Saturday 14 March 2009

Twitter + radio = good interaction

Just a quick thought about how Twitter is having a positive impact on radio. One of our big aims is to help make radio more interactive, and to get programmes to engage in a dialogue with their audiences, and to reflect that interaction in the broadcast. Radio, after all, is an incredibly personal medium, and should be as much about the audience as the presenter.

We've had phone-ins for decades, we've had incoming faxes and letters, for 15 years or so we've had emails, and for 10 years we've had text messages (I introduced incoming SMS to Radio 1 in '98). We've also played - not particularly successfully imho - with message boards and live chat rooms. None of this is wrong or bad, but it seems to me that micro-blogging services - and let's be honest I really mean Twitter - has had a bigger impact with some shows in terms of engaging with audiences than all the rest put together.

Why? Because at it's heart, Twitter is a two-way medium, tweets and replies, which means that a presenter/DJ who sends out a tweet will nearly always get replies which are relevant and useful. And because Twitter is a personal service - you choose who you follow, and tweets are by their very nature personal ("what are you doing/thinking?") - it gives the illusion that you are receiving something more personal to you than, say, a live broadcast. And in fact you are, so it's not really an illusion.

So, when Annie Mac, Mistajam or Hugh Stevens or Chris Moyles sends out a tweet, it's likely to be something more personal than something they'd be likely to say on their radio programme. And when people reply, it's usually with a comment which is directly relevant, which means there's a higher chance of that feedback becoming part of the broadcast. Virtuous circle complete.

There's loads of radio presenters already using Twitter, and it's growing all the time. Some are starting to play with how they can use it - for example BBC 6Music's Jon Holmes is experimenting with offering "simulcast bonus song nonsense" if you follow a particular hashtag during his show. More here.

Steve Bowbrick and Jem Stone are also trying out a new form of social listening via Twitter at Good Radio Club. Having listened and watched and tweeted to a Radio4 progamme this week, I can confirm it makes the listening experience much deeper, more intense, and frankly more fun. Seeing what others are thinking about the radio programme that you are listening to enhances the experience considerably.

For a list of most radio folk on Twitter, see James Cridland's list.

No comments:

Post a Comment