All Things D

Think Before You Send: Jordan Bitterman, svp of Digitas, offers his valuation of Groupon in the future.

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