The new director of BBC Global News, Peter Horrocks, has in very strong terms been telling staff that the use of social media is mandatory going as far as to say that if they don’t like it they should find another career. Quoted in the BBC in-house journal Ariel, Horrocks said the following:
“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.”
Horrocks went on to say, “if you don’t like it, if you think that level of change or that different way of working isn’t right for me, then go and do something else, because it’s going to happen.”
The introduction of social media within organisations can of course be controversial. Many of the comments beneath the Guardian PDA blog piece where this is reported, accuse Horrocks of trying to gather news on the cheap and question whether there is now going to be a twitter police checking staff browsers .
However, other news organisations have similarly made social media a part of the news gathering process. Last month Sky News installed Twitter client Tweetdeck on all journalists’ PCs.
As a result, as brand communicators, the debate about whether this is a good or bad thing should almost be secondary. What matters most is quite simply that it is happening and we need to be aware that looking through RSS feeds of blogs and online news sources, and reading Twitter is now part of a lot of journalists’ jobs.
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- BBC news staff told to back social media (guardian.co.uk)