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On listening to the Moral Maze

November 4, 2009

Me and the Significant Other often take the mickey when we hear Michael Buerk deliver his opener to Radio 4’s Moral Maze. Our minds rush back to 999 on BBC One years ago. All that drama. All those emergencies. All that weight in Michael Buerk’s voice. We do rather laugh.

That’s mean I know. I shouldn’t really. It’s not fair on Michael Buerk who is a journalist and a broadcaster and someone from my youth. Someone I remember watching on television during snowy days when I was stranded at home revising for my GCSEs and wondering how many more days I’d have to myself getting my chemistry revision notes just up to scratch.

In writing that I’m reminded of one of the key tensions I feel writing a blog about the place I love, the things I watch on television and listen on the radio served up by the place I love and splashing around on the internet as I’ve become accustomed to in recent years.

I’m constantly wondering whether it’s really on to comment on BBC stuff when I watch it and I work there. Might there be someone out there who misconstrues what I say? Might there be someone within the organisation who takes umbrage at my comments and says “That man Jacob. He needs getting rid of”.

It’s the same with Twitter.

Yes, I know Twitter is a tiresome term. Everyone rolls their eyes when it’s talked about. I roll my eyes when I talk about it.

They were talking about Twitter on the Moral Maze this evening. I only knew that because someone outside the BBC (@abigailH) told me about it. She told me on Twitter.

You’d think I’d have known about it solely because I work at the BBC. The fact is I didn’t. I spent the day trying to get a problem fixed with a quiz on a website which frankly (had I documented the problem earlier when it occurred earlier in the year) I could have got done quicker.

So I sit down. I listen to the panelists discuss the rights and the wrongs of the social networking phenomenon. Inevitably I engage in a conversation online, using Twitter as I listen. As I do so, I’m struck by how invigorating the experience really is.

Significant Other is sat in the bath upstairs listening too. “Are you listening to this?” he asks,  “It’s really interesting.”

I nod and snatch a gulp of red wine. I shy away from confessing I’m feeling a little looked down upon by the panelists. I carry on tweeting, conscious as I do so the editor of the @radio4blog is tweeting about the live broadcast as I indulge in reacting to what’s going on.

When the programme is over I shuffle to the lounge with my half drunk glass of wine and sigh. Significant Other looks at me gives me a withering look. I know what he’s thinking. I know exactly what he’s thinking. He was thinking the same when Norway won the Eurovision.

“Worrying you’ve overstepped the mark? Said too much? Upset the powers that be?”

Yes. Yes he’s right.

And therein lies the danger with publishing your thoughts on the internet. There’ll almost certainly be someone who could interpret what you say and use it as a weapon.

Which is why anyone who uses Twitter (or anything else on the internet for that matter) should remember one very important thing: speak from the heart. At the moment of writing whatever you’re thinking of feeling must be justifiable by you and you alone. If you can do that, you’ll be fine.

One Comment
  1. As long as what you tweet is the truth, you can’t go too far wrong, but I always try to remember never to tweet anything that would upset my granny. Twitter is a democracy, and if you don’t like something then unfollow. There are plenty of good tweeters out there, and tonight’s moral maze missed the whole point of twitter. I also think that there is no point in covering up something that is wrong, and if your boss doesn’t like it then tough. He or she would then be able to challenge your view and between you the matter can be put right? Like the quiz?
    I think a poor programme has done a lot of good tonight, because it has got us thinking ‘why we use twitter’ and why those who don’t use it don’t get IT.

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