Category Archives: Facebook

Are national broadcasters simply endorsing social media platforms ‘like Facebook and Twitter’ ?

“We’ve received this tweet from ….”

It’s the latest trend in news and everyone’s following suit. It seems like there isn’t a news programme that goes by these days without some kind of reference to UGC platforms Twitter and Facebook. For some this represents an essential new connection to the audience, while others feel this is a perfect example of broadcast networks endorsing social networking brands.

There were plenty of examples people who were unhappy with BBC constantly referencing the websites (I shall try not to name them again, as the fear grows that I myself am endorsing them…) on the most recent episode of BBC’s Newswatch which can be watched here.

When talking to Former ITN Chief Executive and Ofcom Partner Stewart Puvis about the future of UGC he told me he thought that broadcasters could be in danger of unfairly promoting Twitter and Facebook. You can hear is comments below:

But what can we do about this  when there only really is one place you CAN ‘Tweet’… should we be saying ‘we have received a social media commentary from one of our viewers’ ?? Or is that just taking political correctness to an unnecessary extreme?

When talking to BBC Breakfast Producer James Laidler I took the opprtunity to ask him what he thought of the idea that BBC, a public service broadcaster, might be endorsing online brands. He pointed out that the main platforms being used at the moment simply are Twitter and Facebook. He justified the BBC’s use of these services by saying that as a ‘public service broadcaster’ the Beeb has to take into account how its audience is digesting news and keep up to date with it.

Many people nowadays go straight to social networking sites to find out what’s going on. It’s therefore essential for networks to present news across these platforms in order to not fall behind. he also emphasised that the BBC Breakfast audience enjoy the interaction and direct connection that Twitter and Facebook create. He said “….”

You can see the interview with James here:

So what do you think?

By Kirsty Malcolm @kirstymalcolm

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

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.

Phew!

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

PREVIEW: Al Jazeera English’s new UGC news show: The Stream

Al Jazeera is a news channel on the up. Riding high after the success of its Middle east coverage over the last couple of months, this May it is launching an all new show with user generated content at its heart.

“The Stream”, which has been in development since last year, will be a new daily talk show on Al Jazeera English with a fully intergrated web community. In fact, ‘the web community is arguably more important in getting the right feedback, stories and editorial angle of the show’

Generated By Users spoke to Ahmed Shihab-Eldin producer and co-presenter of “The Stream”. The whole concept behind he programme is to seek out untold stories, get ground level angles on big news events and to link into often overlooked discussion points or conversations online. That means that Justin Bieber and Charlie Sheen, popular as they are online won’t be featuring, but instead “The Stream” will stay true to Al Jazeera’s mission by giving a voice to the voiceless.

To create the narrative of the show which is unscripted and without autocue, social media curation is vital and they make use of a tool called Storify to create the conversation that fuels the show. Storify allows you to take multiple feed from social networks and compile them into one narrative.

As the show is built on user generated content and is screened live trust obviously becomes an issue. Al Jazeera already have a portal roughly similar to CNN’s iReport so they are already attuned to issues of UGC and trust. Ahmed Shihab-Eldin says that the number of people engaged online mean that facts are checked by crowdsourcing, but admittedly on face value we have to be wary of UGC.

News organisations no longer have exclusivity over our news and what we see, stories are breaking on twitter and online tools mean that everyone can be a part of telling the story as is the case with live blogs. But will there be more intergration of UGC and News?

Viewers and consumers of news are more willing to except lesser quality for immediacy and traditionally unreported angles, but does it risk making traditional reporting obsolete?

Al Jazeera English has seen a massive surge in popularity in recent months (increase of web traffic by 2500%), especially in the United States, due to its non-stop comprehensive coverage of the uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa. They hope “The Stream” can help to advance the cause of social media as a legitimate form of publishing information.

We’ll have to wait and see if “The Stream” succeeds where others (CNN we’re looking at you) have failed. But if anyone can make it work it’s a news organisation on the up.

Join “The Stream” on Twitter or http://www.ajestream.com/

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 moshimonsters.com, children create UGC too!So, I arranged to talk with children’s media consultant Greg Childs, whose company childseye.tv 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 childseye.tv . 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 moshimonsters.com where children can look after virtual pets and talk about them.

Screen grab of children's website moshimonsters.com

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

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

When UGC turns Ugly- You’re fired! on Twitter

On the 8th January 2010, Simon McMenemy (Simcm7) tweeted: ‘Feels totally disrespected. No call, text, nothing. Been told my a friend who watched it on TV, this is not how to treat people.’

This was Simon McMenemy’s reaction, as he became the first international football manager to be fired on Twitter.

Simon McMenemy should have been celebrating his other first, becoming the youngest international manager in the world and becoming an overnight hero in the Philippines after inspiring the country to its greatest-ever success at a major tournament. Yet instead he picked up a more unwelcome first. He became the first international boss to discover his sacking on Twitter before having it confirmed by a friend on Facebook.

McMenemy’s rise to fame was sudden. He worked as Albion’s football and health development officer and last season he was assistant manager at Worthing, before he successfully applied for the manager of the Philippines.

McMenemy took the Philippines reached the semi-finals of the Suzuki Cup in South East Asia, the national side’s best ever performance.

“After four months I had been the most successful Philippines coach of all-time. Three wins, five draws and three losses were not too bad.”

