Other microblogs are available

The BBC seem to have gone a bit doolally over Twitter. First it was Jonathan Ross spending at least ten minutes discussing the micro-blogging site with Stephen Fry. Then Radio 1 picked that up and ran with it, with at least three of the DJs signing up for Twitter accounts, maybe more.

Whilst it’s good to see radio branching out even more into the online world, this seems like a really odd move for the BBC. Couldn’t singling out one particular site go against their non-advertising charter? I haven’t heard a single DJ suggest that other social networks are available.

As an identi.ca user, it is slightly irritating. I want to go back on Twitter and see what these people are up to. But I don’t want to use Twitter after being burned the first time. When will the BBC cover all the social networks? I hate to say: “As a licence fee payer…” because it sounds so pretentious. Especially in this case, where Twitter is free and therefore not costing them (and therefore me) any money. But it still seems to be a little bit exclusive, especially when vast majorities of the various shows are spent discussing their Tweets.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m not that offended by this latest turn of events. I’d rather the BBC were embracing social networking than not. I’m just surprised and a little curious about the editorial decisions that support this craze for all things Twitter.

15 thoughts on “Other microblogs are available

  1. I find it weird that they talk about it so much (although perhaps not the “vast majorities of the various shows”!) – as you say, almost every show on the radio mentions it these days as well as Jonathan Ross and others on TV.

    If you follow certain people on Twitter you will see that more and more people on and off screen from the Beeb are signing up – it’s also interesting to see that some of the world’s breaking news stories are discovered first on Twitter, such as the first picture of the plane in the Hudson a couple of weeks ago.

    To be honest, the whole “other brands of X are available” quotes the Beeb has to announce after any particular product is mentioned gets on my nerves – anyone with any sense or interest should know that Heinz aren’t the only maker of beans for example.

    I’ve always preferred Twitter to iconi.ca etc having never had any problems with the site, but I appreciate that if things have gone wrong for others then they will want to steer clear. I dare say if the allure of following famous people is strong enough then they may give Twitter another chance!

  2. To be honest, the whole “other brands of X are available” quotes the Beeb has to announce after any particular product is mentioned gets on my nerves…

    That is true. And it’s silly because a lot of the time they’ll say: “A certain baked bean maker that rhymes with Feinz.” As if we’re stupid.

    I guess it’s not so much a mention here or there, or if they’re doing a segment on it, but it just seems to be the talk of the town this week, for no apparent reason, as if they are intentionally promoting it.

  3. I think Twitter just reached the tipping point a few weeks ago. It’s not just the BBC. Very soon after Jonathan Ross joined, Philip Schofield did, and dedicated a couple of minutes to Twitter on This Morning! According to my mother Matthew Wright on Channel Five is always banging on about it too. Exactly the same happened to Facebook a couple of years back.

    I notice you’re not the only one to have noticed the Beeb’s sudden obsession though. There’s a big discussion about it on Digital Spy which the BBC themselves have picked up on.

    I have roughly the same view as Craig. If people are flocking to Twitter, it makes sense to say that, especially since comparatively very few people know of the word “microblog”. It does bring up an interesting point about modern forms of communication. More and more of them are brands. We don’t just pick up the telephone. We Facebook. We Twitter. We Google. It’s difficult to get round it, and organisations like the BBC will face an awkward challenge if society decides they have to use commercially neutral language for everything.

  4. the bbc has a recognised public obligation to maintain editorial independence, and in this case they simply are not following through with that.

    the only temporary excuse that could possibly justify their actions is that adding complexity at this stage would likely dilute the appear and cause confusion.

    oddly enough, laconi.ca would be a perfect solution for the bbc to install in house and mange on their own. not need to use any 3rd party, proprietary protocols. all kept under one roof but still accessible to the wider world.

    opportunity = missed. ahh well.

  5. There are two things happening here. On the one hand Chris Moyles isn’t really promoting twitter as much as he is promoting himself. If a comedian is on a show and mentions a tour he doesn’t say, “other comedians are available”. This is promoting himself in another form. So I think it’s probably okay. Chris, Stephen, Phil and Wossy have all made their own decisions and are talking about them.

    The second is that I think in the end the network effects at work mean that identi.ca might not have much hope. As more and more people get on twitter and it gets more and more popular it’s harder to justify doing the other thing. It works well for me because I can keep separate my F1 and other things. But I’m not sure if it wouldn’t be easier to just have one.

  6. These are all brilliant points. I think perhaps the reason it even got onto my radar is just because it suddenly seemed that everyone was talking about. Everywhere I went BBC-wise (and I consume far too much from Auntie) was Twitter this, Twitter that.

    It was so sudden. If it was just each individual personality, and the mentions gradually built up so it became conversational, the way we casually say “I Googled something” I think I could understand it better.

    Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but it feels too much like a campaign, and that’s why it irks me.

  7. Not ten minutes before I read your post, Zoe told me she had signed up to Twitter and was now following Stephen Fry. I went on a rant about how Sidepodcast used identi.ca (and therefore I use it as well) because Twitter was crap.

    http://www.mactalk.com.au have been extolling Twitter’s virtues for a long time and have recently been mentioning it a lot on their podcasts so it seems to be having a resurgence everywhere.

  8. I went on a rant about how Sidepodcast used identi.ca (and therefore I use it as well) because Twitter was crap.

    it’s technically better and open-source and generally ticks all the right boxes. it’s also up at the moment, while twitter is down, which makes me feel rather smug.

    however, fourstar bought a betamax. at the time that was the technically superior product, and look what happened to that 😦

  9. Our family had a Betamax as well. Some idiot stole the still working player in 1992. Somewhere, I still have the 1982 F1 Season review on Betamax tape. It’s probably up on youtube right?

  10. I know this was from a million years ago… but I noticed on Top Gear this week that Steven Fry was on. As usual the interviewer (this time Clarkson) mentioned Twitter and it was discussed at some length. Then afterwards Clarkson mentioned their mutual love of a certain phone which was then taken out and talked about but both Fry and Clarkson seemed to go to some length not to mention Apple or iPhone. Clarkson even saying, “a certain phone” at one point.

    Maybe the BBC don’t think Twitter is a product since you don’t buy it. Strange. Anyway it made me think of this post.

  11. Maybe the BBC don’t think Twitter is a product since you don’t buy it.

    That could be a big part of it. Do they have to be impartial to free products and services in the same manner as paid ones? Hmm.

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