Is the BBC talking too much about Twitter?

BBC Technology blog

Answer: No, well maybe… (I've been convincing my friends from Bristol for ages.)

This came up on the Backstage list via (Frank Wales) today along with another actually related topic which I pitched into the list. Seems the BBC might be annoying some people with its talk about twitter. Some have even suggest the BBC setup its own microblogging service.

Obviously I don't speak for the BBC but I thought I'd twitter it and see what comes back. Here's some of the responses.

dogsbodyorg @cubicgarden No idea if it's too much but surely it's better to talk about Twitter (an open company /w API & no ads) than Facebook / Myspace

euan @cubicgarden talking about it as individuals is one thing – appropriating it as an organisation is another

oliciv @cubicgarden I can remember thinking the same thing about Myspace when it was the hot new place to go on the internet and all over the media

lancew @cubicgarden wondering if BBC is obsessing over twitter, maybe they should setup a laconica server for BBC folks?

SoullaStylianou @cubicgarden nope I don't think BBC's mentions of twitter is OTT. Its basically of the moment is it not?

digitalmaverick @cubicgarden i think Twitter is as important as email, so I have no problem with BBC mentioning it lots at the moment

mmetcalfe @cubicgarden I thought the protesters were complaining about the Gaza situation, not a bloody microblogging platform!

So everyone keeps shouting we should setup our own.

I thereby recommend they have a look at It’s ‘micro-blogging’ software which functions in a very similar manner to twitter, but would allow the BBC to set up their own service, without having to lend commercial support to an entity. It’s also used to power – a ‘free’ rival to twitter. They’d have to think of a new name for the service though… what would you call it?

Well I'm happy to say we did. We used but haven't really made use of it yet. I was also thinking with the change in Jaiku's licensing we should set that up too. The main purpose of the setups was to interop on to and off Twitter and Jaiku at the time plus kill off the internal twitter system Yammer which I'm still not totally convinced about (although others are). At least someone should have told Peter about Yammer.

So whats going to happen? I think as the BBC gets its heads around microblogging it will quickly notice that not only is it somewhat promoting a single startup through its wording but that Microblogging is much bigger and like how we don't host our blogs on, we will want to host it ourselves. There's all type of things we could do with our microblogging system, things which are forbidden on Twitter or even not possible because of the way Twitter is setup. The obvious example is a children's microblogging service. This will resolve its self and it will be the geeks who had a hand in the new bright future of the BBC.

And at the end of the day, some fun.

imran @cubicgarden not only can't the bbc stop talking about twitter, but now the bbc is talking about the bbc talking about twitter /images/emoticons/wink.gif

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and