Tim Lloyd last month asked the question What Does a Digital Press Office Look Like ? What caught my attention was that the press office Lloyd pictures has a TV screen for displaying a social media dashboard. Which is exactly what we have in the office.
With the explosion of social media I have worked with a number of teams who are either located in the Marketing department (such as at Figleaves.com), or online teams who are either editorial (Sun Newspaper) or merchandising (Agent Provocateur) depending on the products they support. I am currently experiencing what it is like to work within a Communications and PR department. It is the first place I have worked, which has a wall mounted television displaying tweetdeck.
This new experience for me has reinforced Lloyd’s observation that monitoring or as Lloyd puts it “listening to the web” is very valuable. Reuters have just released a video on how they monitor breaking news stories. Again the emphasis is on gathering analysis and checking facts. To paraphrase @fionamclaren we like this because it is how we twitter junkies monitor news stories at home or in my case from my brother’s home wondering if I can get back through the rioting and looting.
Aside from breaking news stories I feel that marketing campaigns and execution of corporate or political strategy could also be monitored by watching the electronic public conversations of a nation. Currently there are still a few technical barriers. Firstly, with so much content, setting up valuable monitoring is rather hard. For example tweets containing the word olympics are sometimes actually about animals running around the kitchen floor performing wild acrobatics. Secondly in my opinion the monitoring tools are not advanced enough and finally I would love to see some quantitative mathematical analysis applied so that numbers are really meaningful. For example how many tweets does it take for Reuters to verify a story ?
Setting those limitations aside I do feel that a lot of value can be derived by monitoring social media as closely as traditional media.
Lloyd thinks his vision might be wishful thinking but I think he is spot on. His vision of the digital press office will become a reality very shortly.