Mar 8, 2008

DNA2008: Robin Hamman on using blogs and social media

The presentation was titled "Using blogs and social media to find and engage with new audiences", and it was intended to show journalists how they can turn much of what they do to prepare for programs into useful content, and create a conversation around it. While waiting for the presentation to begin Robin showed us how the people working on iPM, a BBC radio program with a blog, have been bookmarking their research in delicious which is then posted on the blog. They also use twitter to request audience contribution, and they post their plans for the show on the blog as well. Recently they've done a Google Earth mashup showing the location of 22,000 of the audience, bit geeky but it looks fantastic.

The presentation began, the presentation was divided into three parts:
  • Current models of audience engagement
  • Blogs and social media - something different
  • The whole web is your canvas
Robin described three models used by news organizations to interact with their audience. The first is creating an online community, like BBC's Have Your Say and web chats. This model has a number of problems:
  • If a large number of people participate - which is what you want - then it's no longer an a conversation
  • News organizations tend to create these spaces and forget about them, instead of assigning people to look after them.
The second model is the "Send us your stuff" model, and sometimes referred to as user generated content ( BBC and CNN). There are many issues with this model, too: people send content that are irrelevant or fake, moderation is extremely difficult and costly, and you need an IT infrastructure to receive and archive the content. And, when someone sends you a photo or a video they expect you to use them, and if you don't use them they won't send you again. Robin showed Jon Steward's take on the iReport, hilarious - felt sorry for the guy from CNN in the audience.

I liked Robin's description of the three 'types of blogging': the personal type where the blogger talks about things that are 'intimate', and therefore is of interest mainly to those who know him/her(i.e. Pete and Katy's blog); the professional or informational blog written by an expert (or pseudo-expert) with little conversation going on (i.e. BBC's Evanomics). And, finally, the conversational blog which caters for a wider audience and the blogger(s) engages with the audience/readers.

A number of important web services - to generate, organize and reuse content - were covered in the presentation: how to create a blog and write a post, using social bookmarking, storing and sharing photos on Flickr, geotagging - and more.

Moving on to video, Robin thought it was a waste to post your videos directly to your website/blog: it prohibits others from sharing and embedding them. Instead, Robin recommends you post them on websites like Youtube and then embedding them in your website, and you wouldn't have to worry about copyright or ownership issues.

Robin concluded by demonstrating BBC's Leicester Radio as how Flickr - for example - can be used to solve the problems with the "send us your stuff model": they've created a flickr group - which can be joined only by invite - and selected five people from their audience to post photos of the weather to that group; and these photos are displayed on the website without having to worry about hosting, moderation or copyright issues. They're also reposting their Flickr favorites on the website - and it takes only a click to add a photo to your fave.

I liked the presentation, specially in illustrating how your contents like the program research and planning can be turned easily into content and how to engage with audience better in the social web.

1 comment:

mohamed said...

It seems that Jon Stewart video on iReport is doing the rounds on the conference circuit - Kev Anderson played the same one. It's fantastic ;-)