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Until the Internet arrived, content creation and distribution was always an expensive, difficult process. With the Internet it is dramatically easier, faster, and cheaper. Some argue that this will move creation out of the hands of elites and lead to wider participation in the public sphere and to enhanced democracy. This paper makes three contributions to this debate. First, it uses a national random sample of the British population. This is much broader than most prior work. Second, it creates the first evidence-based typology of Internet content creation, identifying three types named ‘skilled content’, ‘social and entertainment content’, and ‘political content’. The implicit assumption of many researchers that only one type of content exists is not accurate. Third, using multivariate logistic regression it shows the characteristics of different populations that produce each type of content. Elites have no impact on creation of skilled content. Social and entertainment content is more likely to be created by non-elites. Only creation of political content is significantly and positively associated with elite status. These results clarify inconsistencies in prior studies. Each type of content is produced by a different kind of creator. Thus, type is more than just content; it also describes differences in who creates the content. The varying relationships between elite status and content creation suggest that it is important for future research to pay close attention to the type of content under study when considering possible democratization of creation.
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Keywords: content creation; content types; digital divide; elites; mobility; oxford Internet survey

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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