Does User Generated Content have the trust factor?



Throughout this year’s X Factor series, there have been leaks on Twitter claiming to know how the public have voted before the show’s host Dermot O’Leary reveals all. A user known as abigail88 is the source of the X Factor leaks, which she first broadcast on a Digital Spy forum. He/She has since set up the inside_man Twitter feed to share the leaks. The fact that these have been retweeted 100+ times suggests that people are taking note of User Generated Content (UGC) as a source of information.

But when I asked some people if they trusted user generated content for news and current affairs, many said they prefer newspapers and big broadcasters to smaller start ups. These people include student journalist Jess Parker, who frequently retweets the X Factor leaks. I asked her the extent to which she trusts UGC:

Here are some tips on how to encourage more people to trust your blog.

People turning to traditional media for their news isn’t that surprising considering that it:

– has established itself as the main way for people to be kept informed

– is monitored by bodies like the Press Complaints Commission and Ofcom meaning it should be reliable (or people may sue.)

– ranks highly in Google search

But with a knowledgable person/expert behind hyperlocal blogs and specialist websites, mainstream media may find competition in the form of user generated content. After all, there’s a reason that Guido Fawkes, Paul Bradshaw and Perez Hilton have a formidable online presence, and that’s because people trust them to provide a service – political scoops, online know-how and celebrity gossip respectively.

It’ll be interesting to see whether user generated content becomes part of mainstream media – some of you may argue it already has what with the big titles’ use of YouTube and Twitter. Look no further than celebrity and lifestyle magazine channel Grazia TV, and David Dimbleby urging viewers to tweet #bbcqt throughout political heavyweight programme Question Time, for examples of established media brands utilising YouTube and Twitter for their own purposes.

Anyway, it’s The X Factor final tonight – let’s see if there are any leaks tonight and whether they speak the truth… they’ve been pretty good so far!

UPDATE: I interviewed Jess Parker again to ask her whether she trusted UGC more when it came to serious news in light of the protests in the Middle East. These have been dominating the news agenda since January and have also been trending on Twitter. An example of the link between recent events in the Middle East and UGC is that the first protest in Egypt was organised on Facebook. Here’s Jess speaking again:

By Anisa Kadri @anisakadri on Twitter

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One response to “Does User Generated Content have the trust factor?

  1. Pingback: Does BBC Newsnight Dump Guests if they get bad comments on Twitter? | generated by users

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