Jayme Swain is on a mission to shed PBS of the remnants of its “old and stodgy” reputation.
“There’s actually a lot of innovation going on around … new ways to
really engage the [online] audience,” says Swain, who directs PBS Engage, the social media arm for the public television broadcaster.
Engage was established in late 2007 largely through a grant from the Knight Foundation and now features a multi-platform, interactive web presence, both on PBS/member station sites such as the Engage Blog and the WGBH Lab, as well as externally on Twitter (@PBSEngage), Facebook, and YouTube.
Swain says that from the get-go, Engage’s approach has been “opening
up the conversations and seeing what the community would say.”
“It’s really a like-minded, smart audience going to talk about some
really critical civic issues. I think once we opened the door to that
type of participation, people really walked through.”
Video interview with Jayme Swain
- PBS Engage director Jayme Swain explains how PBS has learned to
listen and better engage its audience through its social media
- Swain discusses how the Engage project has changed the programming mindset at PBS.
- Swain addresses the challenges of identifying and working with the right business model in social media.
- Swain notes the importance of experimentation at PBS.
Running time: 5 minutes, 24 seconds. Recorded at PBS’ Crystal City, Virginia offices on Wednesday, April 29, 2009.