April 21, 2010

Facebook & Twitter for BBC journalists: not discretionary. And education?

From the Guardian:

BBC news journalists have been told to use social media as a primary source of information by Peter Horrocks, the new director of BBC Global News who took over last week. He said it was important for editorial staff to make better use of social media and become more collaborative in producing stories.

"This isn't just a kind of fad from someone who's an enthusiast of technology. I'm afraid you're not doing your job if you can't do those things. It's not discretionary", he is quoted as saying in the BBC in-house weekly Ariel.

Our country's spies and spooks are also under pressure to learn how to use, publish and research on these tools, too. Presumably that means that schools teaching youngsters English, politics, geography and history are doing them a disservice if they don't teach them how to write for the real world, social networks and all. What's your school doing to teach writing and research in the real world, as arguably the world's greatest broadcaster and news provider sees it?

Pic from Luc


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And if not teaching how to use them, we should at least be building awareness and understanding for younger users.

I do not believe any educational institution should have anything to do social networks except for the didactic environment. Social networks are used to manipulate others with opinionated information. Since ignorance causes fear our students in the United States need to understand the difference in scientific information and fear mongering. If the news agencies are going to also use social networks to release information they should be required by law to establish in writing that the information is opinionated or factual! Our federal law enforcement agencies should also monitor these avenues of spreading information and regulate it harshly against any terrorists or others who would use false information to cause harm to others!

Your Thesis is realy strange - you expect youngsters to know how to evaluate the bias of text without using the sources that include that bias. You also seem to imply that SNSes contain more bias than literature, including most of the stuff kids read at school. We all have biases. Even you. Teaching kid on whichever platform is relevant is a core skill - it's not for us to decide that on platform is more or less relevant to them. We have to observe what IS relevant here and now and adapt as necessary.

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Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

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