X-Factor? I’m A Celeb? They’re all much better on Twitter

Reality TV is the pop culture people love to hate. Beyond hate.

People revel in performing intellectual snobbery upon its formulaic structure and money-grabbing associations. And yet it’s one of the main reasons behind the readerships of glossy weeklies at this time of the year. More interestingly, the entertainment level of this years’ crop of weekend shows has risen for those who watch with an accompanying laptop: Twitter has made the un-watchable essential viewing.

As a culture, arts or comment journalist, you should already be aware of this networking phenomenon.

Picture courtesy of Shane Chapman

And so much more besides. The secret behind any good comedy quiz show is the banter that surrounds a few irrelevant questions. The same principle applies to Cher Lloyd, Anne Widdecombe, and Stacey Solomon’s antics. What they have in common, beyond the fact they have subjected themselves to the scrutiny of millions of TV viewers is they have also all got hashtags on Twitter (#cher, #widdecombe, #stacey) and are now under the examination of millions of fans, viewers and – essentially – journalists.

The witty tweets about them become more important than what they do on the show.

Because on weekend evenings, these four hours of often underestimated reality TV bring together critics professional and unprofessional alike. With a transatlantic time difference I have been gaining my X Factor experience across the pond by following them since September. Now back in Britain, I spent this past Saturday night in joining the Twittersphere and voicing my opinion, minute by minute, alongside thousands of other 140-character comments.

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Seven great ways to pimp your blog from Karl Schneider

Blogging

This week I went to Pimp my Blog: an event held at City University about ways to use social media, widgets and apps to get your blog noticed (much more effective than a t-shirt, that’s for sure)…

The panel – including FT journalist Martin Stabe, TheMediaBriefing.com editor Patrick Smith and Tim Glanfield (editor of Beehive City) – all agreed that the trick was publishing good content on a regular basis whilst having the mindset that it is a public and professional site not a ‘blog’ about your cat or other such trivialities.

Karl Schneider – another panellist and the Editorial Development Director of RBI – came up with a nice little list of widgets and apps that are free to use and which make the experience of visiting your blog a bit more exciting. So, in no particular order, here are seven greatways to soup-up your blog:

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Five tips to get more traffic according to expert blogger Katie Lee

Katie Lee (@ShinyKatie) very kindly came into my technology specialism class to give a talk about blogging.

Katie Lee

She’s well qualified to do so too: founder of blogging network Shiny Shiny, currently director of Miramus Ltd, a publishing company specialising in web content, and blogger at Dork Adore and Good Hooking (about knitting, obviously).

She whizzed through the basics of how to blog but gave some very handy tips to getting your work seen by more than just your coursemates/friends/family. We will be employing all of the below because there’s a lot at Wannabe Hacks which we don’t do particularly well and which we could certainly improve on…

1. Set targets to extend your community

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It’s all about online journalism. Isn’t it?

City University have recently announced a new Masters degree: An Interactive Journalism MA which offers:

  • Data Journalism | Sourcing, reporting and presenting stories through data-driven journalism
    and visualising and presenting data (databases, mapping and other interactive graphics).
  • Online Communities | Developing and managing online communities including social media – in the changing relationship of journalists with consumers.
  • Content Management | Understanding and using the content management systems that underlie online journalism.

These are all useful skills which will be supplemented by other core modules from City’s offerings, but it left me wondering whether City are ahead of the curve or behind it?

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