Between drinks at a going-away shindig for the estimable Gabe O’Connor, the topic of Facebook came up. The conversation that followed reinforced what us self-satisfied new media hipsters first became aware of when setting up WBUR’s Facebook account: A sizable chunk of our radio peers have already been there, done that. Egos are still listing.
It was fascinating to listen to last evening’s group relate their experiences on the social media website: How they do—or don’t—manage the cacophony of requests to become “friends,” the uncomfortable feelings said requests can induce, the unspoken rules governing the site’s social dynamics. Also, it was humbling to find out that one colleague has around 700 friends. With only 621, WBUR clearly has its work cut out for it.
As modest as our efforts are, it was good to get the endorsement of new media trail blazer Paul Levy, who chronicles the joys, trials, and tribulations of being a hospital administrator in “Running A Hospital,” the first (and still only?) such blog in the country:
“Our beloved and very, very good public radio station, WBUR, now has a page on Facebook and is friending people throughout the community. At this moment, they have just 139 friends, but I am predicting it will grow by a factor of ten by midnight tonight.
This is a great idea. It would be stronger still if all the reporters, hosts, and editors had Facebook pages so they could hear directly from their (usually!) admiring public.
So the $90.9 million question is: How is Facebook a service to our listeners/users? How can we make it more relevant and useful for folks? And as noted above, while some of “the reporters, hosts, and editors” are there already, I am pretty much convinced they don’t use Facebook as a tool to “hear directly from their (usually!) admiring public.” Keeping in touch with friends and peers seems the preferred utility. How do we convince them to open up the conversation to ‘bur listeners/users?
So how about it, Mr. Levy and other fellow travelers? Do you have any answers for me?