UGC (user generated content) is a sucker’s game. We should resolve to be less suckers in 2023

I started to think of UGC when I read that tweet last night.

We don’t talk about UGC much anymore. We take it for granted since it is so ubiquitous. Any time we use social media we are creating UGC. But it’s not limited to site like Twitter or Instagram. Web site like Behance and GitHub are also repositories of UGC. Even Google Docs and Spotify are ways for people to generate content (a spreadsheet is UGC for Google to mine, just like a playlist is.)

When platforms came along for us to post our words and images, we embraced them. Even when we knew they were being exploited for advertising, many of us shrugged and accepted it as a deal: we get free platforms in exchange for our attention and content.

Recently though it’s gotten more exploitive. Companies like OpenAI and others are scrapping all our UGC from the web and turning it into data sets. Facial recognition software is turning our selfies into ways to track us. Never mind all the listening devices we let into our houses (“Hey Google, are you recording all my comings and goings?”…probably)

Given that, we should resolve to be smarter about our UGC in 2023. Always consider what you are sharing, and find ways to limit it if you can. Indeed give yourself some boundaries so that when the next company comes along with vowel problems (looking at you, Trackt) and asks for our data, we say no thanks.

We can’t stop companies from taking advantage of the things we share. So let’s aim to share things wisely and in a limited way.

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