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Broadcast Social Media: Settle down everyone

November 24, 2010

I had an epiphany while I was in the bath early this morning.

It was around about the same time I became aware of my partner wanting to gain entry to the bathroom to use the lavatory. It was then I realised he had overheard the imaginary conversation I was having (out loud) with a fictitious colleague (one, I might add which is based on a certain amount of reality) about social media and how to ‘do it’ in the broadcast industry. It was quite a heated conversation too. I was being bullish. My partner was equally bullish about getting into the bathroom.

Such habits – I often ‘rehearse’ conversations I’ll have with colleagues before the working day begins and even rehash them when the day is over – are difficult to knock on the head. They’re embarrassing habits too – especially when you’re caught out. But the act illustrated one key point about me and social media. I have strong opinions about the use of social media – especially in the broadcast industry. I get deeply frustrated when I observe people with a small amount of knowledge (and less or even zero practical experience) attempting to implement it. And – as demonstrated during my bath time exchange with my imaginary colleague – I often feel caught between a defensive and proactive stance.

The imaginary conversations we all indulge in from time to time are our personal opportunities to get the point across we feel we’re being denied, in a relatively safe, non-judgmental environment. The only problem is, it’s often a little embarrassing when you’re overheard doing so.

So .. the epiphany? It was simple. Write the ideas down. Share them on t’interweb. That should – or could – put a stop to those infernal questions like ‘how do I set up a Facebook page?’ or ‘how do I get loads of followers on Twitter?’ It might also help explain why it is the subtlest of actions on various social media platforms – and on the internet in general – which are the most powerful in terms of connecting with your audience.

Because writing this series of broadcast social media blog posts, I keen to stress the most important thing of all. Social media isn’t a dark art. It’s doesn’t necessarily require hundreds of thousands of pounds invested into acquiring proof of audience figures.

At the same time, however, you ain’t going to ‘get it’ just by attending a training course. You’ll  get a sense of it. You’ll be introduced to some of the key topics you might want to consider, but you’re not going to be fully primed. What you’re going to need is a bit of nudge … on a regular basis. You’ll probably need a bit of the terminology defining as well as some of the bullshit exposed too. In short, you’re going to need a go-to man.

I’m not an expert. I don’t want you to think that I’m a guru. I’m not projecting myself in that way. Instead, I’m just saying that I’m comfortable to say that I get it (because it’s not that difficult) and that not only can I help, but I’m also quite happy too as well. And in the broadcast industry, that’s quite a rare thing.

And in saying all that, I’ve illustrated one of the key points to all of this. Social media: it’s all about YOU.

Indeed, in emphasising that the key to success in reaching audiences via social media is authenticity, I’m reminded about one of the heart-sinking views I now have of it after only a few years of splashing around in the pond.

Now that social media has gone ‘mainstream’ the gospel which the early adopters had stamped on their foreheads is getting lost amid the white noise emanating from the new ‘experts’.

Authenticity is the key. It comes from the soul.

So keep reading this series. If you’d be so kind. You don’t have to do it my way. I’m not being all Reithian about it.

:: The picture of Lord Reith at the bottom of this post makes me smile. It’s hosted on the Guardian’s webservers and is used here without their permission. Mind you, as I’m a BBC staffer (at the time of writing this) I hope any ‘rights concern’ will be settled with a hefty dose of discretion. If not, you know how to get in touch.
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