Billur Aslan and James Dennis will present our ongoing study of global audience reactions to the 2012 London Olympics at CIBAR 2012 in Manchester on 11 November. The annual conference of the Confederation of International Broadcasters’ Audience Research Services, hosted this year by BBC Global News, is the main international forum for discussion of audience research among public service broadcasters. There will be other presentations from Deutsche Welle, Radio Free Europe, Gallup and the BBC themselves.
CIBAR have generously given the project an entire session, and we hope anyone in Manchester is able to attend. Thanks to Marie Gillespie for convening the panel.
The Olympic Games 2012, the BBC World Service & Twitter
Marie Gillespie, Rob Procter, Billur Aslan, James Dennis, Nour Schreim & Marzieh Targhi
This session will examine how international news organisations like the BBC World Service (WS) are adapting to social media and integrating it into their journalistic practices. In particular, it evaluates the Twitter strategy adopted by the WS during the London Olympic Games. It does so comparatively through a quantitative and qualitative analysis of a carefully selected sample of approximately 10,000 tweets harvested from the BBC’s Arabic, English, Persian and Russian Services. Our particular concern was to get at the nature of ‘the global conversation’ - who is reacting to who in what way, and in particular how people are reacting to the BBC coverage and its social media output.
The project set out to address the following questions: what impact did the WS Twitter strategy have during the Olympic period on reach and/or engagement? Did it generate more followers? Did it allow for greater exposure to WS content? Did increased transparency among broadcasters and audiences attract new followers and audiences? Did its twitter strategy make it easier for overseas audiences to follow and understand the Olympics? To what extent did the BBC’s language services become a hub/centre for discussions of Olympics in Arabic, English, Persian and Russian? Do WS Tweeters exert influence in the Twitter sphere? Do WS tweeters create greater engagement? The panel will examine issues of methodology (our methodology included a coding frame that allowed us to trace gender, national and religious dynamics), as well as the wider implications of social media, like Twitter, for issues of democratising media participation.