Daily Archives: March 22, 2011

Twitter Communication: The Revolution

The Micro-Blogging UGC site that has 200 million users could be seen as either a new-age technology revolution or a symbol of how we have been changed by a new, faster, more public, digital age?

As we celebrate Twitter’s 5th Birthday I take a look at how Twitter has changed the way we communicate online, for good and bad and some important lessons we should learn.

* Faster Information

We should all be aware that information is far more accessible and fast than it has ever been.
From Eygpt to Libya to Katie Price’s love life: information can be shared across the world, in real-time via mediums like twitter than it has been. As such it could be seen as one of the first port of calls for any journalist to turn to in trying to verify information.
We just need to exercise caution in verifying our sources.

* Information Whenever, Wherever

The nature of mobile internet on our phones and laptops we can receive Twitter alerts wherever, whenever. This mobile nature allows us to access information in real-time. This allows us instant access to immediate reactions to situations, be it earthquakes of The Only Way Is Essex, judging public opinion. The #hashtag tool allows you to keep up with trends in the internet and find subjects quickly.

* Online Community and Inclusion

As Miley Cyrus (among other celebrities) return to Twitter this week, it seems as if we can’t escape the online community of Twitter. Nor should we want to be excluded from the Twitter community, for fear of missing the exclusives, and yes even the gossip that Twitter provides. Which leads nicely on to my next point…

* Openess

We thank Twitter for creating the perfect portal for sharing our thoughts with thousands of other people. This provides a forum for those who have taken to Twitter tend to share a lot more about themselves than may be considered wise. This is not just a non too subtle nod at Mr Sheen, but also the like of PJ Crowley, sacked as US State Department Spokesman for his Twitter comments.
Interactivity is also promoted by Twitter, as you are encouraged to interact with the online community. This allows people unprecedented access to people around the world.

To watch the media storm surrounding PJ Crowley’s Twitter comments see below!

* Opportunity

While Top Tweeters are still celebrities and traditional heavyweights of media, it also gives the bloggers, podcasters and online journalists an audience, allowing them a medium to share their journalism, ideas or agendas.

By Vanessa Holland

Advertisements

Comment is Free…but is it the best way to generate your content?

Is CommentIsFree on the Guardian the best place to get your work submitted? Although it is open for anyone to contribute opinions, the articles that are submitted are carefully selected by the editor and therefore must be of a very high standard to be posted on the website.

George Monbiot is a well-known author. Click here to see the full article on the Guardian’s website.

Richard Seymour is also an author and political activist. Click here to see the full article.

What they both have in common is that they can both write and are well-known for their ability to write well. For our fellow journalists out there desperate to publish your own content, perhaps this isn’t the best way to get your ideas across to other journalists. I have picked out some of the best comments from which the articles have prompted to show that perhaps this is the way forward – to get involved in commenting and contributing that way.

You can see the comment here.

You can see the comment here.

. Here is where you can see the comment.

These are both informative and detailed responses that could easily be contributed and generated by any journalist and will be seen by many.

Here are what two journalists said about CommentIsFree:

Jess Parker @markerjparker- “I think Guardian Comment is Free is quite a regulated form of user generated content. I believe you have to submit articles to the editor, meaning it’s not a ‘freeforall’ like youtube or photbucket or flickr. Also I think people often use it to perhaps pursue journalistic ambitions so in a way it’s a top down run and a slightly niche form of user generated content. I submitted one about a year and a half ago, and recieved good feebback from the editor but it wasn’t topical enough to publish at that time.  i think its impressive if young journalists can get work published on there but the quality is not as high as those articles published in the Guardian and the Observer.”

Emily Lingard @EmilyLingard- “I think it would be naive to assume that having an editorial presence contradicts the fact that CommentisFree is User generated. Whenever anyone posts anything online, they either edit it themselves or someone else will look over it or retweet it or comment on it. These are all forms of editing in their own right. I think the kind of articles they select are usually people who have invested interests in the written word and therefore the content is more manufactured but at the end of the day it offers a wide range of opinions.”

And remember,

Comment Is Free …but facts are sacred – CP Scott 1921

By Linzi Kinghorn

UGC for Entertainment Journalists

User Generated Content can be a useful medium for all types of journalism. All mainstream news companies provide excellent internet sites, that are linked to Twitter and other social media platforms. Their content relies on polls, videos and content that the wider public uploads.

One aspect of journalism that relies increasingly on social media and UGC is entertainment journalism. There are thousands of bloggers and UGC members who contribute to entertainment journalism.

Below are two case studies that utilise UGC in different but equally successful ways.

Perez Hilton

Perez Hilton is the ultimate entertainment and celebrity blogger.

He has built his career on his website and the infamy it generated. Within the first six months of Hilton’s blogging career, his first blog PageSixSixSix.com was named “Hollywood’s Most-Hated Website” by Us TV program The Insider.

As of April 2009 PerezHilton.com was ranked as the 491st most trafficked website on the Internet (143rd within the US) according to Alexa, the subcompany of Amazon.com.

His infamy has been built on the UGC input on his blogs. Relying on his network of sources of personal contact but also tips given to him by the public via his internet sites. He is dependent on the UGC input to his website for his success. His success has become so monumental that he has branched into mainstream international media, including a slot on Radio 1 and on British TV, see the video below!


