I’ve been lecturing for years (e.g. here) about the coming transformation from the ‘push’ world of broadcast TV (in which small numbers of content creators push multimedia content at passive consumers — aka couch potatoes) to a world dominated by ‘pull’ media like the Web. The dominance of the broadcast model led people to assume that audiences were essentially passive and stupid — which is why, to broadcasters, the notion of “user-generated content” is an oxymoron.
I’ve also been putting forward the (to me, obvious) proposition that the current surge of user-generated content (e.g. in Blogging, Flickr, YouTube, Google Video, etc.) is a very good pointer to the way the world is going to be. Now comes some really interesting empirical evidence in support of that from the Pew Internet Survey whose latest report says, in part
Overall, 35% of all internet users have posted content to the internet. Specifically, we asked about four types of online content: having one’s own blog; having one’s own webpage; working on a blog or webpage for work or a group; or sharing self-created content such as a story, artwork, or video.
An even higher percentage of home broadband users – 42% or about 31 million people – have posted content to the internet. They account for 73% of home internet users who were the source of online content. A majority of them are home broadband users. Having a fast, always-on internet connection at home is associated with users’ posting content to the internet and thereby shaping the environment of cyberspace. Although home dial-up internet users get involved in putting content online, they do not do so at the same rate as broadband users. Just 27% of dial-up users, or about 13 million adults, have placed some sort content online. Sharing a variety of creations online is among the most popular kinds of user-generated content. Overall, 36 million internet users have shared their own artwork, photos, stories, or videos on the internet. That comes to 26% of internet users. Home
broadband users account for about two-thirds of this number.
Home is not the only place from which people upload content. Among the 11% of online Americans with access only at work or some place other than work or home (such as a library), 21% have posted some content to the internet. That comes to 5 million people.