Daily Archives: March 20, 2011

The Top Twitter 100

Last month The Independent Newspaper published their list of 100 Top Tweeters.

‘Its 200 million users share 110 million messages a day – and if you don’t know who rules the twittersphere, you don’t understand the 21st-century world’ The Independent aim to give their definitive guide of the UK’s tweet elite.’

To see who made the top 100, click here.

The Independent’s list does present a helpful list to those working in the media and those interested in UGC. The list breaks with tradition as it doesn’t place their primary focus on numbers of followers (although they do consider popularity), but also content, interactivity with followers and social impact of their Tweets. This is a welcome change from the usual polls that publish lists of the ‘top tweeters’ that comprise of vacant celebrities.

Their Top 100 is comprised of a wide strata of the public world, not just the Katie Price celebrities of the UK (although she does rank in at number 89). Those who made it into the top 100 Tweeters included politicians, comedians, broadcasters, journalists, scientists, activists, authors and musicians.

The very first person listed is Sarah Brown, wife to ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown and is called by some “the first lady of Twitter“. She seems notable as she heads the list and rightfully so. Hailed by The Independent as ‘an unexpected pioneer of the medium’ her case seems to show the triumph of Twitter. While she was mocked when she first began Tweeting, and her Tweets are often rather dull. Yet through her endearing nature and her campaigning work that she publishes on Twitter, she has grown incredibly popular. Her interactivity with her followers also commends her as a top Tweeter, an important aspect of any UGC forum.

The Independent argues that ‘she is now more listened to than her husband’. This seems an amazing achievement when she has based it all on her User Generated Content of Twitter. Using her experience in PR to create such a successful online identity,  inviting her husband to guest edit for the day, increasing her following by a thousand. While her Twitter account does not reveal any opportunities for journalism, it does provide an excellent case study for how to manipulate UGC to the best possible capacity.

If a woman who has nothing of particular wit or breaking news can reach the top of a list like this, posting about family walks and the generally mundane then it seems that UGC can be accessible, and useful to everyone and anyone!

By Vanessa Holland

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The Responsibility of UGC- The Curious Case of Charlie Sheen

The power of User Generated Content has recently been highlighted with the case of Charlie Sheen.

The actor Charlie Sheen made history when he opened Twitter account, amassing over 1 million followers in 24 hours, setting a new record.

And why such a following over such a short period of time? Well it was a response to the seeming mental breakdown of the actor. Sheen’s breakdown since being fired by the producers of Two and a Half Men have been captured in his own uploaded YouTube videos. The ‘Sheen’s Corner’ videos along with his other video rants seemed to expose his erratic behaviour and have become internet hits.

Such was the intense popularity of these videos that at the time of writing this blog that his interview with the ABC news channel in which he announced he was ‘bi-winning‘ as opposed to bi-polar it has been viewed 8,375,801 times.

This is the interview below:

Views on Sheen’s behaviour have ranged from judgmental to the celebratory but what his case demonstrates is the power of UGC.

As a result of his UGC output and the popularity of them, Sheen has announced he is going on tour, called: ‘My Violent Torpedo of Truth: Defeat is Not An Option‘. According to Perez Hilton, the gossip blogger, the shows sold out in under ten minutes.

In financial terms Sheen’s video blogs and Twitter have brought him a tour that is estimated will make him $7 million. That’s about equal to four episodes of his old show, “Two and a Half Men.”

Sheen’s activities have been the cause of much concern in the press, with increasing speculation of his mental health state. His self-published blogs that show his questionable mental health have provoked many people to suggest that authorities should intervene.

In the case of Charlie Sheen, his behaviour has led to considerable financial gain. However it does raise the question the responsibility of the public in reaction to UGC such as blog posts.

As UGC contributors we also have the responsibility of what we publish and the reactions they inspire. Charlie Sheen’s UGC output made him international news, a seemingly constant feature in the news reports as he published video after video, Tweet after Tweet. We may question the content but we cannot question the prominent role of UGC and its value in public interest cases.

By Vanessa Holland