Tweeting while watching TV is one of the easiest ways to assert yourself as a leader in your field

During BBC Panorama 8.30pm-9pm on 23rd May 2012, Elderly Care and #panorama were trending highly on Twitter in the UK, which means more people were using Twitter to talk about this one TV programme than anything else. Panorama is a popular programme so when I heard that last night’s episode was on a hot topic (the failing care system in the UK) I suspected this might happen. 

Since they would have been watching it anyway, we agreed that JRHT‘s Director of Care Services John KennedyJRF‘s Deputy Director of Policy & Research Nancy Kelley and JRF/JRHT Head of Media Abigail Scott Paul would tweet a bit of commentary/analysis/professional-opinion at the same time. I was also watching and retweeting some of their tweets from the corporate JRF account.

The purpose of this is to ensure that the expertise of JRF and JRHT is represented in the conversations taking place on topics we have experience/expertise in. Tweeting during TV programmes is one of the easiest ways to assert JRF and JRHT as leaders in our fields because we know that thousands of other people will also be watching those TV programmes and following the hashtag. I see this as part of JRHT’s commitment to influencing by demonstrating best practice.

John Kennedy was tweeting on the basis that he is an expert in care policy, Nancy on the basis that she is an expert in social policy research (and TV!) and Abigail on the basis that she is an expert in media (tweeting links to JRF/JRHT work where relevant).

John, Nancy and Abigail’s tweets were retweeted by JRF and lots of JRF’s followers who have a stake in the subject matter. The effect was Nancy picked up a number of followers who are journalists who are now aware that JRF and JRHT have people on Twitter who are experts in these fields, John Kennedy picked up about 30 new followers including care practitioners and other working in the sector and Abigail’s links were retweeted, alerting more people to existing JRF/JRHT work in this area.

John, Nancy, Abigail and JRF all increased their following through doing this, which raises their profiles online and further asserts JRF staff as leaders in their field.

It was interesting that while BBC’s Panorama included the hashtag #BBCPanorama at the beginning of the programme, it was #panorama that trended. So some of John, Nancy and Abigail’s tweets used the hashtag ‘given’ by BBC and some used the same one everyone else was using. It’s obviously important to use the most popular hashtag to make sure your tweets are part of that conversation but I didn’t notice it was #panorama that was was trending until near the end of the programme. From now on I’ll keep this in mind and watch carefully for what’s actually trending.

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