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Blogs and boards: getting the balance right

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Nick Reynolds Nick Reynolds | 18:44 UK time, Friday, 31 July 2009

Last week I gave a presentation to a BBC meeting about the moderation budget.

This is the money that we spend every year on moderating the BBC's social media services: message boards, blogs and communities.

Just in case you need a reminder, this is what moderation is (and it's important, always to distinguish it from hosting).

The details of the presentation are confidential. The independent company who do moderation for the BBC wouldn't thank me if I gave you financial data which might prevent them running a successful business.

But there is one slide from the power point which I thought I could share safely.

moderation_spend_0809

As you can see from the pie chart above the vast majority of the money we spent on moderation last year was spent on message boards and other communities with a very small slice spent on blogs.

Now blogs sometimes attract a lower rate of commenting (and therefore moderation spend) than a board would. Most of our blogs are reactively moderated. This can be less expensive - as long as the community behaves itself and as a result the numbers of comments alerted is low. Some topics are more likely to be premoderated because they are controversial. If we had a blog about religion as we do a set of message boards, then that blog might turn out to be an expensive proposition.

And moderation is only one part of the picture. Blogs and boards need to be hosted which also costs money.

But even with all those caveats, the pie chart gave me pause for thought.

Blogs last year (April 08 - 09) were getting around 20% of the traffic every month of the total traffic (page impressions) to the BBC's social media services (communities, blogs, message boards). In other words in terms of traffic to moderation spend blogs are out performing boards.

I've said before that in my opinion BBC blogs present a nice combination of editorial and conversation. And to be clear, I'm not saying that all boards should be closed and be replaced by blogs (and it's not in my power to do that anyway). I'm simply thinking aloud about what the right balance could be.

So what do you think should be the balance between blogs, boards and communities?
.
How valuable to you are the different things they do?

Is the BBC missing a trick anywhere? Are there forms of social media we should be doing as well as - or even instead of - the current stuff?

Nick Reynolds is editor, Social Media, Central Editorial Team, BBC Online

Thanks to Brett for the pie chart and his help in preparing the presentatiion

N.B. Comments about the changes to the Points of View message boards will be deemed off topic for this post and removed.

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