World News America

Page last updated at 18:53 GMT, Tuesday, 13 July 2010 19:53 UK

Matt Frei's diary: Hello to the future

By Matt Frei
BBC News, Washington

Matt Frei standing on a sidewalk
Matt is bidding farewell to his diary, to return in a new blog, American Frei

In my ever-more-digital imagination, North Korea has announced its latest nuclear tests on twitter.

President Ahmadinejad of Iran is "poking" friends on Facebook because new UN sanctions have left him even more isolated.

In an effort to be more "in sync" with its subjects, the Royal Family is live streaming the marriage proposals of Princes Harry and William on YouTube.

You can text in your judgement of England's future Queen.

Hit 1 for Yes. Hit 2 for Find another! This service is - thankfully - only available to UK subscribers.

My son has met a lovely girl online.

But they have made a solemn vow to get to know each really well before they go all the way… to Skype.

A digital audience

I asked my employer for a raise. He stroked his chin.

"Hang on a minute. Let's just Google how many people are actually clicking onto your broadcast," he said.

So prepare yourselves, come September, for a blog called 'American Frei'

The result was astonishingly detailed.

"Quite a few of the audience seem to be called Frei," he added.

"It's a very common name," I explained.

"Let's find out how common," he shot back.

Our conversation was interrupted by his i-mistress on the iPad.

We will try to create a connection, an understanding, a rapport between the world's most powerful country and everyone else

I went back to spit-polishing my double length tweet - or twoon, as they call them these days - 280 characters - about how instant referenda are affecting the administration.

Double-click democracy is all the rage these days and it has made campaign fundraising so much cheaper.

Why am I telling you these things?

Because in this hotwired, spring-coiled world of nerve twitching communication, a weekly diary is like a Druid toiling over a slab of granite with a chisel.

As at least a few of you may remember, the weekly diary has been my online bread and butter for almost five years, which is of course a century in non-cyber time.

"Frei," I hear my inner tweet calling out to me. "Time to move on already!"

So as we re-launch our BBC News website I will throw myself into the gushing maelstrom of a daily blog, updated at meal-times.

Its mission will be not dissimilar to the mission of BBC World News America.

Connecting the dots

We will try to create a connection, an understanding, a rapport between the world's most powerful country and everyone else.

A person holding two smartphones
Interactivity will be a key part of Matt's new blog

As a friendly broadcaster with global tentacles, the BBC is perhaps in a unique position to connect those global dots.

For better or for worse my job will be to facilitate this.

It means recalibrating my mind to think, frequently, in short nugatory bursts. This should be no problem for someone suffering, as I do, from PDD, patience deficit disorder.

I'll also be pointing you toward videos, articles and analysis that we think you'll find intriguing.

And needless to say all these offerings will be part of a "conversation" between you and me.

A rollicking, rambling, raucous conversation where I will try to keep my cool as you will now doubt hurl ideas and insults at me. Although our new culture of instant communication and perpetual interactivity encourages indiscretion and hasty judgment, I will try and bite my lip rather than chew off your ear.

So prepare yourselves, come September, for a blog called "American Frei".

Why September? Because for us Brits, not even the relentless march of technology can do away with a leisurely, completely unplugged summer holiday.

Matt Frei is the presenter of BBC World News America which airs every weekday on BBC News, BBC World News and BBC America (for viewers outside the UK only).

And you can hear Matt present Americana on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service every week.


Send us your comments in reaction to Matt Frei's Washington diary here.



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