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Twitter. Does your boss check you out?!

1 Apr

by Georgina Leggate @GeorginaLeggate

I went for an interview yesterday, for a work-experience placement at ITV. I was up to date with current affairs, the political situation in Libya and I had been watching ITV news all week. Enough, maybe, but I definitely would have prepared even more if I’d thought about the concept of my interviewer following me on Twitter?! One thing I hadn’t given any thought to was the state of my Twitter page. My profile, what does it say about me? Well I’ll tell you. The picture I have is of me lying on a bed in Beijing, waiting for a foot message. (From my traveling days.) There is nothing rude or inappropriate about the photo, just perhaps not the most professional photo I could have chosen. Also, I have a relatively low number of tweets (for a trainee journalist I suppose)…20 tweets to be precise. I am following 170 and am followed by 57….hardly 497,085 but a good start?!

Damn you Piers Morgan!

Anyway, it’s the first time I’ve ever felt sightly self conscious about any of my tweets, even though I don’t think I have ever ‘tweeted’ anything particularly offensive and/or controversial!  Quite the opposite in fact. In my opinion I use social media for what I believe to be all the right reasons. Journalistically I follow others who are in the know, I absorb the news feeds, I keep up to date with all the latest developments in current affairs and most importantly (in my view) I am able to find information and people, that I wouldn’t be able to, anywhere else. A good example of this was a recent package I produced for local TV station a month ago. For confidentiality reasons I won’t reveal the participants name, but he essentially gave me a lot of helpful and perhaps controversial pieces of information all through Twitter. What I am trying to say here is; just because I don’t use Twitter to report about my every moment, my every outing, my every meal (who would be interested anyway?) That doesn’t mean I am any less interested in social media. Perhaps I should tweet more. Perhaps I should spark up a debate with Lord Sugar…that should up my followers if nothing else!

Throughout all of my blogs, I have discussed the importance of social media in online journalism, AND, (you’ll be pleased to hear) I remain committed. I don’t see papers as ‘old news’ (excuse the pun) and I don’t want everyone to replace newspapers with twitter but what I do think is we have developed an amazing platform on which to transport information….to the world!

A website I visit regularly is www.mediahelpingmedia.com stresses the importance of social media in online journalism. One bit of advice I picked up on recently was the following statement.

‘Try to offer original, stimulating and compelling content’

Watch out for my new and improved tweets..!

Also, I got the placement, so either I managed to impress at interview, or perhaps he hadn’t seen my Twitter page ; )

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Can we trust Twitter?

20 Mar

by Georgina Leggate @GeorginaLeggate

Can we trust Twitter? It is a question that I have asked myself since I set up my account in September of last year. When I first started using Twitter, I was like a kid at Christmas. I could follow my favourite celebrities, get the latest updates and pick up the day’s headlines in the middle of a lecture. It was, and is, very quick, surprisingly easy to use and in my opinion, just as addictive as Facebook! On my TV journalism course, using Twitter is not only a tool I use to keep up to date with my peers; it has arguably become a necessity. If you aren’t on this futuristic social network, you are prehistoric! Many broadcast journalists feel that Twitter has allowed them to get closer to sources, case studies, and people they perhaps wouldn’t usually be able to contact so easily. However, over the past six months, one issue has been niggling away at me…

Can we trust Twitter?

Worry 1. We have all been warned that you shouldn’t have too much private information on Facebook, as bosses will check out employees’ profiles routinely. Risky photographs from a drunken night out or albums from holidays where you are wearing less clothes than is appropriate…. all of the above, I have been advised, should be hidden or deleted before a job interview. (That is, of course, unless you are going for an interview at Spearmint Rhino!) So why aren’t the general public as skeptical about Twitter as they are about Facebook? Surely we need to be careful what we broadcast to the world on Twitter? How can we know who reads our ‘tweets’ and who doesn’t? And if there is unhealthy goings on, is there an obvious person or organisation to report this to, if so, I cant find him or her!

Worry 2. Another important point to address is ‘are people who they say they are?’ The North African ‘pro-democracy’ leaders claim that social networks can take a lot of credit for the uprisings and demonstrations seen in Egypt and Tunisia but, surely, given the anonymity of the internet, the activists behind the upheaval just MIGHT NOT be who they say they are! Another example of this could be Adam Boulton ‘& co’….Who is ‘& co’? Who is actually tweeting us these messages we read, form opinions on and listen to? If it isn’t Adam, we certainly should be told it’s not him and credit someone else for ‘his’ words of wisdom.

Worry 3. A recent article in The Times hypothesised that the US military is developing 500 fake social networking profiles to spread propaganda in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The $2.76 million project will be able to set up 500 identities, operated by a total of 50 users, which could be used to infiltrate blogs and sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The US military wants to tweet reassuring messages both domestically and in troubled Middle Eastern states in the hope of spreading calm amongst its national citizens and those of Iraq and Afghanistan. How, then, are we as journalists supposed to believe the information that we are being fed? And, how are the general public supposed to believe what they are being told, if, factually, such information is not sound and is entwined with conspiracy theories.

