Your tweets are now officially being watched by the Beeb

February 11, 2010

According to this, it appears that journos at the Beeb are being told to engage with social media or suffer the consequences, by the recently-appointed director of BBC Global News Peter Horrocks:

“This isn’t just a kind of fad from someone who’s an enthusiast of technology. I’m afraid you’re not doing your job if you can’t do those things. It’s not discretionary.”

Let’s face it, if the BBC’s media representatives are being told to utilise social media and work collaboratively within these platforms to produce news items, it bodes well for us all. Not just media types. Not just creatives.Not just tech geeks.

Businesses, too, will benefit here – a greater awareness and exposure by the Beeb’s journalists will provide opportunities for companies to gain exposure where they might have otherwise been missed online. Bravo, I say.

The spin off? This pro-social media outlook may well filter down regionally and into other publising organisations, until we see the British Press fully engaged with social media platforms, using them as the information sources we already know they are.

Imagine this – the media coming to your social media platforms to get your news, features, comments and editorial input.

It could well make a few PRs break into a cold sweat. After all, if more Press go direct to source instead of via Rubella Pymley-Bowles at Ostentacious PR, the average business could well enjoy greater media spotlight without spending £3K a month to line the pockets of media relations consultants blanket emailing 1,000s of editors via MediaDisc. Just some social media strategy and engagement. Bravo again.

Looks like the social media revolution is officially here in the UK.


6 Responses to “Your tweets are now officially being watched by the Beeb”

  1. Russell said

    BBC Twitterers are more than just monitoring. They’re even interacting, particularly researchers looking for case studies to illustrate feature stories. Love it or loathe it, you can’t be a journo or even PR practitioner without actively using the amazing networking power and news-gathering opportunities of Twitter.

    • bristoleditor said

      Hi Russell

      Many thanks for your comments – much appreciated.

      I agree: the various social media platforms represent awesome opportunities, not just ‘noise’. Let’s hope resourceful folk can utilise rather than criticise.



  2. Thomas said

    Not sure why PRs would break out in a cold sweat. The function hasn’t changed, but the channel has. A lot of PRs (like myself) have cottoned on to the fact that you can talk directly with a journalist/ blogger on twitter to sell in the stories.

    It still requires someone to dig out the story, present the facts, source images and put it in a manageable form in a time effective manner for the Journalist too hit deadline without being a drain on the host company.

    True some start-ups and small SMEs can benefit to a limited extent, but they probably wouldn’t pay for a PR anyway.

    Equally, selling in stories isn’t just a case of saying “here’s a story, print it!” particularly with bloggers.They are a very different animal to the journalist.

    Finally, it’s a word of mouth method of communication. You might feel puffed up that you’re being followed by 2,000 people, but how many are SPAMbots, porn peddlers and money making scams? How many of them will actually forward on your message and see value in a social media campaign. Will any journalist really be bothered by your #twitpitch or see you as anything but an annoying spammer?

    Social media is a channel and a medium that can have a great impact – but impact is not guaranteed and its not a silver bullet to replace advertising/marketing/deadwood PR.

    • bristoleditor said

      Hi Thomas

      Thank you for the inputs – useful and informed.

      And, to some extent, I agree: yes, there needs to be a professional, targeted and appropriate pitch on whatever media channel, but social media platforms still represent real-time, authentic and straight-from-the-horse’s mouth copy and PR opportunities. This can rarely, if ever, be reproduced by the average anodyne corporate PR inputs and traditional delivery.

      Maybe both can co-exist, but as you state impact is not guaranteed. As a journo, for me it’s about trusted sources and on that basis, connecting directly with businesses and individuals on social media is more powerful than through the sterilised mouthpiece of a PR. Just my personal and professional preference.

      Many thanks again,


      • Thomas said

        May be the way I tackle PR is different to the London identicate PR by numbers approach of write some fluff and send to everyone I can think of.

        Some PR companies are switching to social media Press releases which supply images, quotes, video and a two line story pitch and not much more.

        But I know a lot of companies who would LOVE to get some great coverage but don’t have the time to sort out the admin of getting the background work sorted.

        Equally, this week we offered an interview with a company MD only to be told “I’m not really interested because that means I’ll have to write the story.”

        As a former journalist, that shocked me a little, but highlights a reality.

      • bristoleditor said

        A shocking reality indeed Thomas.

        The old-school approach of managing it all without much client interaction seems to be getting a long-overdue revamp, thanks in part to the interactive requirements of social media engagement. Personally, I think having clients involved more deeply in social media content can only be a good thing – for them, the media, for everybody.

        Thanks for your inputs – much appreciated.

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