On Rory Cellan-Jones, Private Peaceful and the growing primacy of online… (HT @BBCRoryCJ)

Earlier today I blogged about Rory Cellan-Jones’ recent blog post which mused upon the media’s engagement with Twitter:

You can see why that might cause disquiet at Sky because that sharing, collaborative culture is at odds with the fiercely competitive ethos of its newsroom – and every other worth its name. Why should Sky journalists promote stories broken by rivals, and why should they use Twitter as a platform for breaking news when their employer has poured huge sums into reaching audiences via satellite?

And these are questions that we debate all the time at the BBC too. As someone who was an early Twitter adopter – and an evangelist for its usefulness as a tool for journalists – I have on occasion been involved in discussions about how our social media policy should be framed.

But tonight for me marks a milestone that I’ve expected for a long time – perhaps it had already passed and I’d not noticed, but tonight is the first time that I have heard it with my own ears:

Last week BBC Radio 4 trailed and broadcast a production of Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful – presumably in the wake of Morpurgo’s War Horse, and in anticipation of an upcoming movie production of Peaceful – and from the coverage and broadcast slot one can only assume that it was a big production of which they are immensely proud; I have not listened to it myself yet, but I may.

However: tonight they ran a trailer, and essentially said: in case you missed it, Private Peaceful is available for download from the BBC website, now with extra binaural widgetry.

And that is it: they trailed a programme that they had already broadcast – and from what I caught were not planning to immediately broadcast again anytime soon – and were essentially advertising something only available online in a prime (“PM”) slot.

It could all be a vast experiment on their part, but for me this is the crack in the dam – the move from broadcaster to content-producer, and the start of a drift away from scheduling; the internet doesn’t care that it’s 6pm on a saturday evening and it’s therefore time for Dr Who – all they want to know is how the story progresses and whether the next chapter is out.

Scheduling won’t die – but it will become as artificial as the 140-character limit in Twitter, something honoured in the breech; but maybe Pick of the Week will have to become Pick of the Month, or Best of the Feeds, or somesuch.

And as for news coverage… why should we wait for 6pm? Perhaps BBC News 24 will start aggregating and streaming stories to Twitter, instead of the onscreen ticker…

#Macroblogging & #Passionkillers – a definition & manifesto; Macroblogging is a social network activity performed by …


Macroblogging is a social network activity performed by someone who re-homes the majority of his social network updates – status updates, Likes, +1s, and other creative content – as postings on a non-mainstream blog-like platform, subsequently re-using his mainstream social networks (aka: stovepipes) to distribute links to this content.

The technical goal of macroblogging is for the macroblogger to obtain greater control over the format, structure and inclusion (eg: of video) of content that he creates, and for him to retain control over that content in the long term.

The human goal of macroblogging is to focus the macroblogger’s energy on better, more cohesive and elegant communication.


Macrobloggers are not in control of how readers will respond to their postings; albeit he may have posted to his macroblog, responses to that posting may include Tweets, Facebook comments, and other feedback provided within these individual stovepipes.

Macrobloggers should not be assholes about this; if someone tweets a response then do reply in kind; don’t get in a hissy-fit that someone hasn’t worked out that they can comment directly upon blog postings – it would be rude to criticise someone who has bothered to respond at all.


What constitutes a stovepipe?

  • Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are clearly stovepipes, and so is LinkedIn.
  • Tumblr and Posterous? Probably stovepipes.
  • WordPress.com? Perhaps, or perhaps not.
  • WordPress.org personal blogs? Probably not stovepipes.

Requirements for not being a stovepipe include:

  1. ability to completely customise look and feel for the visitor
  2. ability to post arbitrary content – text, image, audio, video, zip, even PDF – of arbitrary size
  3. ability to completely back up all content in original formats
  4. freedom to define (if desired) concepts of privileged third-party read/read-write access to content
  5. freedom from content-level editorialising by third parties
  6. freedom to delete the macroblog in its entirety

Corollary to the latter two requirements:

  • executive authority over the domain name used to access the macroblog.

Don’t get too anal about stovepipes – someone who is arguing about this is not spending enough time blogging about other stuff such as “the importance of macroblogging”.


  • Macroblog blog post titles may be as long as you like
  • Macroblog blog post bodies may be as short as you like
  • Macroblog posts may contain what you like
  • Macroblog blog post titles will provide hyperlinks back to the original macroblog post, once submitted to stovepipes


Macroblogging is partly about regaining control over your own data; but mostly it’s about the avoidance of passionkillers – that if you tweet about something then your drive to communicate may be lessened without providing the closure or completeness which would come from more complete communication.

Further: with the preponderance of stovepipes the question is which stovepipe should I choose, to alienate the least number of people with whom I communicate?

Macroblogging’s answer is choose none of them, and instead use the whole web.


I needed a word for it – I believe that this will take-off in the next year or two.