Junkie, as a Killer Anti “User” Argument


In 2006, the “restless entrepreneur” Derek Powazek posted an all in all reasonable text on his blog, “Death to User-Generated Content”, in which he suggested to get rid of the expression “user generated content” which was very actual back then and is still in use today. Good intention, this term is ugly and hypocritical. What reads strange though is the argumentation: The word user was announced to be bad, because user = junkie.

I was reminded about it when I saw a tweet quoting the “galileo of graphics”, Edward Tufte:


It is very easy to attack the word “user” on this level. But what for? To call them customers and make them see themselves as customers?

Why are reputable thinkers not using their eloquence to distinguish computer users from drug users, customers, buyers and people?

Read more on attacks on the word “user” and why the attempts to get rid of it are wrong in my Turing Complete User.

And read Raymond Williams book “The Long Revolution”(1961):

“If we were not consumers, but users we might look at society very differently, for the concept of use involves general human judgements. We need to know how to use things and what are we using them for, and also the effects of particular uses on our general life” p. 323

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