#Backchannel Upgrade 2.1

Posted: August 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

I know I just released backchannel 2.0 a week ago so don’t consider this a new OS, rather think of it as a service pack upgrade….#backchannel 2.1.

I’ll explain what I have in mind in a moment but first I want to update you on the progress of backchannel 2.0. As you know I put out a challenge last week to stop complaining that there’s never any “good news” on TV and find me some. But that challenge came with a few strings. Since talk is cheap (and Tweeting is even cheaper) I don’t want to just “hear” your suggestion. I want to see it. I asked you to grab your flip cam or cell phone and shoot video to show me compelling pictures. Interview that fascinating person you want Detroit to meet. I want you to edit your video and add a narration with some basic information and post it on YouTube. If the backchannel agrees that it’s an interesting story I’ll grab my gear and shoot the story for Channel 7.

I think it’s a brilliant idea that accomplishes three things. First it allows you to tell a story they way YOU want it told without that “left-wing” “right-wing” bias that I’m alternately accused of having. Secondly it allows you to discover, as I have over 30-some years, that it’s not enough to be a “good” story… it also has to be visual.  And three, it saves me a whole lot of legwork.

So far I’ve had a lot of people excited about backchannel 2.0  and suggesting stories. They apparently forgot to read the part about showing us the story. I’ve had several people who promise they’re working on a video (aren’t you glad I didn’t put you on the same deadline I have to work under?). And I had one bright-shining example of exactly what I’m talking about. PSCU_Amy submitted a story on an urban farm in Detroit. The story comes dangerously close to being ready to air just the way it is. But just to prove I’m not totally irrelevant I’m scheduling myself to cover the story by the end of this week. I’ve invited Amy along (mainly so I’ll have someone to carry my tripod).

@DaveMurr @bchesnutt @balanon @sclarkwxyz

Anyway, this brings me to our backchannel upgrade. It occurred to me that we have a sizable force of active and observant Tweeters on the backchannel. It came to me this past weekend as I hosted a few of our area’s more distinguished tweeters at my house for a few beers, barbecue and boat ride. @bchesnutt, @balanon, @davemurr and @techsocialite tweeted, twitpicd and foursquared virtually every moment of our excellent and epic evening. It got me thinking, what if all of us used the backchannel to keep each other informed of things happening around town? It would be just like having our own TV station without the suits, ties and that horrible pancake makeup!

So what I’d like to propose is that we all start thinking of ourselves as “digital correspondents” on the Backchannel. If you see a traffic jam, or construction delay….tweet it. Let us all know where to avoid. If that sudden thunderstorm knocks a tree across the road…take a TwitPic and post it on the backchannel. If there’s a building on fire… do what @ScottBettinger did Monday night. Take a little video, slap the #backchannel hashtag on it and tweet it.

And don’t stop at breaking news. If you’re at a community meeting, a rally, the school board. Keep us informed on the backchannel. You find a store giving away free ice cream…by all means Tweet us! Don’t wait for Roger Ebert to tell us whether he liked “Inception”… give us your review before the credits have even rolled. We can all use the backchannel to keep each other informed about what’s happening in our community…news, weather and sports. Just like a TV station…but with content that is relevant to all of us.

This is in addition to the project I outlined in backchannel 2.0. I don’t want you to stop thinking about the special stories and people that make our community better. I still want to see the compelling video tape and interesting personalities like the one submitted by PSCU_Amy. And we will continue to share those on the backchannel and on Channel 7… like featured “special reports”. But in the meantime, we’re all a part of the backchannel so lets use it to keep each other informed, enlightened and entertained. For our backchannel friends from out of town, you can skip the traffic reports, but keep us up to date on the big stories in your town.

I know inevitably there will be some who see this as an opportunity to spam us and try to sell us some kind of garbage. I propose we police our own neighborhood. When someone tries to scam or spam us… if we all reply with a #backchannelgong I think the abuse will stop pretty quickly…plus it might be kinda fun to gong a few of the idiots.

As always I want to know what you think about this. I think it’s exactly what Twitter is meant to be…the very definition of “social media”.

I look forward to our first #backchannel news update.



  1. Jason says:

    Love this idea. As the backchannel continues to grow in followers, I think it will become ever more important to spread the word about the “good news” that is happening in Michigan. And probably much more manageable for you from a logistic perspective. Looking forward to posting info about the good news that my clients are up to, and hopefully without any gongs 🙂 Congrats again!

  2. PSCU_Amy says:

    I LOVE it, and I SWEAR I have three more stories, but my computer doesn’t seem to accept using the software anymore. My IT guys at the credit union are on it and upgrading some software. HOPEFULLY I’ll have them by the end of the week or early next week. BUT in the meantime, it’s easy to show a quick picture of some cool stuff happening around town. Watch for a tweet in about an hour of something VERY cool…. this is @PSCU_Amy signing off lol!

  3. netmeg says:

    Do we have to wear pants?

  4. DaveMurr says:

    Excellent excellent idea. We all do this to some extent but the hashtag will centralize all these informative tweets. Thank you again for your hospitality Stephen, it was great to meet your family and eat your food!

  5. Dave Peckens says:

    Love the idea and evolution. I wonder if a new hashtag might be born: #DetroitChannel. Just an idea.

  6. Sounds great! You got it!

  7. This is a great and I love it!! We have a great community and it is great to have it come together for a great purpose. Thanks for your super idea and I love seeing this grow.

  8. Barb Hicks says:

    this is such a good idea. I saw something last week on way to work and I was trying to figure out how to let you guys know.

  9. melissa says:

    i love this! i’m going to start carrying my flip camera around with me everywhere i go. just in case i find out things that need to be heard!

  10. […] things that are happening to revitalize the city of Detroit.  Much like Stephen Clark and his #backchannel creation which encourages the viewers of WXYZ‘s newscasts to contribute to the positive […]

  11. shane says:

    Hey all, wanted to share a positive event / story for the back channel. I have been working with a local community center on a Youth Film Project, we are having our premiere of 3 short films made in the city this Saturday.

    Don Bosco Hall at 6pm
    19321 W. Chicago, Detroit, MI 48228.

    More info online…

    • sclarkwxyz says:

      ideally what I’d like to do a story on is some of the kids in the process of actually making the film. once the film is made I’m left with very little visually. are they working on some unfinished projects as wel?

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