00:47 AM

BBC Offers SVW More Details On "World Wide Web" Documentary

[I'm publishing this comment as a separate post so that it's easier to read rather than in the comments section of "BBC Wants To Crowd Source A Documentary About The "Web" - But Is It A Gimmick?." ]

Hi Tom, Excellent and challenging take on our project (and the BBC's online content to boot). Hopefully I can address some of these issues.

First and foremost: the open source aspect of the documentary isn't just a useful marketing tag, it's the project's genuine ambition. We're telling the story of the web (to that later) and in so doing, if Jay Rosen's assertion that the web is people is correct, then we wanted to involve the people of the web in the telling of their story.

The production is open in as much as we are sharing our ideas, topics and themes for the four programmes on the blog before the production teams have even written first drafts of the scripts, and have been since early July.

Right now we have three of the four production teams in the office, most in very early stages of pre-filming, and it is right now that the information, examples, stories and links shared with us by web users on the blogs, via Twitter @BBCDigRev on our Delicious site that the productions can be influenced.

We're looking for stories to tell. We're looking for the web to tell us those stories. Sounds too good to be true? We've already found Wikipedians who have helped us develop a clearer picture of the Wikipedia platform and its users.

We're crowdsourcing footage of Wikimania for programme one. We're currently looking for stories of the web's effects on nation states, and their attempts to utilise or stop the web; how do non-western cultures adopt, adapt the (originally western) web - and then exert influence back?

As filming begins and teams take to the roads and skies, we'll be meeting and filming a host of web experts, commentators, luminaries and players from around the world. Those interviews will return as rushes as the production continues, and those rushes will go onto our site long before they go anywhere near the final edit and months before they hit any TV or iPlayer screen.

So, why the web and not the internet?

We know there's a difference, we know the ARPAnet/DARPAnet origins of the net; how the web sits on top of the internet, and that increasingly through API freedoms, the web is eshewed in favour of applications and other access points to the data that pumps like blood beneath the web's skin. And this will be represented in the documentaries.

But the World Wide Web is, and has been for 20 years, the common access point for the connection phenomenon which has revolutionised the world in similar scale and style as the Guttenberg Press. It's the tool that made the internet useful to millions, and that's our lynch pin (though not the exclusive focus).

I've taken up a lot of room here, so I'll direct people to the blog to find out more, get involved and interact with the production further. The BBC's approach to the web is an ever iterating work in progress. I think if you look at the last 20 years, you couldn't really point the finger to say we've rested on laurels or resisted innovation. It's still happening.

Some aspects, I'll admit, faster than others, but we're on the case. The intention is that the four documentaries which result from this process will be presented online, not just as iPlayer content, but as a greater, more interactive and immersive experience with all of the production content, video and otherwise.

I can't say much more about that at this time. But I've seen the prototypes and it's excellent. Many thanks, Dan

Dan Biddle