I wrote a piece for the Press Gazette while I was in London last week. It’s about how the BBC plans to use social media – blogs, flickr, youtube, twitter etc. – in their coverage of the build up to the Turkish election at the end of July.
“This is an experiment to look at how a series of international reports can be spread through social media sites and hopefully reach new
audiences,” says Richard Sambrook, director of BBC Global News. “We
talk a lot about convergence – but we want to explore what that can really mean in international reporting.”
If anybody can remember in the very dim and distant, this is a theme I’ve been keenly interested in for a number of years. However, as Ben Hammersley – who’ll be doing the reporting for the BBC – says, "the tools are all now in place" That wasn’t quite the case a couple of years ago. Also, the ever growing popularity of social media site like facebook, twitter and the photo and video sharing sites illustrates just how easy these tools have grown to use. It’s not the preserve of techies anymore.
I think the real biggie is time. To do a good social media job – with all the interaction that demands – on top of the old media job could potentially take an awful lot of time – especially the video and the interaction. Have you ever tried uploading a video to YouTube??? One video I uploaded took more than ten hours to appear. Most of the other stuff is fairly quick to do and even automated as Robin points out.
It’ll be interesting to see what lessons old media outlets like the BBC learn from this "pilot project" and how, if it is successful, they will get other reporters to follow suit, in full or in part. FWIW – regardless of all the hype surrounding a lot of social media, I think if journalists have to choose one tool from the cannon, let it be del.icio.us – best collaborative research tool out there, IMO. Lastly, links to all my public social media accounts can be had in the top right column.