Tag Archives: youtube

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

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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

POLL: Do YOU like or trust UGC when used in OUR news?

Ok so over the last few months we have brought you loads of interviews with the ‘big-wigs’ of UGC and News organisations. Now we want to know what YOU our loyal readers and lovers of online journalism think…

In case this is your first time here get yourself up to speed by what we mean by User Generated Content.

A great new post coming just vote in these two polls…ALSO if you have anything else to add please either let us know on our twitter @generatedby user Or comment down below!!! Thanks

and….

Reporting Revolutions: Is video UGC killing off traditional reporters and cameraman?

Since the ousting of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January and onwards our TV screens have been filled with images of the Arab uprisings, from Egypt to Jordan to Bahrain to Libya and increasingly to Yemen. But what has really struck a chord when looking at the reports is the way that UGC has been used or hasn’t been used.

This video on youtube was used in a channel 4 news broadcast ( but CNN have loaded this version onto youtube). It shows an Egyptian police van running over civilians. This is the power of UGC. In a world where everyone has a mobile phone, every dark deed can be captured whatever the restrictions on journalists, and the light can be shone on truths that would have otherwise been missed.

UGC also presents a problem for the reporters on the ground, who are trying to navigate their way through the protests and find stories which bring the issue alive. In the ‘age of information’ editors back in London, New York, Doha or wherever can see everything from all kinds of sources before the reporter can. Editors can direct reporters to include shots, or UGC or information not gathered on the ground themselves. This prescriptive top down reporting negates the role traditional of a reporter and instead makes them more of a curator or compiler of information. Jon Snow has written about this very issue this week in PORT magazine.

“Where once I was one pair of eyes witnessing a story and sending my account back to London, I am now charged with retrieving the work of many pairs of eyes and putting together an apparently holistic account of an event. We call this “sausage machine telly”. In the competitive multiplatform age in which we live, this age will not last long. Why not? Because it is neither distinctive, nor is it particularly interesting.
A big problem with sausage machine telly is that it spawns sausage machine reporters. In too many instances, reporters are no longer easily distinguished from one another. The sausage system is not
breeding or maturing new talent to take over the airwaves when we are gone.”

This ‘sausage machine telly’ is exemplified here in an ITN report from Libya. Except it isn’t…as it explains foreign journalists are banned from trouble spots (unlike Eygpt) and mobile phone networks and the Internet have been cut so the report relies solely on UGC and a voiceover to tell the story.

I’m not saying that UGC isn’t both compelling and useful but we must be careful how we use it. The role of a reporter is an important one, they are trained to find stories on the ground at short notice and to bring a human element to the news. UGC can be very useful in places such as Libya because of the restrictions placed on journalists. UGC can provide the pictures from even the most closed off parts of the world…the problem is how we verify it and interpret the images.

Here is a report from Sky’s Alex Crawford RTS Journalist of the year who got into Zawiyah in Libya and filmed this report.

It is all the more powerful for a trained reporter putting the story together and automatically trustworthy for it and exactly the sort of journalism that Jon Snow is praising in this account of his work in Haiti.

“We were so cut off from one another on the ground that we could not share pictures. Everything I transmitted we researched, retrieved, shot, edited, and beamed back to London ourselves. Only the local satellite dishes worked, dependent on their own generators and fuel – the satellite paths to the outside world were almost the only elements the earthquake had not reached. News desks knew instantly the massive pressure we were under and left us alone. After we’d sent our reports they would bask in their novelty, pain and exclusivity.”

Traditional journalists and cameramen are still very important as you can see with the difference between ITN’s and Sky’s reports. However UGC is a fantastic addition to a reporters toolbox, but one that must be used in addition to solid reporting not in place of it.

James Glynn

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

Reporting Revolutions: Are we too reliant on Twitter, Facebook and other UGC?

Photo: Maggie Osama via Flickr - Creative Commons License

Egypt has been dominating the headlines and trending on twitter for the last week. The latest in the series of so called ‘twitter revolutions’ that have brought change from Moldova to Iran to Tunisia and is now in the land of the Pharoahs.

But are we overestimating the impact of Twitter and Facebook? Also as journalists as we too reliant on tweets coming through from hard to reach places?

Firstly, Twitter and Facebook don’t bring about or even inspire revolutions, they aren’t out there on the streets egging on protestors. Social Media helps people to shout a little louder and it’s interesting to see that governments are pretty keen to shut them down or block them off (Iran tried and Eygpt plain severed the Internet). But I’m pretty sure that the tens of people that have self-immolated, and the hundreds of thousands that have protested across North Africa these last weeks didn’t do it for the tweets. But as a genuine protest against their autocratic governments based on long term greviances, excacerbated by rising food prices and unemployment.

While Twitter is very useful for real time updates from rapidly emerging situations – how much can we trust what information is put out there?

During the Iranian revolutions when foreign journalists weren’t allowed to enter the country Twitter became one of the key sources of information for foreign news services. But who are we to trust? In his latest book ‘The Net Delusion’ Evgeny Morozov says that twitter and facebook are actually not the ‘freer’ of people but can instead be used to covertly spread disinformation and tighten government control.

So if governments are sometimes using Twitter to further their own aims and severing or shutting down the internet during protests who exactly is getting this information onto the Internet? Blogs, twitter, facebook and youtube are all ablaze with new updates and startling videos.

Yet western journalists who couldn’t reach or didn’t bother to reach people on the ground in Iran, just scrolled down the English tweets searching for #mubarak #egypt or #iranelection and getting whatever info there was. It just seems like lazy journalism.

I accept that Twitter and Facebook are useful for mobilising the diaspora of a nation that is under going rapid political change as well as rasing the international profile of their movement. It just doesn’t seem like it is the best way to report on these events after all wouldn’t most people involved be tweeting in Farsi or Arabic?

**Since posting it turns out that google have introduced a voice-to-twitter service to help Egyptians to continue tweets during the protests.

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 thenextweb.com, 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