The BBC’s Jem Stone adds an interesting perspective on the success (so far) of the BBC’s management / editorial blogs, in a comment on ex-BBC man Alfred Hermida‘s blog. There are very valuable lessons here for many similar ‘transparency through blogging’ initiatives, not least in government and politics:
We’ve found that [engagement with readers’ feedback] is possible (and I’m talking about the BBC mgt internet blog here but I’d say it applies to other similar propositions) but only when we’ve had two factors in place:
a) Strong ownership (buy in from senior management even when criticism from users is a “s**tstorm” as Ashley Highfield dubbed the initial BBC iPlayer/Mac period the other day) and
b) Investment in community facilitation, monitoring and hosting. Monitoring feedback and having the antennae to alert issues to teams (and thus the knowledge of the tools that makes this now a lot easier) is often overlooked. Doing this well can’t be done by magic.
Hope you don’t mind, Jem – I’ve fixed the spelling. 🙂
Incidentally… this isn’t the first time recently where the most valuable insight has been in the comments, and not in the originating blog post. If you’re deciding whether or not to open your pages up to readers’ comments, don’t just think of the management overhead. Think what you might be missing out on.