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Television, meet Twitter

October 13, 2009


Question Time, The X Factor – and now Panorama. Television is making big inroads into Twitter.

The first two programmes you’ll notice always make Twitter’s trending list when shown, but I’m going to take a quick look at Panorama and its recent Ryanair documentary, and how The Times captured the mood via its Twitter account at @TimesTravel.

The good old hash tag

Before Panorama aired, The Times asked it’s 10,000+ army of followers if they were going to watch the show, and told them they could join the debate using
#FRBBC. Simple.

From a magazine point of view, that was a pretty cool idea. I wish I’d thought of it, as Travel Trade Gazette covers Ryanair extensively, from Manchester airport proclaiming it will not ‘prostitute’ itself to the airline, to the more crazy ideas like ‘inflight smoking’ and ‘coach-style boarding’.

The Times is basically using Twitter to merge a TV show with opinion for its own website – resulting in this news – and potentially making it into the paper product? I love this idea of tapping into social media, and using that for print media, and have blogged about it before.

New uses
Twitter is redefining itself. Look past all the spam, and it’s very much ‘We the people’ nowadays. Protest coverage, gagging orders – now Ryanair. Twitter is developing a conscience and for journalists, creating debate hashtags will prove to be a powerful tool.

Channel 4 is another example: TV, to Twitter, then back to TV. Is this crowd sourcing? Is it cross platform? Who knows, but it makes for a good read, and it certainly wasn’t around a year ago. Social media is really making its mark in newsrooms, and blogs are soon to follow in Twitter’s footsteps.

Back to The Times. In terms of resources, I’m intrigued as to how they managed it. There needs to be a fair bit of interaction, to keep the debate going. But then it reaches tipping point, and with enough retweets, combined with a ‘twitpoll the followers do the work and you get some great content.

Buzz marketing
From news, then, to brands. It’s not just journalists who can use Twitter for research. Brands too should be tapping in, methodically, to the types of trends. “Buzz tracking is a powerful tool for any brand,” writes Matt Rhodes on his Fresh Networks blog. He focuses on The X Factor, and how all this live information is important. This is echoed by Andy Jarosz who has some good advice for travel companies.

So, Twitter is now in the mainstream, and it’s not fussy about what it watches, whether its singing contests or investigative documentaries…

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