User Generated Content: Be Careful What You Wish For

Engagement is a good thing. Having the 1 per cent of your passionate customers submit content for your brand is a good thing.

But, as many things social media related, these good things come with a caveat emptor: buyer beware. After all, when it comes to UGC, you get what you pay for.

Take Sky News back in the U.K.. What better way to add context and texture to an already engaging event like the London Marathon than to ask your viewers/readers to submit their photos from around the 26.2 mile course.

Well, not clicking on “approve” on every photo that comes in while preswatching the (enthralling) Liverpool vs. Blackburn and Man. Utd. vs. Arsenal matches would be a good start.

Check out some of the worst offenders I noticed while clicking though today:


(Check out the banner on the bridge)


(Erm, do you see something that’s inappropriately out of place)

Bill Murray

(Can you spot a certain movie star?)


(Not out of the realms of probability, but I doubt the Tron dude is going to be watching the London Marathon)

Just another warning that while there is always the 1 per cent of passionate users who will willingly create content and drive the conversation forward, there will be a greater or equal amount of people willing to mess about with the cool tools you’re using and to abuse the trust you’re putting in them.


5 Responses to User Generated Content: Be Careful What You Wish For

  1. This reminds me of that Virgin campaign some time ago. They teamed up with a website famous for its sick humour and asked them to submit photos for a competitoin (i’ve forgotten most of the details).

    As I recall Virgin pulled out of the competition after one too many photos of Richard Branson in on the unfortunate ‘end’ of ‘male erotica’ images.

  2. With no. 2, I didn’t even see Death – I was too distracted by what looks like an inappropriately placed something or other on the older man. Ewwww.

    Honestly I think that adding a kooky photoshop element in these types of contests make them much more interesting (inappropriate content aside, naturally). I’m much more likely to check out the photos to find the “what doesn’t belong” than I would be just looking at people running over Tower Bridge.

  3. But why limit the user at all? Perhaps that is the point – let people be people not perfect approved homogenized images of what the upper crust considers ok ;- )-

  4. Leo Bottary says:

    I’ve seen the dude in black at other marathons too ; – )

  5. Parker says:

    I agree with Melanie and Felix- I think that the greatest thing about user generated content like this is that it gives the practical jokers chance to play. I wouldn’t say that these people are abusing these cool tools at all. In fact, they are taking the uses of these tools farther than anyone else and entertaining both themselves and others.
    Shame on you, Ed Lee, for getting in the way of good fun.

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