Hollyscoop

Hollyscoop is  is an online entertainment magazine focusing on Hollywood media, celebrities, fashion, and “Hotspots”.

Hollyscoop provides a good example of UGC and sourcing information for entertainment journalism. It provides up-to-minute breaking news and exclusive stories, directly from the source. It is also updated 24/7, bringing readers from around the world fresh international content daily.

It also commits to a wide variety of UGC sites, promoting itself and its brand across all social media and online community. It has its own Website, a feed on Twitter, FacebookMySpace, and multiple channels, including channels on Blinkx, 5min, Vimeo,  and Youtube.

Hollyscoop has reached across so many online platforms that they are able to get interviews from all the top celebrities as you can see from the video below.

Both these internet entertainment institutions use UGC to their advantage. Building the online networks they depend on and utilise they have built successful careers as entertainment journalists. The impressive scope of their online networks and the publicity they gain from it show how useful UGC can be to a journalist.

By Vanessa Holland

Brand Yourself: Building and Organizing Your UGC Identity

In today’s community whether it be social, professional or online your own identity and personal branding is essential.

Raising awareness of who we are, building careers, and giving them a voice they may not have had before. Social media overlaps all these aspects of our lives. There are many tools that are available as we build our personal brands. monitoring them and promoting them. Here are some useful tools to help build and organizing your own personal brand…

Gravatar: Your Gravatar is an image that appears on social media sites. It appears beside your name when you do things like post a comment or a blog. These help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so keeping the same picture throughout is an easy way to give your online identity continuity.

bit.ly: Is a great way to shorten your URL web addresses so you can share links to share more easily on Twitter (and other sites) that have a restriction on how much space you can type. It also offers a real time link tracking so you can check how many people clicked on your link. Not only does this simplify your social media, it also is a good way to check how popular your content is.

Plaxo: When you begin building your own personal brand, you will start to have lots of different social media forums on which you build your identity. When you do this, keeping track of your contacts may become confusing and Plaxo can help you keep on top of this. You can import them in, then have them present in the cloud. Then you can access all these contacts whenever you like, from your computer, your mobile, or on the go!

Delicious: This is a good way to keep track of all the internet pages that you like or use. Its a good tool to organise your life, bookmark what you like and put them in categories so you can organise your personal brand.

 

Wisestamp: Everybody sends emails and they may seem mundane and not relevant to social media, but you would be wrong! With this site you can include a  social signature which links to your blog/website, and important social links. Its fast and easy to set up and will help formalise your personal brand.

by Vanessa Holland

How Media outlets can use User Generated Content for Feedback and Complaints. ‘Ranters to Ravers’ a Case Study

Lots of people like to comment and complain about the media coverage. Be it that they are unhappy about a TV presenter’s beard or that they are not happy about the panel of a Question Time programme.

The audience is key in media, they are the reason journalism is created. All TV, radio and online content is catered to specific audiences and demographics. This is so strong that some companies go to great lengths to create a fictional character that embodies the kind of person they are trying to make content for. They often even give the character a name. For example ITV Daybreak’s person might be called Sheila. She has 3 children, has a part-time job in an office and is a stay at home mum the rest of the week. At meetings it wouldn’t be totally bizzare to refer to Sheila by saying “now remember Sheila I don’t know if she’d like to see someone having their arm amputated at 9 in the morning.”

Well you get the picture!  Audiences are crucial in media, so it has always been open and receptive to comments about their shows. Traditionally this was done through the good old Royal Mail. Your letter would get through to a person in for example the BBC Points of View office who would, if you were lucky, broadcast your views on the PoV show. These days most people don’t send letters, but they do send lots of angry emails and tweets over the internet at just the click of a button!

The fact that people can tweet or use other forms of social media including Youtube to ‘rant’ about media coverage as it happens could be detrimental to a network’s ratings. If twitter is ‘trending’ for example #bbcqt (BBC Question Time), and all of the tweets are negative, surely it would be a good idea for the network to try and improve people’s perceptions of the show.

Some businesses like Dell have managed to harness the art of complaining into an online experience which transforms as they put it ‘Ranters to Ravers‘. I.e. people who hate the service to people who rave about it! I think that this form of user generated content is something that journalism and media outlets could learn a lot from.

They connect with their customers online, helping them with problems and listening to their views. Unlike many outlets which people contact and never receive any reply. They try to find solutions to their problems and change people’s perceptions of the company by improving their experience of the product.

Here Dell’s Stephen Jio talks about the project:

If people knew that their views were being dealt with in real time, they would perhaps be more willing to keep listening or watching a show. It would be equally useful for the media to listen to their audience and interact with it as they would know what they like and what they don’t. They could therefore cater to their audience’s every wish and who knows they might see their ratings shoot up…

What do you think?

Is it enough that BBC Question Time only has these ways of contacting them ? Or is it time for them to bring feedback and complaining into the social networking century?

This is a good article about how companies are profiting from customer interaction over social media.

http://www.fishburn-hedges.co.uk/news/articles/new-media-age-event-reputation-online

By Kirsty Malcolm @kirstymalcolm