Eye Eye

Thanks to Jem for casually mentioning this morning that I’m in this fortnight’s Private Eye.

Me in Private Eye

It’s taken from last week’s edition of the BBC’s staff newspaper, Ariel, which ran a nice welcome-to-the-machine piece describing my new role. Here’s how the full thing looked.

Me in Ariel

Birtspeak 2.0 it may have been, but I was only unhappy with one sentence in the whole piece. The sentence I didn’t like, at all, (and told the writer as much) was the parenthesised clause in the article which says

“(He also sits on Smurf, Vision’s social media forum, which he describes as ‘a clearing house for social media projects – it’s not meant to be the control police’.)”

The group it refers to is the Social Media Editorial Forum. Although I might have described the group to Ariel, I was quite careful not to name it, so I didn’t like the reference for four reasons:

  1. Nick Reynolds (no relation) has used the cute Smurf acronym in the past, but I don’t like the name and avoid using it. It hasn’t really stuck and it’s in my diary as SMEF. At least it’s not the Social Media Editorial Group.
  2. It’s not actually a formal group on which anyone really ‘sits’. It’s just a collection of people with similar jobs around the BBC who regularly get together to share plans and ideas…
  3. …which also means it’s not owned by Vision (which happens to be my division).
  4. Did I really say ‘control police’? Wow, I do sound like a prat sometimes.

Ah well. Being quoted in Birtspeak is apparently a rite of passage.

9 Comments

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  1. I have yet to be quoted in there (though my new boss has been mentioned there twice I think).

    I loathe the crap-speak that is throughout the organisation: it’s impenetrable to a newcomer. I never use three-letter-acronyms, and try to use simple, sensible language. I’m sadly in the minority.

    Birt-Speak can, however, come over as Private Eye appearing deliberately luddite, in the “humorous” but ultimately embarrassing “Oh, I don’t understand this new techie stuff” type way much beloved of radio presenters.

    Walking past Private Eye, as I do from time to time, a look through the window would leave you with the idea that the magazine’s edited together with typewriters and spray-glue. And, as a subscriber, it’s none the worse for that.

    Comment by James Cridland — January 8, 2009 #

  2. I absolutely love Private Eye, so I’m delighted to have made it in to the esteemed organ.

    The jargon at the BBC is very different to that at IBM, and I’m building a list of examples. I actually think I did a reasonable job in the Ariel article of avoiding some of the nonsense I’m likely to spout (or, perhaps, the writer was careful to leave out my worst excesses. I certainly remember waffling a lot during the interview).

    Comment by Roo — January 8, 2009 #

  3. Welcome to th club. The announcement of my appointment as Head Of Knowledge Management at the BBC was in Birtspeak too!

    Comment by Euan — January 8, 2009 #

  4. Calling the meeting Smurf was intended as a joke.

    Good job its a forum not a group as it would then be SMEG.

    I envy you. I’ve never been in Private Eye.

    But I didn’t think there was much Birtspeak in the article – not compared to other articles in Ariel anyway.

    Comment by Nick Reynolds — January 8, 2009 #

  5. Raising the bar again :) A brilliant place in history. Is there anywhere left to race coverage? :)

    Comment by epredator — January 8, 2009 #

  6. I’m glad (and not surprised) that the name was intended to be tongue-in-cheek Nick. :-)

    I really liked the BBC Internet Blog post last year about about Barley and Barlesque which explained a Birtspeak quote, especially for the explanation that it’s named after Nathan Barley.

    Comment by Roo — January 8, 2009 #

  7. Congratulations ;-)

    Personally I’ve not found the BBC half as bad as IBM, a place so full of acronyms they have an IM bot that tells you what they mean…

    Comment by Jonathan Tweed — January 8, 2009 #

  8. I read the article in Ariel and, bearing in mind the intended audience, I don’t agree that it was Birtspeak at all. I thought some of the speeches last year from BBC executives at Milia were in that category -using jargon for the sake of it.

    Comment by Jonathan Marks — January 8, 2009 #

  9. Hi Roo,

    I’ve yet to congratulate you on your move to the BCC, so a belated kudos. And further congrats on your good press.

    There is also someone I would like to introduce you to, I will write you.

    cheers,
    Chris

    Comment by Chris Grayson — January 8, 2009 #

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