Fascinating gathering last week in the sombre 1932 Council Chamber at Broadcasting House. Hugh Garry – who ‘makes interesting digital things happen’ at Radio 1 – organised a session as part of his mission to popularise Twitter at Radio 1 and elsewhere. He and others in the audience (including me) provided case studies and encouragement to a bunch of (mostly) editorial people: the people charged with inventing interesting online activity to go with the programmes they work on.
It was a successful event but also frankly strange. Something about the fact that the room – built for Lord Reith in the glory days of Wireless engineering – must have seen so many technology demonstrations and so many discussions about new ways of reaching audiences in Britain and around the world. Was an early television wheeled in here to be shown to sceptical BBC Managers? Transistor radios? Computers?
And did those managers’ eyes roll back in their heads or did they instantly grasp the importance of what they were seeing? More interesting: will Hugh’s Twitter demo wind up in the chronologies, remembered as a turning point in the history of the BBC’s effort to embrace new tech or will it just be a footnote to the short history of a pointless microphenomenon called Twitter?
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