The term “User Generated Content” (UGC) usually refers to any material created and uploaded to the Internet by non-media professionals (the “users” or “public”). The definition is broad, and UGC may include anything from a comment on a shopping website to a video uploaded on YouTube. Thanks to the growing availability of fast and reliable internet connections, the impact and availability of UGC has drastically increased in the past 5 years, and it is nowadays one of the dominant forms of online information. Social networking is the ultimate manifestation of user generated content, and as such, UGC and Social Networks are transforming the media ecosystem.
If, in the past, a few content creators and distributors would control the majority of the media available to the general public, nowadays the public is at the same time consumer and content producer. Social media services such as Facebook and Twitter allow for fast exchange and sharing of UGC, and are increasing their popularity day by day. Facebook had a number of active users (namely those accessing the service at least once a month) of more than 1.35 billion. This incredible amount of users generate massive amount of multimedia UGC. As of June 2014 there has been an average of more than 1 billion video views on Facebook every day, while over 4 billion hours of video were watched each month on YouTube in 2012. Interestingly, almost half of the users in social media services uploaded content that they generated themselves (46% of the total number of adult users). This rapid growth of user-generated videos provides enormous potential for users to find the ones that interest them; moreover, the convergence of online social network services and online video sharing services makes it possible to perform recommendation using social factors and content factors jointly. Moreover, the rapid proliferation of connected mobile devices as means to capture and share videos allows the users to collaborate while generating the content, providing interesting opportunities for user-generated multimedia creation and production. Finally, by studying and applying various gamifications techniques COGNITUS will try to leverage the aforementioned intrinsic people’s desire for socialising in order to increase users’ self contributions, participation and even support marketing.