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What happens when you post your status from the wrong account?

What a busy couple of the days. This weekend I soaked up the sunshine and got to experience some of the world’s best music performance at the BBC Radio One Hackney Weekend. As part of the Hackney Weekend experience and BBC Learning’s Get on It remit – the BBC organised a three week academy for young people across East London to learn about fashion, music, film, radio, gaming, programming, journalism, comedy and business.

I spoke on a panel at the BBC Radio 1 Hackney Academy this week about ‘Getting into Radio’. One of my killer bits of advice for getting into todays radio industry was the management of personal versus work social media accounts and also how they can become blurred. I gave the personal example of when I got a job at a radio station and within hours the COO of the company started following me on Twitter. I made sure that I kept my Tweets absolutely professional that weekend, that’s for sure!

While there is many a ‘Social Media Consultant’ out there than can tell you about tone, engagement and content as part of a social media strategy – while all that is completely valid – the killer advice is to make sure you’re not posting a personal message from your work account!

Imagine the situation – you have over a million Facebook fans on your Facebook account and you’re holding one of the biggest events in the music calendar this weekend .. the Hackney Weekend! It’s a perfect environment to create lots of exciting communication and content on your social media space – whether that be secret backstage gossip with Calvin Harris or video from Jay Z’s performance.

Then, all of a sudden, you send out this Facebook status update – which includes potentially offensive language as you will see if you click the image below:

Oh no!  You can imagine thousands of messages followed suit and, unfortunately, the problem with social media is when the damage has been done, it can be out there forever. Its clear that this what a genuine mistake from the social media team at BBC Radio 1. With such a large workforce split between four stages running a live Radio, TV and six camera online broadcast – its inevitable that mistakes can be made – albeit even with a massive production resource and budget that most radio stations would be envious of by miles.

In Radio One’s credit – a message followed immediately afterwards apologising for the mistake. Reading some of the comments on the mistake show that some listeners actually  found the gaffe amusing and actually showed the radio station very ‘in tune’ with the listeners for the honesty. The other thing to remember is that only a small majority of the audience will have seen it and the shares have really only happened within a small circle too – its unlikely to have affected the entire 11m listeners the station gets each week.

The BBC centres its editorial ways around its extensive BBC Editorial Guidelines. The Guidelines are written for journalists at the corporation that they must learn and work to. They’re published openly at bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines and are clear that when a mistake is made the very first thing to do is apologise.

We should make an on-air apology at the earliest opportunity if the strongest language is used pre-Watershed or when children are particularly likely to be listening.

There is more guidance on live event guidelines here and social media guidelines here.

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