But this was not enough and he still lost his job as new German financiers of the club demanded the right to choose their own manager.

I talked to Simon for BBC Sussex to get his reaction on the story. He told me that by using this form of media, it was so much more impersonal than ringing him or contacting him directly.

This highlights the worst aspects of UGC when a leaked story can ruined someone’s professional credibility as well as their career. The speed of which the leak from Twitter moved to Facebook was rapid enough that the chairman of the Philippines had to appear directly on national television to confirm the rumours, rather than alerting McMenemy first.

He said: “It’s a sore one to take as it got leaked on Twitter.”

On 3rd February he Tweeted: ‘football rules my life. Has cost me jobs, relationships, my health (broke my leg in a tackle 2 years ago) still in love with it’

With his previous career success, in a matter of mere months of rising from non-league football to an international manager, it seems that he shouldn’t be short of future job offers!

By Vanessa Holland

Happy 5th birthday Twitter

For those of you who are just getting to grips with Twitter or those of you who have long been an avid tweeter, it might be time to feel concerned about the internet phenomenon. In an article by Viv Groskop in the Evening Standard this week, an important issue was raised about whether its 5th birthday is a make or break moment for the Twitterati…

Myspace came and went….as did Bebo….and who remembers Friendster?! Point made. So could Twitter follow in the same footsteps? When it began, it’s first users were “exhibitionists” according to Grodkop, everyone’s time-waste of choice. Author Hari Kunzru calls it his “work avoidance tool” and Jemima Khan remarked last week, “it revolutionises the way I procrastinate”. So is Twitter merely an avoidance tool?

Nowadays, it seems as though people have completely stopped using it for this method and are instead using it to communicate important information and implementing it into news just as much as television and radio. For example, Laura Kuennsberg and Georgie Thompson, both broadcasters, tweet constantly, updating me with news. There is much talk of revolution, politics, environment and anything else that is of interest.

Aside from that, people enjoy using it because you can post fun things that pop into your head and things that may sound silly when you say them out loud but are kind of acceptable on Twitter, like, “I’m just making a lovely cup of tea.” Ridiculous when said out loud. But on Twitter, they seem to work. It’s not just A-listers that use it any more – politicians and public figures tweet which adds to its authenticity but obviously you should take care because you are liable for anything you say on a Tweet.

Is Twitter destined to become part of our social existence that we cannot live without? Is it so ingrained into our lives now that it would be too hard not to tweet about your new handbag or the latest suicide bombs in the Middle East? Can we live without it? In order to maintain Twitter’s phenomenen, it may need to consider making some money. Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive, didn’t mention anything about revenue projections or growth targets at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week so experts are worried the company may flop.

David Cameron said, “too many tweets make a twat”. Do you agree? Will it suddenly disappear into the stratosphere or will we get to a point where we regard it as useful and as important as email and question how we ever lived without it? Will it peak soon to a point where everyone is using it? Some argue this is a make or break time for Twitter. Watch this (my)space….oh dear….
By Linzi Kinghorn

How the BBC uses UGC to its full advantage: Part One

Fellow journalists. To what extent is is okay to use information provided from Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites? Your editor asks you to find some information on a specific topic and you find yourself flicking through thousands of tweets by the normal people instead of a verified source. Should you use citizen created journalism that you cannot 100% verfiy?

We are in an age of ‘internet’ where lots of information is sourced from the web and normal people like to contribute to the ongoing news and travel in particular via tweets and phone calls to radio stations.


Also, in bigger situations like Tunisia and Libya, citizens are sending in videos and photographs. But how do we trust this information and can we use it?

Matthew Eltringham, the Assistant Editor of Interactivity for BBC News, has tried for years to combine the BBC’s impartiality with the flood of user-generated content and social media communication whilst newsgathering for a particular story. Because the BBC wants to use all the information it can get from Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, emails, texts etc, Matthew has been working to combine UGC with other information.

So, comes the classification of the Light Side and the Dark Side. The ‘Light Side’ of the Line of Verification is something the BBC regards as ‘true.’ The ‘Dark side’ is not considered true. In the past, the BBC just wouldn’t have broadcast it if it hadn’t been verified by two sources, but times are changing. The rest of society, the public, already know what’s going on on the dark side because we live it; we see and hear it from first hand sources on Facebook and the like and experience it daily before big news organisations have time to verify it (mumsnet is a good recent example).

Using these dark sources is invaluable because not only is it coming from an online source, but it’s the best way to find and connect with your news! It’s more than just rumours, it is an informal narrative of the story you are trying to write. But just make sure you present it in that way and be clear to express it as a non-validated source. Of course, there are fuzzy or wobbly lines of verification, because information you find will have elements of truth in it. As Matthew says,
“We need to change our reporting activity to engage with ‘stuff’ on the dark side of the line 
as part and parcel of our daily journalism. Social media unleashes the capacity of people to publish and share rumour, lies, facts and factoids. We – as a trusted broadcaster (along with other journalists of course) – become increasingly significant as a reference or clearing house, filtering fact from fiction.”

We need it in this modern age and there is nothing wrong with using it. This distinction between what is produced by journalists and the public shows that even big corporations like the BBC are striving to incorporate UGC into their reporting so there’s nothing wrong with us doing it. On work experience at the BBC over the Christmas holidays, I was using Twitter and Hootsuite in the search of new and original stories. Perhaps this will be of help to you.