Author Archives: vanessaholland101

The Facebook Factor- Facebook in Films

At the beginning of 2011, the social media site Facebook is used by more than 600 million people across the world.

Not only is it one of the most frequently used UGC sites and can be a veritable fountain of information for journalists, for example being invited to events or groups of interest, but it also proves to be a good subject for media in its own right.

Tonight MTV will be showing the “Diary Of Facebook”. Its a documentary that will expose the inner workings of lives of Facebook and the employees that work there. The documentary includes interviews with Mark Zuckerberg the head of Facebook, talking about the culture of the company and how it has progressed. It has become so popular that the behind the scenes workings of the company are of interest to the general public.

Let us not forget the phenomenal success of ‘The Social Network. The film was based on the creation of Facebook by its founder Mark Zuckerberg. ‘The Social Network’ received critical acclaim and was one of the biggest films of the year.
It is has won four Golden Globes, an Academy Award, four Critics Choice Awards as well as many others!

Watch the Trailer below!

As this form of UGC became so popular and such a massive financial and commercial success, it shows that UGC should not be limited to giving ideas and contributing information to a story.
It surely is a matter of time before we see a ‘Twitter- The Movie’.

By Vanessa Holland

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Social Media Replacing Research Surveys?

Many journalists, bloggers and businesses rely on research surveys to direct their products and output.

Research surveys have been vital in the past but the top research executive of Procter & Gamble Co., (Joan Lewis) has said that she expects research surveys to dramatically decline in importance by 2020. The reason?-  social media.

Joan Lewis, is responsible for P&G’s $350 million budget in annual market-research outlays. She has warned that the advertising industry should get away from “believing a method, particularly survey research, will be the solution to anything,” she said. “We need to be methodology agnostic.” However this doesn’t just apply to the advertising industry. It has more far reaching applications to any businesses or media.

Another important element P&G warned was that businesses are not being interactive enough. Indeed, P&G were the only UK company among the top five companies to use Twitter.

Joan told the conference: “The more people see two-way engagement and being able to interact with people all over the world, I think the less they want to be involved in structured research,” she said. “If I have something to say to that company now, there are lots of ways to say it.”

As UGC is recognised by big business we should realize it is just as important in our online community and journalism.

Using online polls, Twitter and other forms of trending provide an insight into the feelings of the online community. As the online community can include a whole strata of the public, it can offer a good cross section and therefore act as an accurate research facility. The ability to target a specific audience by targeting different social media forums is also a key advantage.

Well, what do you think? Vote below!

By Vanessa Holland

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

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

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

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