Don't Call Me a User!

I hate the word “user.” As has often been noted, there are only two industries that refer to their customers as users: high tech and illegal drugs. Is this the company we want to keep? As a writer in business and technology publications, I try hard to avoid it, sometimes too hard as I use increasingly awkward constructions. If we are, as it appears, getting deeper into a period when “user-generated content” is turning into the conceptual glue that holds together so many net services, I must admit that I’m fighting a losing battle. So, as editor of Release 2.0, it’s time for me to stop. My writers will be happy to learn that I’m no longer rewriting their articles on user-generated content so they no longer include the word “user.” I still distrust it, though, and I’d like to pose a question to our readers: Do you know of a better term? If so, please share it. Only you can come up with a user-generated superior alternative to “user.”