Tweet was "embarrassing cock-up" admits Horrocks

The head of the BBC multimedia newsroom, Peter Horrocks, has ‘fessed up to messing up on Twitter.

Horrocks sent out a tweet on Wednesday to his BBC colleague Richard Sambrook, talking about two senior newsroom appointments.

The message had been intended as a private, direct message. But instead it went out as a reply and was visible to all, causing in Horrock’s words “a bit of a flutter in the newsroom“.

To his credit, Horrocks told Journalism.co.uk:

It’s a very embarrassing cock-up and everyone in the newsroom has been having a lot of fun at my expense. It’s had the peverse effect of making people who hadn’t worried about it [Twitter] think ‘oh god, if I’m going to get gossip from Peter then maybe it’s worth signing up.

He confirmed the two appointments in an official e-mail on Thursday morning:

I’m pleased to tell you that Nathalie Malinarich is to be the executive editor of World Online and Andrew Roy the head of news for BBC World News. Nathalie has a strong record in World Service news and online, as Americas editor and front page editor. Andrew has widespread experience in newsgathering as former Bureau chief in DC and Brussels as well as his recent time at World News.

And he used Twitter to apologise:

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Horrocks has been gently teased about it on Twitter by his colleagues.  Rory Cellan-Jones mused whether it was a ploy to get everyone at the BBC on Twitter:

picture-4While Bill Thompson wondered if following Richard Sambrook on Twitter was the way to keep up to date with BBC gossip:

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The episode reflects the unintended consequences of new technologies. Twitter was not created to be used for private, instant messages but is used for these quick exchanges of information.

As Horrocks as discovered, it is very easy to click on the wrong button and announce your private thoughts to the world.

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