User Generated Content (UGC) is a hot topic - it seems everyone wants it. A bit like everyone wanted Blogging. They weren't quite sure what it was but they were pretty much convinced that businesses should be Blogging, so they told their IT section to order in some Blogging.

Or something.

So anyway UGC is the new black (one of them anyway), which seems to translate to "comments" a lot of the time... but hey, that's a step forward in many cases. It all helps and paves the way for the next thing.

Once in a while though you see something which just sets a different standard. A SXSW attendee - a user, in other words - decided that mere note-taking didn't cut it. So they sketched the speakers: Crazy Characters at SXSW | In The Garage | The nGen Works Blog.

Now that is what user-generated content should be like! Compelling, unusual and link-worthy. It reminds me of John Allsopp's WE05 remixes (admittedly calling John a WE05 'user' is pushing it a bit ;)).

Of course it's not exactly UGC if it's hosted on the user's own blog, rather it's meta content... but I like to point out cool moments of user engagement, even if just to remind us all to keep an open mind. The best ideas are probably things we won't even think of ourselves - the users can and will outdo us.

So if you want UGC as part of your product or business, look to the users for ideas on what form the UGC should take. You may suggest or set directions, but you shoudl be willing to accept direction as well.

Maybe the buzzword should be User Generated Concepts.