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May 11, 2008

Channel 4 search the social-networks, and so should you!

By Dave Lee STD

A little while ago I joined a very important cause. Yup, the ‘Put Dr Pepper in all UK McDonalds‘ campaign is one I feel very strongly about. I, along with (at last count) 976 others, are pressuring McDonald’s relentlessly to give in to our demands.

Anyway, I’m not here to promote the group — JOIN IT! — but it just goes to show how Facebook, with all its faults, can be a great source for journalists.

Take Cathy, for example. She works for Channel 4. Or rather she works for a company that has been contracted by Channel 4 to make a documentary. One of their classics, no doubt, with those really horrid Ronseal-ish titles like “The man with ten arms and a head that is swollen a bit”.

The documentary is about fast food, and people who love it. But, rather than spend ages dragging herself to every grease-factory in Britain, Cathy has gone for the jugular: our Dr Pepper group. Right now she is doing the rounds on Facebook with this message:

“Hi everyone, I’ve joined this group as perhaps some of you will be interested in a documentary we are making for Channel 4. It’s a film about people who are obsessed with fast food! I am looking for people who LOVE fast food.

We’re talking true love here – Perhaps you need your McMuffin fix to get going in the morning? Or you are planning to have your wedding reception at Pizza Hut? Or have you only eaten at KFC for the past two years?

The programme will take a light-hearted look at how fast food has won a place in the hearts of the nation, and reveal this affection through the eyes of the people who love it the most!

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If you are passionate about KFC, McDonalds, Burger King or Pizza Hut, or have any other fast food obsessions, get in touch and I can tell you a bit more about it. If you send me a message I can reply, or if you want to leave your phone number I’ll give you a call.

Thankyou!
Cathyx”

I’m sure Dickens* would spin in his grave at the method, but it’s hard to deny its usefulness.

Students are Facebook professionals. Student journalists, then, should be all over the social-networks like wasps on your Cornetto. Any other examples of the mainstream media embracing the power of new media to get to the people?

(* Did you know he was a journalist too? I didn’t until this week. Interesting stuff!)

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