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Twitterati: US rave, rap, being blocked…

This month’s Twitterati is Janice Spence who you can tweet @madnewsblog

Janice twitterati

When did you sign up to Twitter?
I signed up in July 2008, but started tweeting like a maniac in early 2009.

Why did you join Twitter?
A US-based friend was raving about it and said I should sign up. I was curious, so I did.

What were your initial thoughts?
My initial thoughts were, “What is this? I don’t get it!”

How did get followers?
I just started following people, engaging in random conversation with them, and they in turn started to follow me.

When did your followers start to grow more rapidly?
In the summer of 2009, when I started to really get in to the world of Twitter.

Any well-known followers?
UK rappers Giggs and Ty, rapper/radio personality Rodney P and rapper/actor Ashley Walters.

Been blocked by anyone?
Yes actor Adam Deacon has blocked me. I don’t know what I did or said to deserve the blocking.

How do you feel followers would describe you by your tweets?
Mad, funny, blunt, honest, and the rare few might say disrespectful [laughs].

One of the most RTd tweets by you was about…
Cheryl Cole and her fake tan on The X-Factor, in honour of Black History Month.

How has it benefited your blog www.madnews.biz?
More people know about Mad News now. Twitter has definitely raised the blog’s profile.

What do you like most about Twitter?
The way it brings people together who share the same interests etc, and it’s a brilliant news source.

Twitter pet hates?
When ‘celebrities’ retweet EVERY compliment they receive from fans. It’s RIDICULOUS.

What are the reasons behind who you choose to follow?
If they share the same interests as me and are funny, off the wall and engaging, then I will follow them.

Recommend for #FF?
@marvinsparks @xianloves @ondolady @misslalareport @bloggersdlight @socialwriters @msquiche @misssn @pinboardblog @brown_eyez_uk

Blogger’s delight: Everything film and maybe a few famous names…


We hooked up with Matt Power who runs Flicks and Bits – a UK-based blog, showcasing the best in movies, laden with interviews, features, trailers, posters, stills, quotes, funny pictures and clips.

What inspired you to start Flicks and Bits?
I had worked with other people on projects for a while, so I thought it was about time I spread my wings and built something of my own, something I had full control over. Music and movies and are my two biggest passions, so I knew I wanted to do something in either of those fields, but I saw a lot of great outlets for the type of music I like in the UK already – this magazine, SoulCulture, Grimedaily, Jump Off, PinBoardBlog, The Hip Hop Chronicle… In the film industry I didn’t see many sites that me or my peers could identify with or relate to. They were either proper geeky, gossipy or uptight. I saw more of a gap in the film industry, especially for someone younger. I would go to film screenings and I’d be 20 to 30 years younger than most of the people there.

When did you start the site?
November 2009. I had been thinking about starting my own site for the longest time. I had a tonne of personal problems that year as well, so I thought fuck it, what have I got to lose? In a weird way those personal problems really helped me get the site up and running, gave me a next level of passion to prove to myself I can do something. Fear holds so many people back; thankfully, in a weird way the shit times got rid of my fears; it was my portal of discovery.

Describe your average day/week?
With a website there’s so much work that needs to be done that isn’t seen by the public. So throughout the day I’ll be backlinking the site, raising the SEO (search engine optimisation), responding to emails, arranging interviews, arranging screening times, checking out other sites… I don’t work every second of the day, but I do try and stay on top of things; even up until 2 or 3am I still might be putting things on the site because of a lot of the film news comes from Los Angeles, which is eight hours behind GMT.

Who have you interviewed so far, anyone good?
I’ve interviewed so many people, it’s mad! Since I started the site I’ve interviewed the likes of Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, Natalie Portman, Colin Firth, James Franco, Danny Boyle, Idris Elba, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, Edward Norton, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese, Tom Hardy, Edgar Martinez, Sam Rockwell, Carey Mulligan, Clive Owen, Ben Affleck, Eli Roth, Rampage Jackson, George Clooney… so many, I can’t remember half of them, it’s become a haze!

What are your top three proudest moments since the creation of your site?
One: I’m really proud of my hard work starting to pay off, just seeing the growth. I’ve learnt so much and grown so much. Seeing the hits build up and the opportunities grow.Two: being able to speak to people I admire and respect, and being able to travel to different countries for work. Last September I went to Toronto for the film festival; this year I’ll be going Venice, Berlin, Toronto again, New Orleans and, fingers crossed, New York. Broadening horizons, meeting new people, I love that stuff. Three: just being able to follow one of my passions as my job. I hear so many people complain about their work – I am the opposite, I love my job, and I don’t even see it as a job to be honest. I work like a beast, but it’s enjoyable to me. Every day it’s exciting. I love the idea that the harder and smarter I work, the more I can achieve. There are no boundaries with what I do, I can create new rules.

What advice would you give to anyone considering starting their own site?
Believe in yourself. If you would have told me that I would have interviewed the likes of Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese last year, I would have slapped you and called you mad.


Useful Websites: Make the world a better place and link up…


UnLtd is a charity that supports social entrepreneurs – people with vision, drive, commitment and passion who want to change the world for the better. We do this by providing a complete package of funding and support to help these individuals make their ideas a reality.


LinkedIn is a social network aimed at the professional community. It is a great way to interact, ask and answer questions, start discussions and network. By creating a personal account you’ll have a wealth of potential contacts and clients at your fingertips. You can manage your account online and add a widget to identify yourself as a member of the community on your web/blog page.

Words by Marvin Sparks