One of the many advantages of being in MediaCityUK is our proximity to the media and anchor tenant the BBC. This happy juxtaposition occasionally throws up a real gem of an opportunity and #SocialMediaWhatsTrending was one such, in the form of a one day conference.
It brought together a series of panels and speeches that only a broadcaster of the BBC’s weight and stature could manage. It was also the first time I’ve seen Google Glass in the flesh on the face of New York based Vice Journalist Tim Pool (should that be in the ‘glass and metal’?). There were about 500 people in attendance – perhaps a quarter were BBC employees, most others by invitation. The wealth of expertise gathered on stage was truly extraordinary; BBC Radio 1 Controller Ben Cooper, Matt Cooke from Google+, Newsnight Editor Ian Katz, Football Focus presenter Dan Walker, Anna Dobbs Channel 4 Head of Online, Tim Gatt of ITV News, Luke Lewis BuzzFeed UK Editor, James Everton of Hits Radio, Alex Miller and Tim Pool of Vice. This feels like quite a list but I’ve missed out most of the talent. The full programme is here.
The day opened a window onto the ways in which many media channels and programmes are continuing to evolve in a dramatic fashion through the use of social tools and channels. This was insight from the coal face and the pace and diversity of change is extraordinary. This wasn’t just a catalogue of social strategies from programme makers, the sessions also tackled difficult questions such as the line between content and marketing. The decline in radio listening for example is widely being tackled by radio stations producing video content. So is this still radio? It was fascinating also to hear Philippa Law of The Guardian explaining how the news organisation uses the social network accounts of content suppliers to test the veracity of their stories, photography is also reverse searched to ensure it hasn’t just been grabbed from the net.
The day straddled, music, sport, hard news and more. If anything the event had more content than can be consumed in a day and there were two streams running throughout. Happily the sessions will all be shared online. Check the BBC Academy College of Journalism website, the should be uploaded next week.