Let’s Get Digital

PRIA's Let Get Digital Panel: Kristen Boschma, Liz Green, Jason Whittaker and moderator Jack Walden

Last night the c word’s Managing Director, Jack Walden, moderated a panel of digital communicators at an event appropriately named ‘Let’s Get Digital’. The panelists for the evening were:

  • Telstra’s Head of Online Communications and Social Media, Kristen Boschma (@Kristen_Boschma)
  • ABC TV’s Digital Communications Marketing Manager, Liz Green (@ABCTV_australia)
  • Deputy Editor of Crikey, Jason Whittaker (@thetowncrier)

With representatives from Australian organisations providing leadership and innovation in the digital arena, the panelists provided some fascinating insights and points for discussion.

Telstra’s Kristen Boschma explained the use of three Rs to guide their social media policy; representation, responsibility and respect. She also stressed the need for flexibility in social media and empowering your staff to know how to respond and engage. Telstra’s approach is about equality in service, which means they respond to everyone on Twitter; not simply those with a huge following.

Kristen likened good social media to a great dinner party with great food, great guests and great conversation. The same analogy works for bad social media; the bad dinner party where one drunk guest sits at the end of the table and just talks at the other guests.

Liz Green from ABC TV spoke about the flexibility of ABC TV’s social media policy. Their four-line policy guides staff on how to interact on Twitter and Facebook, while allowing personalities to shine through. In total, the ABC has an impressive 438 accounts across Facebook and Twitter.

Liz also highlighted the value of strategy; although social media is cheap, it is also resource intensive, which is why you need to be strategic about how to best use your resources. One example of this is the ABC blog, which has become a primary channel to distribute press releases.

Jason Whittaker, Deputy Editor of Crikey is another champion of flexibility on social media. Although rules and guidelines are important, he said you need to be able to respond quickly. Journalists nowadays need to be on social media to be privy to where stories are being broken; he stresses however you can get caught out if you rely solely on social media for your information.

He attributed Crikey’s success to not trying to be something for everyone, rather they define their reader and seek them out. He believes if traditional media is to continue to exist, they have to relinquish the appeal to a mass audience and find their niche audience.

All three panelists agreed social media was a commitment to quality exchange rather than simply broadcasting a message. Some key points to take from the evening:

  • You can’t run a Twitter account without monitoring and responding to conversations
  • People can sniff spin. And the beauty of social media is they will tell you
  • Social media is resource intensive, which makes it essential to have a plan about how best to use your resources
  • Social media has empowered the customer, and potentially hundreds of thousands of people see complaints through Retweets making it important to respond quickly
  • Successful media companies will produce content across many platforms and give audience the choice on how to consume it.

You can view the panel’s Twitterstream on #priadigital to get a great overview of the discussion.

Chin chin,

the c word

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