Daily Archives: March 16, 2011

What are the advantages of using UGC on hyperlocal websites and blogs?

User generated content is extremely important to hyperlocal blogs. The readers of this kind of blog are often those who generate content for it.

People are always interested in what’s happening in their area. Equally if something interesting happens in a local area be it a car crash or a street party, people seem to like to talk about it and connect with other people to see if they know what’s going on.

Blogs and websites can either have simple comments sections to allow people to generate content or they can actively seek user generated content and news using plugins like the box shown below.

Battersea people is a hyperlocal website that focuses on news and events in London’s Battersea area. They have an area on their homepage dedicated to asking its readers about what’s happening in the area:

As you can see someone called “ex-teacher” has just sent in something.

And what are the advantages of asking your readers for UGC?

  • people in the community can be original sources for stories
  • they often know more about what’s happening at a local level than journalists
  • they will be able to comment on the real life situation as it happens
  • they can send in pictures/videos which is especially good if your journalist can’t be there
  • people like to be members of communities so if they see their content being used they are very likely to continue sending in information which maked them a reliable source
  • it can be a great source of case studies

I talked to Anisa Kadri,, the Community Publisher of Battersea People, about how the site uses UGC. She told me that some of the advantages to UGC are finding original stories, getting feedback from readers, and adding value and information to stories that they might have missed.

When I asked about how they regulate their UGC she said that the main regulator is the readers themselves. Anyone can press “report as abuse” on a comment or post and it will be immediately sent to the site administrators who can decide if it should stay or go!

Many people are scared by UGC being on their websites, but in the end a lot can be gained from it. As long as there is some form of content regulation that means that abusive comments or content can be removed it should be ok.

One of the big problems is when people start to say things that could be against the law. People might say something defamatory or libelous.  We’re working on a post to explain all about this right now!

Click here to listen to the interview with Anisa. Or follow the link below:

http://boos.audioboo.fm/swf/fullsize_player.swf

Here are some other websites with interesting articles about UGC and Hyperlocal websites:

User Generated/Community Content

By Kirsty Malcolm @kirstymalcolm

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The search for Japan’s loved ones is on…thanks to social media

The issue

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake. Over 4164 people dead. Fears of radiation poisoning growing. 450,000 people displaced from their homes. These are the result of an earthquake that shook Japan last week.

The aid of User Generated Content

The only thing that has remained largely intact is the internet and has played a pivotal role in helping families find their loved ones since the disaster struck. It must be a horrific time for people who are desperately searching for family and friends, who have no idea of their whereabouts or even whether they are alive or dead.

The best advice is “to continue your efforts to be in contact with your loved one(s) using SMS texting and other social media (e.g., FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.) that your loved one(s) may use.”

This was the advice given by the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to U.S. citizens in Japan in the search for loved ones. In the message from the U.S Embassy, people were also encouraged to use the Google Person Finder, Youtube Person Finder and the Red Cross’s Family Links website to try and find people.

Less than an hour after the quake, the number of tweets coming from people in Tokyo amounted to more than 1,200 per minute, according to Tweet-o-Meter. Click here to see people exchanging stories about their searches and experiences.

Person Finder is often created by Google during emergencies because it allows people to leave information about their whereabouts or information about a missing person. At the time of writing, there were about 158,700 records for Japan — more than 140,000 more records than were submitted to the last such site it set up for the victims of the Christchurch earthquake in February.

The Red Cross Family Links site operates in a similar manner, publishing a list of names with contact information of people who want to make it known that they are alive and people whose relatives have indicated they are missing.

Many of these status’ allowed people to get in touch very quickly. There were 4.5 million status updates from 3.8 million users across the world on March 11 that mentioned “Japan,” “earthquake” or “tsunami.”

The latest

Fellow journalists, you may be interested to know that the Japanese Prime Minister’s Office has created an English twitter page for people around the world (and of course beneficial for journalists!) The twitter account @JPN_PMO is translating from the disaster information account @Kantei_Saigai.

Is anyone following @JPN_PMO?
By Linzi Kinghorn

The PR value of UGC – fancy being Charlie Sheen’s social media intern?

Screen grab from Charlie Sheen's Twitter account

UGC encourages specialism – you can become an expert on a community based on interest, location or cause by generating content about it. While engaging with a community may result in you providing a news service via a blog or social media, your interest in UGC could lead to a job in PR in this promotion-centric world which also requires knowledge and specialism, specifically, knowledge of the brand. Twitter is often used for PR purposes, and right now actor Charlie Sheen is looking for a social media intern to promote his infamous reputation. Check out Charlie Sheen’s Twitter if you haven’t already!

UGC can help to promote brands. Consider Take Me Out on ITV, a dating show where women keep on their lights if they fancy the fellow that comes down the ‘love lift,’ and he picks one of the lasses that has taken a shine to him to date.  A person is employed to tweet throughout the shows from Take Me Out’s official Twitter account, and lots of people interact with them or tweet about the show, giving it publicity. It often trends on a UK level on Twitter as a result.

An example of the banter between Take Me Out's social networking team and users that helps generated publicity for the show (screen grab)

While you consider the PR aspect of UGC, check out the job description for Charlie Sheen’s social media intern:

Position: Full-Time,

Paid Timeframe: Summer 2011 (8 weeks)

Description: Do you have #TigerBlood? Are you all about #Winning? Can you #PlanBetter than anyone else? If so, we want you on #TeamSheen as our social media #TigerBloodIntern!

This unique internship opportunity will allow a hard-working, self-motivated, creative, resourceful and social media savvy individual to work closely with Charlie Sheen in leveraging his social network. The internship will focus on executing a social media strategy that will build on the success Charlie Sheen has attained in setting the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to reach one million followers on Twitter. The #TigerBloodIntern is expected to be proactive, monitor the day-to-day activities on the major social media platforms, prepare for exciting online projects and increase Charlie’s base of followers.

You will learn how to promote and develop the social media network of Hollywood’s most trending celebrity.

Did you/Are you gonna apply? Own up.

By Anisa Kadri @anisakadri on Twitter