24 hours in media: Thu 3 May
A trial. Today - the BBC twitstorm. Can BBC people really not retweet or reply to people using Twitter? The answer's both yes and no.
The BBC twitstorm
It started with a tweet.
Hi folks, due to new BBC Twitter guidelines, responding to individuals and RTs can no longer happen.— Liam McLeod (@BBCLiamMcLeod) May 2, 2012
Interesting. This quickly caught the interest of the Twitterati...
Think it's strange, if true, that the PUBLIC broadcaster that is the BBC want to stop employees replying on Twitter. Counter-productive...?— Adam Mills (@AdamMillsUK) May 2, 2012
...and "BBC Twitter" even started trending. Which caught the eye of the BBC's social media editor for BBC News:
So "BBC Twitter" trending? We encourage tweeting, replying, retweeting. News guidance is unchanged: bbc.co.uk/blogs/theedito…— Chris Hamilton (@chrishams) May 2, 2012
... Sophie Brendel ("Head of Digital Communications" at the BBC) clarified:
Central BBC news Twitter guidance is unchanged. Retweets & replies are encouraged. Our guidelines are here: bbc.in/rhkfQr— Sophie Brendel (@sophiebr) May 2, 2012
... with BBC Radio's Jem Stone also responding:
@AdamMillsUK No new BBC guidance. Retweets/replies are actively encouraged across the many BBC radio/music accounts I look after + elsewhere— Jem Stone (@JemStone) May 2, 2012
So. What's the original tweet about? BBC London's Investigations Producer must have investigated:
Some people mistaking 'new BBC guidelines' for local advice, on what appear to be specific issues (eg. Rangers). Totally different.— Jane Bradley (@jane__bradley) May 2, 2012
Glad that's all cleared up then; although, why Liam McLeod hasn't clarified his comments, we're not entirely sure. If, indeed, it is a local BBC Scotland policy (apparently "about Rangers"), it might be a good idea to make that clear - assuming he's seen the hundreds of retweets he's gained. But then, a cursory look at his timeline appears to show that he doesn't quite understand Twitter isn't a shouty broadcast medium anyway - his tweets are all headlines from sports stories he's working on, with no attempt to engage the audience (no replies and only one retweet in the last two weeks - retweeting sporting legend, er, Donald Trump).
Let's leave the last word in this saga to BBC Radio 4 Today Programme presenter Justin Webb:
I am not aware of new BBC guidelines on Twitter but I want to make it clear I agree with them (like that Australian MP). Hope this helps.— justin webb (@JustinOnWeb) May 2, 2012
It does, greatly. Good. Let's move on, shall we?
Fancy an evening with Jay Crawford?
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James Cridland is the Managing Director of Media UK, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business.
E-mail James Cridland | Visit James Cridland's website