This is the age of content creation. This is the age of consumers generating their own content, consumers taking control away from companies, brands, broadcasters and the rest.....however:
A new study by Hitwise apparently suggests that the number of generators of user-generated content is even smaller:
"A tiny 0.16 percent of visits to Google's top video-sharing site, YouTube, are by users seeking to upload video for others to watch, according to a study of online surfing data by Bill Tancer, an analyst with Web audience measurement firm Hitwise. Similarly, only two-tenths of one percent of visits to Flickr, a popular photo-editing site owned by Yahoo Inc., are to upload new photos, the Hitwise study found."
What this shows is that although there are now more ways in which to express yourself and create your own content, only a very few number of people actually end up doing it. A chap I work with, Chris Stephenson who writes here points out that the major factors that prevent everyone from being a creator are talent and resources:
this cap on creation was historically down, I suppose, to two factors: firstly ability - not everyone is a Gaudí or Tolkien. but secondly it was determined by an individuals capacity to create and the resources available to them...creation comes at a cost (be it resources or time), and not everyone can afford
Now I agree with him that the second factor - cost - has been negated to a certain extent by the explosion of web 2.0 - literally everyone can create and dsitribute their own content. If you look at the penetration of mobile phones capable of taking video footage, arguably everyone has the capability to be a film maker - just think of the massacre at Virginia Tech where one of the most broadcast pieces of footage was from a mobile phone.
However, the factor that will not change is that not everyone can physically produce good content, because not everyone has the talent. It's probably an extreme case of the 80:20 rule where 80 percent of the best content is being produced by 20 (or in this case even lower) percent of people.
Now to put a final spin on it, a quote by Ivan at futurelab where this story came from is:
"the bigger force is not consumer-generated content, it's consumer-edited content."
So someone with the talent creates it, and someone with less talent takes it, tinkers with it, maybe improves it?