Journalism 2.0 Mark Briggs has an excellent guest post from Scott Porad on lessons for journalists from ICanHasCheeseburger, which is perhaps the world’s greatest repository of LOLcat pictures.
What’s a LOLcat? Here: As a general rule I hate LOLcats, but I’ll make an exception in this case because Porad (who’s on Twitter, by the way) makes some really great points about why ICanHasCheeseburger.com and the company’s growing number of similar sites (FailBlog, FailDogs, etc. etc.) are success.
Compared to traditional humor and entertainment media companies, by relying on user-generated content to harness the wit and intelligence of our community, Cheezburger has found a way to acquire content at a lower cost. This is a significant competitive advantage for us. At the same time, thanks to the power of crowd-sourcing, the content is higher in quality and more relevant than what we could create on our own. But there’s a catch: the important lesson from Cheezburger’s success with user-generated content is that while content costs less, it is not free. That is, even though we do not pay our users for the content they contribute, there is still a cost associated with acquiring and managing that content. Why? Because only a fraction of the content submitted to us is of high enough quality to be used.
He then discusses the expense around curating the material, which is not insubstantial, and offers suggestions on applying that curation to journalism.
Nothing new, but a nice reminder that even when journalists are ready to throw open the floodgates to user-generated content (UGC), a lot of work must happen to make it successful.