We all know that when we log on to someone’s Facebook page and read their ‘updated status’ that there is no guarantee that it is that person writing it, but there is something about Twitter which leads us to believe that there is a level of sophistication and professionalism. We all recognise that social media in online journalism is here to stay and Twitter has played a major part in the recognition of online resources, BUT it still begs the question ‘Can we trust Twitter news?’

‘Can we trust the news’ was actually a lecture given at Oxford University by Professor Stephen Coleman, Professor of Political Communication at the University of Leeds. His lecture discusses lecture whether or not we can trust the news, and indeed can we trust those who are ‘better informed’ than us at all? He also discusses why it is so important for a democratic society to have trust between the Media and Citizens. Trust in the news is crucial in a democratic society and though I realise Twitter is a platform not a paper, if we can’t trust Twitter… CAN ‘social media in online journalism’ really be substantial enough to stand the test of time…?

Hashtag TV #

20 Mar

By Ian Kearney

@iankearney

Every day I see people on my Twitter feed ‘Hashtagging’ different programmes and telling us all what do or dont agree with, do or do not like and what they downright love or hate.

This all occurs as the programme goes out and in the case of live programming we get real-time feedback that could potentially swing the course of events if programme makers had their eye on Twitter and apparently they do.

Journalist Toby Young tweeted this interesting little snippet during the week…

Toby Young Tweet

Tweet by Toby Young

Although I could not confirm this with Newsnight Editor Peter Rippon I would almost certainly believe it. Social media is the perfect tool for programme editors to assess public perception and act accordingly to make their shows as successful as possible.

Twitter is ideal for this. The ability to Hashtag things and the limitation of characters gives short sharp snippets of what the public really think. Also unlike Facebook where someone is required to start a profile or fan-page (giving a sense of editorial intervention) Twitter Hashtags can be started by anyone and do not provide any direct link to an organisation giving them a sense of independence.

Viewer ratings have always been the traditional way of measuring public perception on television. The preface is simple, the more viewers your programme has the better it is. This means better advertising revenue (in the commercial market) and most importantly bragging rights.

Programme makers wait for the viewing numbers and then from there try to figure out what it was that the audience did and didn’t like and adjust the programme accordingly so that next time the show goes out they might attract more viewers or at least keep the ones they have.

This hashtagging business, while it wont give programme makers a sense of exactly how many people are watching their show, will give them the opportunity to survey the audience for free and independently.

So why, if Peter Rippon has this tool at his dispense, wouldn’t he use it. The same goes for all programme makers.

This wont make television ratings redundant but will certainly enrich the experience for viewers.

I am sure we will hear of more  hashtags in the gallery and maybe if we pay close enough attention to Twitter we might see a Tweet or two alter the course of a programme as we watch it.

You and Social Media: How Young Journalists Use Social Media (now with videos!)

25 Feb

Josh Cheesman
@JoshCheesman

Before Christmas, I made some very quick videos of some of our classmates on the TV journalism master’s course at City Uni. I asked them to talk about how they, as young up-and-coming journalists, use social media. Here are the results:

Ask David Cameron any question via Youtube

22 Feb

@IanKearney

Theres only 2 hours left to ask David Cameron a question via youtube. I cant explain this any better than the video.

Good luck !

http://www.youtube.com/worldview

Burritos on Twitter – how social media helped create a news package

6 Feb

Caroline James @CarolineJames1

Over the past fortnight, I’ve managed to use social media in three different stages of the process of creating an item of TV news journalism.

It was through a classmate’s blog that I (as reporter) and my director discovered Richard Fitzgerald’s blog and his quest for love via the most unlikely of routes: the spicy Mexican burrito.

Richard had been using social media – his Twitter account to advertise and his blog to document – as Cupid in his pursuit of love.  The winner of a year’s supply of burrito vouchers in a social media event, the corresponding publicity surrounding his win led to him being inundated with requests from girls to help him out with all those burritos.

Exchanging tweets with the Burrito Bachelor!

Using Twitter we contacted him to ask whether he would be interested in us doing a news report on his unusual quest.

Direct messages were exchanged and the interview set up.  Meanwhile, we contacted the author of the initial source of the story, Charlie, to arrange an interview to get the inside scoop: how do the girls feel about being blogged about? Particularly as, by Richard’s own admission, all the details go up online, however negative.

We then set about scripting and shooting the package:

But it doesn’t end there.  Back in touch with our burrito bachelor via Twitter, we were able to send Richard the Vimeo link so he could see our report for himself.

Using Twitter to publicise our news package to Richard's followers, as well as our own

 

 

Posting our video to Twitter and FB, we maximised the number of people who could see the video and have even had our package embedded in Richard’s latest blog post. Significantly, the volume of traffic to Richard’s blog is enormous:

 

The blog for the burrito love quest gets a lot of action!

In such a way, we were able to exploit the huge local community Richard’s blog had already established, in order to increase our own journalistic presence.

This package was ABOUT social media and we were able to use social media to PURSUE it and then ultimately, to PUBLICISE our own journalism. Any means we can find to infiltrate an established online community and share examples of our TV journalism can only be an asset to the aspiring journo.

Since then, Richard’s burrito blog has appeared in print: both the Islington Gazette and Metro are as interested as us in the fate of his fast food quest for love!

With Valentine’s Day just a week away, perhaps we should all take note: burritos, not oysters, seem to be the latest aphrodisiac.