Daily Archives: March 15, 2011

Online Identity and the Importance of Reputation

Phone-ins, interviews and opinion polls form the bedrock of traditional journalism. This form of audience participation enriched the journalism. In today’s online journalism, user generated content also serves to provide more layers to enhance the journalism.
Yet with all journalism it is important that your source is trustworthy.

Stephen Fry, is one of the most popular ‘Tweeters’, with more that 50,000 people following him on Twitter. He has built up an online reputation that makes people want to interact with him and experience his own micro-blogs.

However talking to one BCC reporter he revealed that his initial thought about Twitter, calling it ‘the weirdest and naffist idea I’d ever come across…You tell people what you’re doing and obviously a lot of that is pretty banal and common place and easy to mock…’

Fry goes on to comment that some of his blogs may be ‘savagely banal’ but such is the frequency and reliability of his Tweets that he is rewarded with such a high amount of followers.

If your online reputation is the basis of your popularity and reliability, then maintaining it is crucial. The ease and accessibility of Twitter means that it is very easy to destroy that reputation by Tweeting something that is false or slanderous. Stephen Fry commented on this, he is always ‘aware that I could shoot my mouth off inappropriately if I’d had a few glasses of wine or if I was in a really stinky mood, or if I reveal my location to disadvantage’.

Within the world of blogging and user generated content there grows a sense of online community. Many people who use Twitter commonly have questions or problems they need help with. This may be as a journalist, or for a more general question. The sense of community is such that you expect that if you ask a question, it is likely that another Tweeter will help you and answer it or refer you to a source that may help. By helping them, you not only solve their issue, you help establish credibility and identity among the Twitter and wider online community.

An example of this is when Stephen Fry tweeted asking for advice when a bat became trapped in his house and within seconds he had hundreds of replies within seconds! This method was by far the quickest way to tap into the collective wisdom of the public because of the reputation and following he had built up.

Watch Stephen Fry’s Unofficial Guide to Twitter below!

By Vanessa Holland

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When UGC turns Ugly- You’re fired! on Twitter

On the 8th January 2010, Simon McMenemy (Simcm7) tweeted: ‘Feels totally disrespected. No call, text, nothing. Been told my a friend who watched it on TV, this is not how to treat people.’

This was Simon McMenemy’s reaction, as he became the first international football manager to be fired on Twitter.

Simon McMenemy should have been celebrating his other first, becoming the youngest international manager in the world and becoming an overnight hero in the Philippines after inspiring the country to its greatest-ever success at a major tournament. Yet instead he picked up a more unwelcome first. He became the first international boss to discover his sacking on Twitter before having it confirmed by a friend on Facebook.

McMenemy’s rise to fame was sudden. He worked as Albion’s football and health development officer and last season he was assistant manager at Worthing, before he successfully applied for the manager of the Philippines.

McMenemy took the Philippines reached the semi-finals of the Suzuki Cup in South East Asia, the national side’s best ever performance.

“After four months I had been the most successful Philippines coach of all-time. Three wins, five draws and three losses were not too bad.”

But this was not enough and he still lost his job as new German financiers of the club demanded the right to choose their own manager.

I talked to Simon for BBC Sussex to get his reaction on the story. He told me that by using this form of media, it was so much more impersonal than ringing him or contacting him directly.

This highlights the worst aspects of UGC when a leaked story can ruined someone’s professional credibility as well as their career. The speed of which the leak from Twitter moved to Facebook was rapid enough that the chairman of the Philippines had to appear directly on national television to confirm the rumours, rather than alerting McMenemy first.

He said: “It’s a sore one to take as it got leaked on Twitter.”

On 3rd February he Tweeted: ‘football rules my life. Has cost me jobs, relationships, my health (broke my leg in a tackle 2 years ago) still in love with it’

With his previous career success, in a matter of mere months of rising from non-league football to an international manager, it seems that he shouldn’t be short of future job offers!

By Vanessa Holland

Why UGC is not a cheap alternative to real journalism – an in depth interview with Trushar Barot

Trushar Barot is a senior Broadcast Journalist from the User Generated Content hub at the BBC. I managed to catch up with him to find out what he does on a daily basis, which social media site the BBC benefits from using the most and whether he thinks UGC is a cheap alternative to real journalism.

The future of journalism is going to be much more about journalists who work with social media becoming trusted editors of UGC, according to Trushar.

The department at the BBC finds Twitter “essential” in newsgathering and are confident in using it to source stories. He says there has been a huge shift in the way people use sources such as Facebook, Youtube and Flickr.

It is particularly helpful when sourcing information in the Middle East fot the recent crisis. He says there has been an intense pressure for the BBC to keep up with the most current information and pictures.

He says he trys to maintain a good relationship with users who contribute information and makes sure they know they own the copyright of their information. The BBC also has a policy of never paying for information they obtain.


By Linzi Kinghorn