It’s no secret that I’m a tech geek, it runs in the family, my Mum is a true tech pioneer, so when we were invited to attend the BBC Academy’s College of Journalism #SocialMediaWhatsTrending conference at BBC North , we jumped at the chance. Here’s a few field notes from the conference and sneaky pictures of us roaming around the fabulous BBC HQ!
The audience for #SocialMediaWhatsTrending in Salford was aspiring and professional content makers, journalists and digital media producers. Sessions offered best practice case studies, top tips and cautionary tales. Speakers shared their expertise in how to make the storytelling process interactive, how to leverage the social web for maximum reach, and how to innovate and offer more value with social content.
We headed to the swanky new BBC Quay House at Salford’s Media City to see what all the fuss was about. After a swift coffee in the cafe overlooking Salford Quays, we took our seats to listen to a discussion about Online privacy, freedom and security, chaired by BBC breakfast’s business presenter Stephanie McGovern, along with panellists: James Ball, the Guardian data journalist, Graham Cluley, independent computer security analyst and Martha Gill, journalist, Telegraph and New Statesman.
After listening to discussions about online privacy we jumped into a talk tackling Editorial Leadership, Social Media & Breaking news. There was a definite contrast between the two talks, as the talk about privacy dealt with the amount of personal data/ information we share and is sold on via popular social platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Google, whilst the Editorial talk promoted the increase in these so called ‘free’ sites, that we use so openly to share breaking news and daily content. It’s my understanding that we trade our data and information in exchange for the ‘free’ social websites that we utilise, meaning they do come at a price, right?
Following a short tea break we listened to a talk about Newsgathering and UGC Content chaired by: Esra Dogramaci, BBC World Service digital consultant joined by panellists: Chris Hamilton, BBC News social media editor, Philippa Law, GuardianWitness UGC community co-ordinator, Matt Cooke, Google+ & UK marketing manager. Discussions highlighted the use of Google+ to create interactive news platforms, to gather the opinion of the public on particular news stories. I questioned wether utilising technologies such as Google+ to gather the opinion of the ‘general public’ was valid, as although it’s reported that 80% of the UK have internet access, only a small percentage of individuals use Google+ meaning opinion polls and feedback gathered could be skewed.
My favourite talk of the day covered the topic of ‘Why we all Love a List – the Power of Curation and Sharing’. I love a good list! It was fascinating to hear the views of Luke Lewis, UK editor of phenomenally successful blog site BuzzFeed, Rowan Kerek Robertson, BBC editorial lead for social media, Sarah Bush from Pinterest and blogger Jayne Robinson of JaynesKitschen.co.uk. The discussion raised interesting points including why blog posts that include ‘How to….’ in the title are typically very popular, why ‘Top 10…’ posts always go down well and how Pinterest has grown to be one of the top curation websites. Pinterest is a personal favourite of mine, the concept of being able to curate your own visions, by using images to create ‘boards’ is such a useful tool. The overriding message from these top content creators was, use your blog as a tool, provide useful content and it’s always worth compiling a good list!
It was pretty exciting to roam the BBC buildings and see where the programmes we watch on the telly are being made. We listened to so many inspirational speakers throughout the day and left full of ideas, fuelled to pursue our love of all things tech! On the tram on the way home we spoke about how quickly technologies become outdated and imagined what the same conference would look like this time next year? If you’d like to hear the talks you can see videos of the sessions via the BBC Academy website.
‘Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. -Malcolm X’