The Responsibility of UGC- The Curious Case of Charlie Sheen


The power of User Generated Content has recently been highlighted with the case of Charlie Sheen.

The actor Charlie Sheen made history when he opened Twitter account, amassing over 1 million followers in 24 hours, setting a new record.

And why such a following over such a short period of time? Well it was a response to the seeming mental breakdown of the actor. Sheen’s breakdown since being fired by the producers of Two and a Half Men have been captured in his own uploaded YouTube videos. The ‘Sheen’s Corner’ videos along with his other video rants seemed to expose his erratic behaviour and have become internet hits.

Such was the intense popularity of these videos that at the time of writing this blog that his interview with the ABC news channel in which he announced he was ‘bi-winning‘ as opposed to bi-polar it has been viewed 8,375,801 times.

This is the interview below:

Views on Sheen’s behaviour have ranged from judgmental to the celebratory but what his case demonstrates is the power of UGC.

As a result of his UGC output and the popularity of them, Sheen has announced he is going on tour, called: ‘My Violent Torpedo of Truth: Defeat is Not An Option‘. According to Perez Hilton, the gossip blogger, the shows sold out in under ten minutes.

In financial terms Sheen’s video blogs and Twitter have brought him a tour that is estimated will make him $7 million. That’s about equal to four episodes of his old show, “Two and a Half Men.”

Sheen’s activities have been the cause of much concern in the press, with increasing speculation of his mental health state. His self-published blogs that show his questionable mental health have provoked many people to suggest that authorities should intervene.

In the case of Charlie Sheen, his behaviour has led to considerable financial gain. However it does raise the question the responsibility of the public in reaction to UGC such as blog posts.

As UGC contributors we also have the responsibility of what we publish and the reactions they inspire. Charlie Sheen’s UGC output made him international news, a seemingly constant feature in the news reports as he published video after video, Tweet after Tweet. We may question the content but we cannot question the prominent role of UGC and its value in public interest cases.

By Vanessa Holland

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