Credit: By Horia Varlan on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Shareable, native stories and video are undoubtedly the stars of mobile content right now. 

And as more readers find news through social platforms, media outlets find they have to equip themselves to "hunt for news audiences" on various platforms .

The rise of mobile and the importance of social media as a source of traffic "demands that we go inside those spaces that people actually inhabit," explained the BBC's social media editor Chris Hamilton in his keynote speech at PBS Journalism Innovation Summit today.

He pointed to Wired.co.uk editor Michael Rundle's article where Facebook was described as a "megalopolis" and its users the settlers.

"As editors and journalists we just don't want to live there," Rundle wrote.

Hamilton outlined some of the BBC's experiments in the quest to inhabit the world of social and mobile – here are five weapons the broadcaster has in its bag on this "hunt".

BBC Shorts

BBC Shorts are 15-second videos primarily designed for Instagram, one of the BBC's social priorities.

They are often produced in such a way that users can watch them with the sound off and still understand the story.

"BBC Shorts has been key to our attempt to colonise", he explained, adding that the 15-second videos are now "the cornerstone" of the BBC's video operation.

Go Figure

"Go Figure" is an image format delivering "key stats optimised for our social channels".

They are posted daily on social networks, and weekly round-ups of key headlines are published on the BBC's website.

This format ticks three key boxes: visual, social, and mobile.

BBC Trending

The BBC's "bureau on the internet", BBC Trending is not just about reporting what is being shared, but reporting on it – looking at the impact and background of a particular trending story. BBC Trending videos are also distributed on chat apps, and the BBC's has a presence on multiple chat apps all over the world.

The most recent partnership is with Viber in Nepal, providing a lifeline service in the aftermath of the recent earthquakes.

Hamilton said the BBC's biggest chat app present is on Line, however, where the service has just over one million subscribers.


A "social native" experiment during the UK general election last week, the twitter bot replied to anyone tweeting it the first half of their postcode with the "closest matching #ge2015 result".

It has now been shut down, but Hamilton said this is temporary and he hopes to being @BBCElectionbot back for future elections.

BBC Pop up

Set up as a "mobile newsroom", BBC Pop Up set off in the States last September to crowdsource local stories and make them interesting for the BBC's global audience.

Since then it has produced 57 independent videos, and Hamilton said the BBC is looking at the possibility of taking the format elsewhere.

Hamilton also explained that innovative projects need to be distinctive and address an audience need. "You need identity," he said, "something for people to rally around".

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