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Paul Bradshaw, Twitter and the art of predicting the interview

Prior to his appearance to talk about Twitter on BBC West Midlands’ breakfast show this morning, Birmingham City journalism lecturer and Online Journalism Blog blogger Paul Bradshaw put out a call on the service to see if he and his followers couldn’t predict what questions he’d be asked.

[You can listen to the audio of the interview at this link until February 25 2009 - Paul's interview comes in around the 2 hours 15 mins mark]

Here’s the full audio of the interview courtesy of BBC West Midlands and the Phil Upton Breakfast Show:

150 responses later and the #bbcwm tag became the seventh most popular search term on Twitter. Here’s the predicted interview (full names of Twitterers and responses can be seen on Bradshaw’s blog):

  1. Isn’t it a waste of time?
  2. What’s Twitter all about?
  3. What famous people are on it?
  4. Have there been any catfights on it?
  5. How do you ever get any work done?
  6. What advice can you give me on using Twitter?
  7. Can’t these people make real friends?
  8. Why would you want strangers knowing what you do?

And, of the five questions presenter Phil Upton got to ask, numbers 1, 2, 3 and 5. A bonus question – also predicted by Bradshaw’s followers – included ‘what’s the best tweet/tweeter you’ve seen?’. Aptly, Bradshaw used responses that had been sent by Tweeters to illustrate his answers.

Upton, who tweets at @flupton, had been following the responses to Bradshaw’s shoutout and may have used them as free research. Even if he didn’t base his questions on the #bbcwm replies there’s a strange ‘self-fulfilling interview’ prophecy going on here, with questions answered before the interview has even taken place…

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