“One day soon, all workers will be freelance and employers will utilise your skills when they deem necessary and ignore you go when they don’t, so you need a strong online presence to brand yourself”.

I’m paraphrasing the words of Leon Benjamin, Social Collaboration Leader for Virgin Media and it’s a scary proposition for sure. Leon was speaking at Doorways to Digital, a one-day event held at BBC White City aimed at helping those of us attending to explore and navigate the often bewildering opportunities digital media has to offer. Leon’s speech which was full of amazing aphorisms – “the life of a tweet is around 11 minutes“,  “people don’t buy into what you do, but who are” – enlightened us about just how highly employers now value a strong online presence, and how damaging the wrong messages you relay over your Linkedin, Facebook etc. pages can be to your career.  At the end of his talk we were all left slightly scared about this brave new digital dawn, but also brimming with the possibilities and opportunities it offers.

The day had begun with the TV Collective’s own Simone Pennant describing how the Collective had grown out of a heated debate at Channel 4, into a Facebook group and finally into the thriving and collaborative online community it now is in a very short space of time. Simone spoke of how one of the keys to its success has been been in finding a way to get people to continually visit the collective’s website or fb page – eg. the regularly updated TV Collective jobs page  – and help create a ongoing communication between the members.

 

 Nick Hall, Director of Operations, Digital Media at Endemol followed Simone’s speech and he told us  how the staff he recruits now have to be multi-faceted – a mixture of the creative and the technical – because  multi-skilling is the way forward in the digital world. Nick also talked of the huge success Endemol had had with  interactivity connect for Channel 4’s ‘Million Pound Drop’ series.

 

Talking of Channel 4, the last session we were lucky enough to be joined by Jo Haslam Multi-Platform  Commissioning Editor, Documentaries and Specialist Factual at Channel 4. Jo made clear the  distinction between fully fledged multi-platforms programme ideas, as opposed to show’s merely having an  online presence and got us working in groups to come up with series ideas which could fit this criteria. Jo also  revealed that Channel 4’s ill-fated interactive 2010 ob doc series ‘Seven Days‘, although a commercial and  critical disappointment was deemed to have been a success by the broadcaster on a multi-platform level.

 

The Doorways to Digital event ended with a constructive debate within our focus groups about the way forward and how we could harness the incredible possibilities the digital media revolution has to offer.

Big thanks to te CDN, Chantal Badjie of BBC Diversity and our very own Simone Pennant for organising a fascinating and inspiring event. Right, first off I need to sort out my Linkedin and FB profiles…..

JOHN DEOL Producer/Director.

You can listen to the first in the series of MasterClasses (more to follow in the New Year), read powerpoint presentations and/or follow the day’s twitter feed.