Tag Archives: journalists

Happy Birthday Twitter!!!!

21 Mar

by Georgina Leggate @GeorginaLeggate

5 years of Twitter…

The revolution of internet communications was started 5 years ago. Twitter This social network now has 200 million users which include celebrities from all over the world. Tech luminaries, Britney Spears, the hugely popular Lady Gaga and even the president of the United States, Barack Obama! There are now 1 billion tweets and 460,000 people joining the network, every week! The first ever tweet was sent by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on the 21st March 2006 when the ‘twitter’ brand was said to be ‘silly’, many critics thought it wouldn’t catch on, it was written off by many as mundane musings on ordinary events. Twitter had a bit of a slow start when it began, and was averaging at just 5,000 tweets per day, compared to now where there are literally millions per day. Twitter had its lucky break and really became recognised as a worthy source of international news when the Hudson River disaster took place. A Twitter user on a ferry on the river ‘tweeted’ a photo of the plane in the water and within minutes it was all over news broadcasters all over the world, as this was their first source of information.

my most memorable memories of twitter in online journalism:

Hudson river disaster

Michael Jackson hangin his child from a balcony

Middle Eastern protests (the demonstrations which lead to the revolution)

Elizabeth Hurley’s hiccup with her Shane Warne comments ; )

An interesting point to note is that journalists are now paying attention to these messages more than ever before. Twitter has grown into something much more than just a social network, it is more of a social and international addiction.

Anyway a very Happy Birthday Twitter and here’s to many many more! Please let me know all your most memorable tweets….?

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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…?

A response to ‘Mapping a day in the life of twitter…’

16 Mar

by Georgina Leggate @GeorginaLeggate

Twitter Mapping

Please click on the above before you read my blog!

Isn’t that amazing? McDowall’s map is taking data journalism to the next level, and I for one am fascinated by it. On his science blog, he has documented the process of how, using data streaming, he was able to track tweets from all over the world. Four moths ago he hooked a computer up to the Twitter data streaming API and, over the course of a day and a bit, recorded every tweet that had geographic co-ordinates. He worte a python script to parse the 2GB of JSON files and used Matplotlib with the Basemap extension to animate 25 hours of data on a world map.

The resulting animation, plots almost  530,000 tweets-and remember these are just tweets with geo-coordinates enabled. What I personally  found so interesting when I looked at this map was the sheer amount of tweets in the UK and the United States, but let’s face it, this was pretty predictable considering how the majority of us Westerners operate nowadays. (Our daily use of handheld, mobile technology combined with our ever increasing variety of apps, downloads and need for tweets, makes the West a very technologically active place to live). It has just become routine for us to check our facebook pages and refresh our twitter feeds.

I was however shocked to see how many recorded tweets there was in Indonesia. A huge amount really… if you still have the map up on your screen, turn your attention to Indonesia. See how Jakarta glows as brightly as New York and San Francisco! BUT despite the obvious popularity of social networks, I couldn’t help but be shocked at how few ‘white dots’ appeared in Russia?! Or Canada?! How do these communities interact with one another. It baffles me. Note the black spots. With the exception of a few cities, such as Lagos and Johannesburg, Africa remains the Dark Continent.

With Twitter growing so fast internationally it is quite astonishing to think that the world of social media will have to expand even more, if it is to reach the heights of it’s fellow social networks such as Facebook. The last recorded figures showed that there are 500 million Facebook users worldwide. Twitter has over 150 million users, tweeting roughly 65 million times a day!

We are already seeing many journalists benefit from the vast coverage of stories they gain access to through using social networks, in particular Twitter. I for one would always turn to Twitter rather than TV to update myself on the news, entertainment and my friends comings, goings, but more often opinions! Over the past five weeks, social networks have demonstarted just how vital a role they play in the delivery of information right from the source itself (we have all seen the mobile phone footage, tweets and facebook statuses giving us the latest on the current crisis in Japan, New Zealand). So will the open exchange of information have a positive global impact for everyone? Or will social networks remain confined to their borders. I hope we’ll see another map like this, in 2015 with bigger, better coverage!

me and social media… a love/hate relationship

19 Dec

by Georgina Leggate

 @GeorginaLeggate

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that there are many advantages to the ever-increasing world of ‘social media’.  Nowadays, no one wants to wait until Christmas before they can see their family; they want a Skype account that will allow them to communicate with people in places far and wide. I speak from experience: my brother (who is working in Abu Dhabi) and his girlfriend (who lives in London) have had a relationship on Skype for the past 6 months! I appreciate that social media plays a crucial part in online journalism, but I do find all my different social media ‘accounts’ incredibly distracting, disorienting and unavoidably addictive. Having said this, social media in online journalism is now not an option, it is something of a phenomenon and will inevitably play a huge part in my life and future as a journalist.

The 10 o’clock news is no longer good enough for the average Joe Blogger

Just like no one wants to wait for people, no one wants to, or is prepared to, wait for their update of the daily news. Yes, we have 24-hour news that brings us live broadcasts throughout the day, but it is no longer enough! Our generation (and in particular, our generation of ‘multi-platform journalists’) wants contact with the people. We want opinions. We want first-hand experiences. We want witnesses on the ground, at the crime scene, we want people that are snowed in, snowed out. We want instant calls, instant messaging and instant updates all with our instant cup-a-soup. And, what’s more, we don’t just want it, we now demand it and social media provides us with it.

I have been on my laptop for no longer than eight minutes and I have taken in more news, more celebrity gossip, more travel updates and more information than I would have done if I had sat for half an hour reading the newspaper. I have, admittedly, become slightly addicted to this ‘social media hub’ in which I have immersed myself.

Even as I write this blog, I am reading breaking news stories that are being updated faster than I can type. The words that news readers are speaking rapidly lose their value as someone else, somewhere else is revealing new information via Facebook, Twitter, My Space, Bebo, Delicious, the list goes on.

Smart phones

Handheld devices, which are inevitably linked to Twitter et al, will enable news and current affairs to be read faster than my blog will. Handheld devices such as the ‘smart phone’ can help us access news, quicker than the human body can: the movement of information is no longer paralysed by human limitation.

It’s got to be a good thing but why do I always feel that I am spending considerable amounts of time working on and adapting to my new online life?! Or is my enthusiasm misplaced? Is it merely because I am a beginner blogger, a tweetanger and a Facebook fresher? Only time will tell.

I have recently enrolled on a Television Journalism course at City University throughout which I am expected to spend more time on the Internet, watching television, updating my blog and ‘tweeting’ than I am sitting with my head in a book. Gone are the days where it was good enough to be able to ‘use the internet’. I now have to be able to know a multitude of sites like the back of my hand and in turn be able to compare and contrast them.

There is no longer a job for the journalist who says ‘I can’t do that. How do you tweet? What’s Delicious? I’m rubbish on computers’. Fact is, the keyboard is the new pen, Word is the new paper and social media is the new news broadcaster.