Sunday, November 04, 2007

Consumer video journalism

Jeff Jarvis is famed for his spat with a tech company, mine comes no where near that, but provides perhaps a measure for consumer journalism and quality of life.

I woke up this morning to the most mind numbing din outside our house. There were men drilling up the road.

After 15 minutes of this, I thought I need to do something, so I pickked up my A1 and walked outside.

I couldn't pass my front gate as the workers had cordoned my house in and were digging up the surrounding pavement.

I asked who they were and what they were doing.

They replied Thames Water.

In a nutshell I explained of course I have no problem with you working, as you say there's a leak, and we all know the bad press Thames Water gets from these, but I added you could have informed us beforehand.

After all it is Sunday and some.

What you going to do about it
"We have replied the worker and pointed to a 2 foot slender traffic cone at the side of the road with a note taped to it and then started to smile'

"C'mon", I added that. You're now being smug about this. Who can I speak to about this".

Thames Water was his reply.

And after a few more exchanges: "He had work to do and so do I", I concluded, we parted.

So I rang Thames Water and within minutes a senior officer was on the phone.

All I can say is that it was a very amicable conversation in which I learned Thames Water contract this sort of work out.

All it would have taken from the contractors is a regard for customers; a letter in the door saying what they intended.

This hasn't been the first time.

What to do with Consumer VideoJournalism
Couple of months back it was as another worker claimed, British Gas.

It was 11 O'clock at night. No one explained what was going on.

All we knew was huge floodlights and the mother of all drills.

Whilst a culture of video citizen reporters may irk some; there's even the question of filming people innocently going about their work, there is a work-life balance and quality of life needed to be struck.

I filmed my whole exchange with the worker and was on the verge of posting it before the call from Thames Water.

Local TV is an issue that has cropped up more and more and issues such as this will be good fodder for hyperlocal broadcast.

Accountability is key within any dealings between officialdom and public, particularly when they're providing a service.

At the very least if you're working in any sector which involves public contact you're do well to send your employees on courses where they can learn how to be sympathetic to comsumer needs rather than laugh in their faces.

Because in this comsumer-driven culture no one, and no company wants to see negative media about them in the public domain, and that's what this new medim allows today with the long tail adding up.

Local TV is curently being discusssed by among others the BBC .

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