Rough Cuts is totally down with the social networking kids – follow us on Friendster if you don’t believe us – so when Laura Kuenssberg announced in June that she was jumping ship from the BBC to ITV, we noticed one thing straight away: although she wasn’t making the move until September, she’d already set up a new Twitter account, @ITVLauraK.
Fair enough, she was working out her notice at the Beeb, and during that time she’d still be tweeting as @BBCLauraK. But why not just wait, and rename the account on her arrival at ITV? Obvious explanation: the BBC must have told her that they owned @BBCLauraK – and its 58,000 followers.
“Section 3 of the BBC News social media guidance notes,” we hear you murmur, “describe BBC-branded Twitter accounts as ‘official BBC News output.'” Well, quite. Anyway, back in June we phoned BBC News and asked them if the account was their property. Sounding a bit bewildered, and as if they had more important things to worry about, they said no. Kuenssberg could do what she wanted with it.
Between June and last week, when Kuenssberg left the BBC, 1,875 people had followed the new account, @ITVLauraK. But all the old fans were still following @BBCLauraK. What to do?
Laura had a cunning plan: rename the new ITV account as something else. Then change the name of @BBCLauraK to the now-free @ITVLauraK. Then tweet from the new account, formerly known as @ITVLauraK (still with us?), to direct those 1,875 new followers to @ITVLauraK, ie the old @BBCLauraK with a new name.
Bingo. New job, but invaluable old online presence (65,770 followers now) still in place. Has the BBC missed a trick?