UCC enables everybody to be a publisher, using the Web as a global platform.

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UCC enables everybody to be a publisher, using the Web as a global platform.

These days the term “UCC” is used frequently on the Internet and by the media. It’s become so important because so many web users now publish videos or diaries on the Internet. UCC stands for “User Created Content.” In the past, these initials were almost always accompanied with an explanation, but now UCC has become such a common term that people writing about UCC often don’t bother to explain what it is. They do the same with the term “blog,” which is short for weblog, a kind of Internet diary.
Now we know what the initials in UCC stand for, it is important to know who the “user” is and what kind of “content” we’re talking about.
The term UCC was created for the Internet, and therefore everything connected to it happens in cyberspace. Therefore “user” refers to the Internet user and “content” means anything that is published on the Internet.
Publishing is actually a fancy way of saying “posting” or “uploading” things to the Internet. The term “publishing” is used because it is a more general term that sounds more professional. So if you’re writing text or posting photos, or doing anything that leaves a trace on the Web, you’re basically a publisher.
On the Internet, all users who do more than browse are considered one-person publishers.
So let’s say you’ve read a great book, or an awful book, and you want to share your ideas about it through the Internet. Writing something on your own Web site, or any other Internet bulletin board is an example of creating UCC. And remember those great pictures of your uncle stuffing himself at the family gathering last Chuseok? If you’ve uploaded those photos to your Cyworld home page, those photos are also UCC. Or maybe you’re a tech-savvy teen teen reader and you filmed a short video clip of the singer Rain with your cell phone, in a chance encounter on the subway. While this scenario may only happen in your dreams, the point here is that if you post that video on the Web, that video is UCC and makes you a web publisher. This is one of the great aspects of UCC. In the past publishing was the preserve of huge companies, or at least those who could afford access to a printing press. Now anyone can be a publisher, often with no more than the push of a button.
UCC also covers content that people may not even consider to be “published” material. If you read a well-written article by a JoongAng Daily reporter and you decide to write a comment under that article, your one-sentence comment would also be considered UCC. What counts is that the comment is worth reading.

The Birth of UCC
When the Internet was first introduced, the news generated by newspapers, magazines, and broadcasting stations was not posted on the Web immediately. Back then, the time lapse didn’t make much of a difference because Internet connection speeds weren’t very fast. But as high-speed Internet began making its way into homes, things began to change. People got bored with text, and began incorporating more visual, audio, and moving image content.
People also began using the Internet as a means to express themselves. Since it doesn’t take money to post things on the Internet because many Web sites offer free space, people started to create their own Web sites, blogs, Web zines (Web magazines), and a host of other innovative forms of expression
It also helped that gadgets turned digital as well. In the past, for instance, film had to be sent to the developer to be processed and printed, and then one would have to scan the photo to post it to the Internet. It was just too much work. But digital cameras have made publishing photos on the Web much easier. Since people didn’t have to worry about taking too many pictures now that there are no developing costs, more and more people have started taking more pictures and sharing them on the Web.
More recently, mobile phones not only take pictures, but also short video clips. Some mobile phones even allow you to edit photos and upload those photos directly from the phone through wireless Internet connections. All these evolving technologies have helped boost UCC.

Why is UCC popular?
So now we know that people are doing a lot with UCC and that most of the things we see posted by individuals on the Web are UCC. But that still doesn’t answer the question of why UCC is popular.
There are probably a million reasons why people enjoy UCC, but according to polls, some of the top explanations are because they feel that UCC is a more “friendly” and “frank” type of material. If a person for instance, sees a product review written by someone who has bought that product at an online shopping mall, he or she may feel that the information is more credible than some promotional blurb from the seller. Also, a lot of UCC is very personal, and, heaven knows why, people like prying (or peeking) into the lives of others.
Many Internet users also provide useful information through UCC. Some bloggers write detailed recipes that include photos of the entire preparation process. UCC can also create social controversy. The girl who didn’t clean up her dog’s excrement on a subway in Seoul was roundly criticized by the public after someone posted photos of her misdemeanour on the Internet.
The dark side
Of course, UCC is not all good. Since anyone can post anything on the Internet, you really can’t tell whether what you are seeing is true or manipulated.
A few months ago, some students pretended to get married on the subway because they were poor and a video clip was posted on the Web. The video generated a lot of sympathy and some people donated money to them so they could have a honeymoon. Later, the students confessed it was an acting project. While this example did not actually harm anyone, some UCC could be damaging, such as information that defames somebody. Malicious UCC could even get you sued.

by Kim Jun-hyun, Wohn Dong-hee
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