BBC News has today appointed its first social media editor, to develop the way we gather news from our audiences, and make more of our journalism available on social networks.
Audiences have always contributed directly to the BBC's newsgathering, especially on breaking stories. But the technology allowing people to share and send photos, video, and eyewitness accounts is developing all the time.
BBC News is always working to keep across new sources of information, assessing and verifying them as it would any other potential source of news-making content, and this new role will help to develop that.
Many internet users are also changing the way they consume news, by sharing and commenting on stories on social networks.
In common with other media organisations the BBC wants to ensure it is as simple as possible for audiences to interact with us, and deepen our relationship with them in the interests of strengthening our journalism.
Alex Gubbay, who is currently news editor for BBC Sport Interactive will take on this new role in January, co-ordinating the work of correspondents and reporters using social media tools, and ensuring best practice is developed and shared within the BBC.
He will manage the existing user generated content hub within BBC Newswire, making the most of news stories suggested by users, as well as their case studies, photographs, videos and comments, across our website, and on TV and radio. The new role is being funded by redistributing money within BBC Newsroom.
Alex will have a particular focus on developing new ways for audiences to have their say on stories being covered by BBC News, and he will be blogging here frequently in the New Year.
Sam Taylor is the editor of Newswire.