I don’t just “use” the Internet, so why am I a user?

Heh, I was reading Mary Hodder’s post about the correct term to call people who generate content and thinking back to why I hate the term “user generated content.”

It’s because whenever I hear that term I always translate it to “slave generated content.” Here’s why: there’s a lot of companies who are expecting you to help out their business models (including the one I work for — I’m challenging everyone I talk to inside Microsoft to stop thinking about monetization — except for the teams who are building monetization systems — stop thinking about “user generated content” Those thoughts will lead you down a bad path).

Why do I hate those thoughts? It’s deeper than just being a content slave for someone to make a ton of money off of by putting ads next to my words. No, it’s an attitudinal thing. If you look at folks who make content as a partner then you’ll make better experiences for everyone. And, everyone is now able to create content — as I just demonstrated a few minutes ago to EUFA.

The problem is we don’t have good language. When I’m on Flickr I’m a photographer or a commenter. When I’m here I’m a writer or a blogger. When I’m on Craig’s List I’m a job seeker or a buyer or a seller. When I’m on MSN Search or Google I’m a “searcher.” When I’m on Memeorandum I’m a “reader.”

“User” just seems so unsatisfying. “Participant” is a lot closer. What do you think?


I’m speaking to the UEFA

I’m speaking to some members/VP’s from UEFA in a few minutes. Don’t know who they are? I didn’t either. It’s the governing body of football on the continent of Europe. No, dummy, not THAT kind of football. It’s soccer! Interesting site and group, should be a fun conversation.

Update: it was a fun conversation I’m back in my office now. I didn’t get any game tickets (sigh) but they gave me a hat! I’m a swag whore, so that’ll do. What was fun was I showed them how anyone can blog about them and get discovered. My post took less than 30 minutes to show up on Feedster, for instance.

This was a very tech savvy group. Most use an RSS aggregator and they have RSS Feeds too. I am very impressed!

Mary Jo warns Microsoft not to drink Web 2.0 koolaid

Mary Jo Foley warns Microsoft not to drink too much of the Web 2.0 koolaid in her post here.

Good advice. The real opportunity is in matching up an all Web strategy with an all-Windows strategy.

For instance, I am listening to Pandora here on my speakers while I work. Great service (and it’s now free, thanks TechCrunch for telling us that!) but I’d pay for a Windows application rather than having a Web based one. Why? I’d rather it be hidden on my task bar instead of being forced to take a browser window open. I’d pay for that capability. Also, I’d buy a subscription if it could put songs onto my computer for playing on my portable music device. Time shifting is really a big deal with this kind of service (I’m going to be stuck in a plane for two hours tomorrow and would like to have some new music to listen to there, why can’t Pandora supply it? I’d even pay $3 for two hours of music).

So, Mary Jo is right. We should learn from the Web 2.0 guys (which is why I’m going to the Riya launch party next Friday night) but we should match it with the best of Windows too.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue pushing hard in the direction of what most people are calling Web 2.0 (I call it anything that gets on TechCrunch). Why? Because I see significant business opportunities. I just think the real opportunities will come from what I call “the high def Web.”

What might this high def Web look like? Well, check out how you can make Yahoo maps fit into your Web page’s design better. That’s close. Now, how about making your Internet Connected Components fit into both the Web and into Windows? There’s huge opportunities there.

How about taking something like Microsoft Max (very cool, by the way) and making it work with the Web? See the opportunity yet? OK, keep watching. More ideas coming.