What a week to miss back at base – check out the new bbc homepage beta version here.
The thing that leapt out at me was the prominence given to our blogs – and how you can customise which feeds you want to see right up on the front page. This is a bit of a landmark as I instigated the project in 2004, then a research project, to get the BBC into the blogosphere. We got our framework together in 2005, started the trial in 2006 and have just come to the end of an 18 month trial – you can see written about here and here. Martin Belam has been writing about the early days – but I really want to pay tribute to two or three key people. First I really have to thank Julie Adair , now Head of New Media in BBC Scotland soon to leave the BBC to work with Disney. It was Julie who pushed me hard to send her off to BlogerCon but also importantly to get some new development work commissioned for Scotblog and Island Blogging in Scotland. Julie is very persuasive (in this case though she was pushing at an open door) and she also went on relentlessly (as I recall) to push me to organise a pan-BBC blog event internally to push everyone forward a year before we did it. I also want to thank Richard Sambrook (the first BBC divisional boss to start blogging inside the BBC firewall) for agreeing to be the internal Champion for the project that launched the Blog Network. Kevin Anderson was lured over from the US by Nic Newman to help encourage BBC News to take the plunge, Ben Metcalfe (an actual blogger at the time…) helped advise – and even the people who argued vehemently that it was not the route for the BBC to go down helped us all move forward. Six divisions agreed to go forward for a trial and happily Jem Stone had some money to pay. We modelled ourselves on the BBC Podcast and Download Trial (now a service) and set out to try a few different things. I am sure there is more to be said about the research commissioned to look at the trial so far. What interests me is some of the softer metrics, harder to measure. How blogging has or hasn’t affected correspondent’s TV or radio styles? How examples of things tried with the audience on one blog may be transferring to other blogs or programmes. How the experience of blogging may be changing how we speak to our audiences and, indeed, each other?
Note to self: must go and thank Richard Titus for the icing on the cake!