Real estate blogging is a unique kind of user generated content

User generated content ("UGC") essentially erupted as a new type of media with the advent of MySpace and YouTube four years ago after a few stalled first generation attempts like Geocities. As UGC becomes Internet status quo, we see three types of UGC:
  1. Content developed expressly to become discovered
    1. - one man becomes an icon to radical personal transparency, and spawned a channel for displaying the 24x7 lives of others
    2. The Apple ITouch commercial - college student creates an Apple ad and gets discovered by Apple
  2. Content developed for self expression to an "inner circle" audience
    1. MySpace drivel
    2. Facebook drivel
    3. Most personal blogs
  3. Content developed to promote business or corporate objectives

Real estate blogging is firmly implanted in the third category. Real estate is unique because it is the first "retail" industry to embrace the user generation of hyperlocal content for lead generation purposes. Obviously, other local retail - accountants, lawyers, handymen - can benefit from business blogging but I haven't seen any evidence of this yet. The development of UGC as a business development media hasn't been explored adequately even in blog media beyond the concept that companies like Google and Apple can use blogging to promote marketing agendas.

The User Generated Content Myth

Recent commentary on UGC implies that 1% of the masses are actually involved in content creation, the rest are just media consumers. Authors Chuqui and Scott Karp / Publishing 2.0 discount participation in social networking and uploading videos to YouTube as commercially vacuous and value-less - falling into the second category. Scott does point out how UGC becomes a platform for being discovered, its only intrinsic value.

The User Generated Content Reality

Mashable's Mark Hopkins retorts that content derived from social networking sites have value because old media's definition of content is too journalistic...
If you look to examples like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube or Twitter, that 1% rule is completely shattered. If you remove the pre-conceived notions of what we’ve always considered content in the past, and look at the utility of data being generated by these systems of people, we discover that there is value in the average user...
In essence, content doesn't have to be award-winning or original, it can have value as a real time Twitter comment that alerts others to a blog post or as a Facebook invitation. Abstractions aside, real estate bloggers understand that content generated by social networking sites - group associations like Facebook's NAR 2007 Conference and the displayed network of friends - have utility for business development. And the hyperlocal content bloggers produce provide value not for the masses, but for the small segment of local readers who appreciate the expertise provided by the local blogger.

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