The third series of the brilliant BBC TV comedy “The Thick of It” has come to an end. It tells the story of the fictional Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship and in particular the relationship between the Number 10 “enforcer” Malcolm Tucker played by Peter Capaldi and – in the most recent series – the Minister for the department Nicola Murray MP played by Rebecca Front.
“And this has got to do with Twitter because …?” It has to do with Twitter because of the number of members of the cast and writers who use Twitter and the way they interact with fans who follow them. After each programme Rebecca Front (@rebeccafront) will be on Twitter talking to people who have just watched the programme. You’ll also find Chris Addison (@mrchrisaddison) who plays Oliver Reeder, writer Ian Martin @IanMartin and others.
Before the end of the series I sent this “Follow Friday”
• #ff Special for fans of The Thick of It @mrchrisaddison @rebeccafront @IanMartin @jessearmstrong1 @richardpbacon @willsmithuk @AIannucci
The next day I got this message from Ian Martin:
• IanMartin @davy_sims plus… @joannascanlan @pollykemp and the massive massive writing talent that is @simonblackwell x
Here is the point. A programme has just been broadcast – a fairly controversial one, too (“contains strong language”). And the writing and acting talent are in a public place to talk to each other and their friends and their fans. It’s not a construct, it’s not a publicity stunt. It’s just people talking to people.
When I talk to businesses about engaging in Social Media the first response is always “but what if somebody says something bad about us?” Then we have the conversation about talking to your customers as friends not as potential whingers and whiners. I tell them that if they are a good business then people will speak well of them and anyway, if someone has a complaint, should you not be dealing with it and even better to be seen to be dealing with it?
It’s hard to identify anyone more exposed to complaints and whinges than an actor who has just been on TV in a controversial programme. But there is the cast and creator Armando Iannucci (@AIannucci) having perfectly decent conversations.
Would Social Media be good for your business? Yes, unless you have something to hide.