Monday, 9 May 2011

Election thoughts 3: Traditional Media should use Social Media.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions about the post title, let me make it clear that I am not suggesting that the BBC, UTV or the Newspapers learn how to use Twitter or Facebook: they already know how. What I am talking about is Traditional Media viewing those who use Social Media (and use it well) as a resource to be utilised.

For instance, this weekend the BBC had real trouble updating their website with information from the count centres. Yes, we knew who had been elected but what everyone was clamouring for were the details. We needed to know the exact count at each stage. Today, during the count for the council elections, the absence of the media was evident. It is a fair guess that such problems are usually attributed to an issue with resources. Budgets obviously have to be considered and it's clear from turnout figures that most of the public aren't all that fussed about the election. But where does that leave those of use who really are interested?

All credit to UTV for working alongside Mick Fealty of Slugger O'Toole. They took the right approach and didn't try and reinvent the wheel. Why couldn't other news outlets have done the same. Had the BBC had any foresight they could have contacted some of the leading bloggers well before the election and sought some cooperation whereby the bloggers attended each count & provided the BBC with all the data from the counts and, if needed, analysis of that info. This is a win for both. The BBC can provide excellent info and the blogger gets a profile on the BBC.

This could extend in some cases to bloggers/tweeters recording video of announcements/interviews with candidates/speeches and letting the mainstream media utilise that video. CNN have this sort of citizen reporting in the states and it works very well.

These are only 'off the cuff' ideas and I'm sure if those from Traditional Media sat down with those involved with social media based politics many more and vastly improved ideas would form, but the main thrust of my argument is that there is significant resource available to a resource starved industry, they just need to know how to ask for it.

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