BBC 6Music – A triumph for grass roots activism? Or groundbreaking cynical social media campaign?

11 Aug

As everyone will be aware, the BBC Trust has now saved 6Music from the threat of closure. This was the result of a wildfire social media campaign sparked from within the social media leaders and gatekeepers –  the very people who worked for – or with – 6Music interestingly enough.

The media campaign – consisting of targeted # Tweets, an email campaign, Facebook group and online petition – was a classic case of an integrated social media campaign. Identify the thought leaders / charismatic leaders, influence them, ensure they amplify your message – simple, cheap and effective.

The statistics are amazing, post-campaign the station jumped from a paltry 70,000 c. 700,000 listeners to over a million presently (although whether the figures will remain that high is to be seen).  The DJs, Musicians, Actors and Celebrities have scored a stunning victory over the faceless ‘suits over at the BBC, or did they? Was 6Music ever truly under threat of closure?  Was it a piece of political gerrymandering between two Governments? Or a power play between internal departments? What is unquestionable, however, is that the sword hanging above its head has been the best advertising they ever had – and we did it all for them at cost price!

If this had been a lower profile cause, not associated with the ‘cool’ that goes with music or celebrity would similar results be expected?

Do the vast numbers of interactions truly represent the depth of feeling about the closure of this niche station? Or is it more a reflection on the ease of reaction and interaction? Clicking a mouse key is much easier than writing a stiff letter.

Can grassroots social media campaigns truly effect change on a grand scale? Or are they still reliant on marketing or celebrity endorsement?

What do you think?



2 Responses to “BBC 6Music – A triumph for grass roots activism? Or groundbreaking cynical social media campaign?”

  1. Guvnor August 14, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    Social media leaders and gatekeepers? What does that even mean? People who worked with 6? Not that I am aware of. 70,000 listeners originally? Try adding another zero.

    Lazy, poor journalism.

    • piercesmartfusion August 17, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

      Thanks for spotting the typo! The post is making the point that it was lucky for 6music that its core audience consisted of many people who worked in and around the media industry (“gatekeepers / social media leaders”), and who therefore had access to a larger voice than the stations low listening figures would have warranted. It was perhaps the quality of its supporters, rather than the quantity of its supporters that saved it, to resort to a terrible expression.

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