Author Archives: anisakadri

Tweet / Facebook your pics of India vs Pakistan @ Generated By Users: the quest for UGC

I was browsing through this blog, when I noticed something was missing – consideration of UGC when it comes to sport. You will often see users taking to social media during sporting events as they generate a great emotional response in fans. India played Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup today – a huge rivalry largely due to the two countries’ proximity and history. Plenty were Facebook –ing and tweeting about the game.

I took to both Twitter and Facebook to try and get users to send me pictures of their viewing experiences to convey the atmosphere and buzz surrounding the clash.

Here was my first tweet:

Generated By Users tweets during India vs Pakistan

Unsurprisingly, it received no response – so I requested that people send me pictures in tweets using the trending #indvspak and by hashtag -ing towns where I knew there was a large Asian population including Southall, Bradford and Tooting.

Sadly, I didn’t receive any responses on the Generated By Users Twitter account at this stage despite using hashtags to focus my tweets so they can be searched for more easily.

But I did get responses to my Facebook appeal:

Malpreet Lidder sends me a picture of her India vs Pakistan viewing experience via Facebook

My friend Malpreet probably took time to take this picture and tag me in it because she knows me personally, emphasising the importance of social capital. My family friend Romana also snapped a picture of her viewing experience in Lahore:

My family friend Romana Chohan watching the match in Pakistan

I was conscious that people may be so absorbed by the game that they won’t take time to send little known but obviously awesome blog Generated By Users their pictures. So after the game, I appealed for pictures of places where I knew fans would be celebrating on the streets following India’s win.

More Twitter appeals post-match

Alas, no one would get back to Generated By Users.

I decided to search #southall and came across a man called Jez Humble who had tweeted a picture of the jubilant scenes in this West London town.

I got in touch with him and he kindly let me put his photo on my blog…

Thanks Jez!

Southall post India vs Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup: spot the India flags! Picture taken by @jezhumble on Twitter

Thus, I got some UGC for this post through Twitter after many hours, to convey the excitement surrounding today’s match.


This experiment shows me using Twitter and Facebook to source UGC, and also allowed me to demonstrate knowledge of the Creative Commons Licence. This essentially gives the go ahead for an organisation/person to use other people’s pictures for free with their permission – always remember to credit them!

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out bloggers’ your2pence’s attempt to get in touch with people on the ground in Japan. They did good!

By Anisa Kadri @anisakadri on Twitter

UGC in the children’s world: we speak to expert in children’s audience Greg Childs

From online forums such as the CBBC messageboards to interactive sites like, children create UGC too!So, I arranged to talk with children’s media consultant Greg Childs, whose company provides digital solutions for the children’s audience. He previously worked for many years at CBBC.

Greg Childs - media consultant providing digital solutions for the children's audience with . Picture taken by Anisa Kadri

Greg set up the BBC Children’s New Media Unit, to develop the first official Websites for key brands such as Blue Peter and Live & Kicking. He told Generated By Users the main differences between the use of UGC by children and adults. He emphasises that children have to be directed more when it comes to using UGC. I noticed how true this was when analysing Newsround’s website. The screen grab below is from the top of Newsround’s homepage, highlighting the importance of UGC in making news accessible for children.

Screen grab of the top of Newsround's homepage

To make news engaging, children are being directed to create UGC by being told they can play games, take quizzes and interact on the site via the chat rooms. Adults need less direction, for instance they may just express their opinions on news as comments or in tweets.

Greg also explained the extent to which Facebook and Twitter are options for children, and highlighted a number of websites encouraging children to explore UGC including where children can look after virtual pets and talk about them.

Screen grab of children's website

Listen to Greg speak on the above matters below:

I thought I’d split the interview I conducted with Greg in two. He also told me whether his ideas for children’s UGC had changed since he launched the first online forums at CBBC, and what he sees next for UGC in the children’s arena. He thinks we may see even younger children generating content, but not using language… intrigued? Then be sure to listen the second part of my interview with Greg:

By Anisa Kadri @anisakadri on Twitter

Channel 4 News launches cuts map in time for Budget – UGC to the max

The developer behind the #uksnow map Ben Marsh has launched a crowdsourced cuts map for Channel 4 to monitor spending cuts across the UK in time for George Osborne’s Budget.

Twitter can be used to report government cuts taking place via this map. On Twitter, the hashtag #c4cuts, a place name/postcode and a link to an article will appear on the map on Channel 4’s website.

So we see a big broadcaster using UGC in a fantastic way, reaching more communities than they might do otherwise. Channel 4 News say they want to “harness the power of social media and the wisdom of the crowd” to find stories they may have missed.

Channel 4 News’s Head Of Online Ed Fraser told Generated By Users: “…if you ask a Channel 4 News presenter like John Snow or Krishnan Guru-Murthy a question or one of our correspondents or producers then you will usually get a reply/answer.

