User generated content is content that has been voluntarily contributed by individuals, which is then usually shared on the Internet. 

Why do people generate content online?

According to research, there are two main reasons as to why non-commercial users generate content: (1) for image utility or (2) for intrinsic utility.

Image utility users derive greater value from having many followers. These users post content to gain followers, and when they have reached their desired follower count, content posted usually starts decreasing as the network grows larger. On the other hand, intrinsic users derive value from having their content viewed by many followers. Since these users gain a greater benefit for sharing information with larger audiences, the content posted should increase with the size of the network.

Can users influence other users on the internet?

According to research, users can be influenced by other users on the type of content they produce online. The findings in this study reveal that users tend to imitate content produced by more popular users on the social media site, while users who have a similar follower count and popularity of the site, tend to try to differentiate their content.

How can user-generated content be utilised?

For a breakdown of the uses of user content, read our post on ‘Big Data, Analytics and User Generated Content‘.


Krumm, J., Davies, N. and Narayanaswami, C. (2008). User-Generated Content. PERVASIVE computing. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Apr. 2016].

Shriver, S. K., Nair, H. S. & Hofstetter, R. 2013. Social Ties and User-Generated Content: Evidence from an Online Social Network. Management Science, 59, 1425-1443.