It’s been an interesting exercise following the ABC Classic FM’s “The Classic 100 Symphony” on twitter this weekend.
On the one hand it’s very convenient: I have heaps to do that precludes listening to other things (background or otherwise), so I can follow the countdown silently.
On the other hand, it’s revealing just how easy it is to misjudge in this kind of exercise. Let me count the ways:
1. ABC Classic FM has invited us all to follow on twitter but is not following a single person back, despite the fact that, as far as I can see, all 210+ followers are legitimate souls – not a social network marketer or purveyor of porn to be seen. We’re real people, Aunty; many are your colleagues or important people you’d know by name. Marshall McGuire just joined in, for example. But in any case, twitter is about conversations and that means following those who follow you (providing there is a shared interest, which in this case there is).
2. There is a hashtag: #classic100. Very good. But has the ABC Classic FM twitter feed ever once tweeted what this hashtag is and invited its followers to use it? No. Not once. Ah, it’s there on the website, you say. But not all of us on twitter will necessarily visit the website, and so will belatedly, if at all, glean the hashtag from others.
3. This is just a pedantic thing, but Aunty’s scribe needs to improve in the spelling department. Even if that means just being the tiny bit more careful in copying the information from the source. Haydyn, Askenenazy, Neilsen, Rogers (for Rodgers)… no doubt there’ll be more, and people are noticing.
4. It’s been suggested to me – by way of explaining the spelling errors – that the person behind @ABCClassic100 is some kind of IT coordinator, rather than someone with any real classical music knowledge. That would also go some way to explaining the complete lack of conversation in the thread (i.e. not a single “@ reply” to any of the 50+ messages that have been fondly sent in @ABCClassic100’s direction. (And “fond”, as in foolishly optimistic or naive, is the word.)
In any case, that’s a mistake. ABC Classic FM wouldn’t be the first organisation to think that because twitter is about social networking or “the internet” they need to put an IT-ish kind of person on the task. But in fact, twitter is just the medium. The minute you invite people to follow your countdown on twitter then you’re communicating (and, you’d hope, inviting engagement). So you want people behind the tweets who know the subject and can talk about it.
The other thing this suggests is that ABC Classic FM has been misled into thinking of twitter as just another “broadcast” (one-to-many) medium, instead of the cocktail party that it really is. Note to self: don’t invite @ABCClassicFM to the next party: they’ll just stand in a corner and shout updates at us from time to time. (Although… they would be handy for passing out the sorbets at regular intervals.)
Anyhow, this thing has a whole week to go – the joy of long symphonies, with mega brownie points given for the decision to broadcast complete works.
So here’s hoping ABC Classic FM can get the twitter presence working beautifully: put knowledgeable people behind the tweets; follow the followers; respond to them; use the hashtag from time to time to keep it in circulation – it’ll be great. Worried that all this newfound conversation will clutter up the list of symphonies? Easy, make a separate filtered search [ "No." from:ABCClassic100 ].
Postscript: If you’ve arrived at this post directly, please do read the sequel, Twitter – doing much better akshully.