“We are now looking to evolve the next stage of our social media strategy and reach out to the audience to help us develop our journalism both online and then to translate that onto television.  There have been a lot of collaborative style projects online but few that make the translation onto television.

“We hope our Cutsmap will enable the audience to join with us in pinpointing cuts around the country at a local level and it can be a resource for both them and for us to develop stories from.”

Channel 4 isn’t the only broadcaster using innovative Budget-inspired UGC. Sky News will have a Budget calculator available shortly after the announcement so people can fill in their details and see how much better or worse they will be as a result of the Budget. The BBC also has a Budget calculator. And ITV News had a live web chat featuring a panel of experts whom users could post questions to and interact with online.

If you’re in Budget mode, here it is at a glance. And below is some reaction from Twitter:

@drummermik: Wow. A whole penny off fuel per litre. I can now get a couple penny sweets every time I fill up. #Budget

@lightboxstudios: So far it seems the budget is pretty good, especially for small businesses. Nice one George, looking forward to my reduced business rates!

@mancman: @10anta i suggest you watch the BBC, this shocking budget is not going down well with the public, Roll on May 5th when you get massacred

Lots of different opinions then – what are your thoughts on the cuts map/Budget? Feel free to add some UGC to this post with a comment or two!

By Anisa Kadri @anisakadri on Twitter

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

UGC holds world leaders accountable – YouTube’s World View

’Tis the season to hold world leaders accountable through User Generated Content (UGC), and I’m not just talking about the current uprisings against dictators in the Middle East. Our very own David Cameron has been quizzed by Joe public on YouTube’s World View:

Al Jazeera’s Kamahl Santamaria was the host. He drew attention to the World View interviews breaking down the distinction between professional journalists and users, by describing the Q&A with Cameron as a a “special collaborative interview… between us and you.”

Over 7, 000 questions were put to the PM after YouTube invited people to send in questions on both foreign and domestic affairs via video and text. Seeing the videos of people asking questions throughout the interview emphasised the prominence of UGC.

In being broadcast on the internet, the world has access to this interview. If it had just been shown on a national broadcaster, it would have reached a smaller number of people.

The comment facilities and number of ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ accompanying the video are more examples of UGC, and give some indication of how people felt about the interview.

The World View series shows the use of UGC to reach the most powerful people – Barack Obama was interviewed before Cameron. You might even call it an Internet revolution.

By Anisa Kadri @anisakadri on Twitter

Covering it live – the York Gardens Library ‘read in’, Battersea

Toynbee speaks out on plan to close York Gardens Library

Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee spoke out against the planned closure of York Gardens Library in Battersea. Picture by Anisa Kadri @anisakadri on Twitter

I am the community publisher of a hyperlocal blog called Battersea People, which provides news about, yep, you guessed it, Battersea in South London. It’s Save Our Libraries Day today so York Gardens Library in Battersea that the council plans to close held an event to showcase various speakers and explain why it should stay open. I saw some people tweeting about the event so decided to set up a live blog about it on

Check out my entire live blog here: Save York Gardens Library read in

By adding the Twitter feeds of people I knew would tweet throughout the event, and also allowing any tweets with the words York Gardens Library or #saveYGlibrary to appear on my live feed, I fully embraced User Generated Content (UGC). Indeed, this meant non-journalists’ tweets were featured in my live blog, and so users were providing information, breaking down the distinction between the journo and the user.

Live blogging is great for conveying the immediacy of news journalism. Having various Twitter-ers giving their views and updates on the York Gardens ‘read in’ on my live feed meant I was gauging rection moreorless in real time. Therefore, UGC not only blurs the distinction between journalists and users, it also allows the journalist to interact with their audience effectively and efficiently.

By Anisa Kadri @anisakadri on Twitter

Everybody has a story to tell… yours could be a top 10 most viewed YouTube video!

Everybody has a story to tell and without User Generated Content, in the form of YouTube, we may never have known there is a taxi driver that sings exactly like Michael Jackson:

Traditional broadcast media is restricted firstly because of limited air time and secondly, because they have to cater to their audiences be it for radio, TV or online. Therefore, they have to prioritise when deciding on what information to relay to the public.

Sometimes, the most insignificant stories/news/facts can be the most entertaining like our pal there who can sing exactly like MJ. UGC makes the insignificant a phenomenon.

If you look at the top 10 most viewed YouTube videos of 2010 as featured on, they are a mix of content created by professionals such as the Twilight trailer (number eight), and content created by users like this man getting  extremely excited about seeing a double rainbow:

The number one most watched video is inspired by news broadcast by mainstream media. Indeed, it is an autotuned  rendition of interviewee Antoine Dobson’s words to a broadcaster about a sex attacker operating in his area. This song created more of a stir than the original news story, entering the music charts and getting nearly 50 million views. It was produced by YouTube partner Auto-Tune the News also known as the Gregory Brothers, a family of musicians. Does its prominence show the triumph of UGC?

By Anisa Kadri @anisakadri on Twitter

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