|Impact of Social Media on Education programming|
SABC has dominated the South African broadcasting industry since its inception in 1976, SABC Education plays a significant role, as a business unit responsible for delivering educational TV and Radio programming and other supporting special projects. SABC Education’s content, gathered from a wide range of educational issues contributes to a South African identity which is rich, culturally and diverse with the sole purpose of 'Enriching Minds, Enriching Lives!'
The advancement of digital media technologies has been of significant use to the public broadcaster thus giving SABC Education more dominance and popularity over the social media environment such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Educational Blog and other web-based social sites.
The evolution of digital media has played a convenient role in driving media content for SABC Education using some of the most ground breaking content for TV programming, among which the most prominent are Matrics Uploaded, SHIFT and Intersexions.
Matrics Uploaded is a TV show that seeks to assist matriculates to pass their final year in high school. The show airs on SABC1 weekdays between 02:30pm – 03:30pm and Mondays to Sundays between 05:00am and 06:00am. The programme uses a multimedia format which is new and exciting, reflecting on how learning should not be dull but fun. Learning material has been made available for downloading on the programme site and exciting video clips of the programme are uploaded on YouTube. You can also send your comments and feedback to email@example.com.
A facebook fan page is also available for group discussions among matriculates to serve as a study group. A tutor has been made available on the programmes’ facebook fan page between 06pm – 07pm to cater for high demand of content mostly on mathematics and physical science. The utility of social media has been stretched across SABC Education’s TV programmes for interactivity and facebook has been the most referenced social media platform on Matrics Uploaded and SHIFT (shiftonSABC1).
SHIFT is a live show on SABC1 aired Mondays and Tuesdays from 13h30 – 14h3000. It is informative, inspiring, entertaining, interactive, reliable platform of information and has been on air since 2005. Because of high demand on content, this TV programme has stretched beyond its broadcasting hour(s) putting the public before it and allowing the channel of interactivity to continue on a social media platform. This also assists in determining whether content has been treated correctly or not. Social Media plays a vital role with regards to monitoring the public’s response on the programme’s content and determining what other issues they would like to see being addressed. E-mail can be send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The same can be said about the award winning Intersexions, a drama series with 25 independent but interrelated episodes reflecting on the spiral flow of the HIV/AIDS virus.
“The programme had a huge impact on the public hence influencing change in attitude and behaviour for the better and stretching beyond television broadcasting; utilizing social media to interact with the public on issues around sexual behaviour, the spread of HIV and getting tested for infections” writes the commissioning editor of Intersexions, Johan Neethling. Intersexions social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are use more often to promote the show. To join Intersexions, click here.
SABC Education has used social media to monitor its programmes’ performance and further understand the viewers’ needs. Having taken advantage of social media, SABC Education is better positioned in understanding the needs of its viewers and listeners alike and hence knowing what to deliver to the public within the realms of SABC social media mandate which is to enable communication between programmes and viewers and to increase interactivity with programme media content, while building the educational online brand reputation within the interactive sites.
The use of social media by Matrics Uploaded, SHIFT and Intersexions is not only efficient for interactivity but also a positive platform for brand extension, not only for the programmes but for SABC Education and SABC as a whole which is a clear reflection of how Education as a business unit has enhanced its social media networks to further strengthen its social media strategic directions.
The assertion that social media is not a product but a channel to engage with end-users, is 100% correct. Digital media is a user-driven technology. It is all about the number of users accessing a digital platform on a regular basis. Therefore the primary aim of both social and digital media would be to cater for larger number of users, effectively creating a constituency of its own.
To give effect to this process, SABC Education found in its social media audit that people are actively using Facebook and Twitter to voice their views and opinions of the various shows on SABC. This means SABC (and SABC Education) has the opportunity to actively monitor the performance of their programmes and understand viewers’ needs and wants by continuously listening and researching the conversations online. By doing this, SABC Education through its digital media division will be better positioned to deliver what people are looking for most. The interactivity is also a very useful tool in driving new programme take-up amongst the on-line community, and from that position it spreads like wildfire and complicated ideas become unpacked by peers and no longer educators and broadcasters, thus an empowered citizenry has been born. For further details or sending comments and suggestions, e-mail us at email@example.com.
SABC Total Citizen Empowerment – Public value at its best
Written by Siphiwe Tshabalala - Digital Media Intern, reviewed by Eric Muragana - Project Manager Digital Media and edited by Lesley Fahey - Publicity Manager SABC Education.
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