09:14 AM

BBC Wants To Crowd Source A Documentary About The "Web" - But Is It A Gimmick?

I just got an email from a representative of the BBC. The UK government funded media organization is preparing a documentary - "Digital Revolution" (a working title) looking at the impact of the "World Wide Web" (rather than the Internet), over the past 20 years.

Adam Abu-Nab writes that the BBC would love input from the Silicon Valley Watcher community:

Launched by a series of powerful blog posts, the documentary needs people to come and share their knowledge, stories and links to guide the production, in the knowledge they have an opportunity to affect and guide a major and unique BBC documentary - starting with the name!

Tim Berners-Lee, Chris Anderson, Jimmy Wales, Lee Siegel, Andrew Keen, Aleks Krotoski, Feargal Sharkey, Nicholas Carr, Rory Cellan-Jones and Susan Greenfield are just some of the people involved in making this project work (please see below links to content).

These are the 4 bold programme topics that people can contribute to at www.bbc.co.uk/digitalrevolution now:

1. power on the web

2. the fate of nations

3. the cost of free

4. the web and us

N.B. RUSHES and VIDEOS will be released by the production team on the blog as filming continues. Interviews with high profilers etc will all be available to watch as they come in and for download reuse under Permissive License (UNHEARD OF ON BBC)

Here are some of the blog posts related to this project:

Jimmy Wales admits to Wikipedia having elitist tendencies, not as being a free platform in a debate with Aleks Krotoski- http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/digitalrevolution/2009/07/what-was-my-goal-when-i-came-u.shtml

Andrew Keen delivers a damning verdict on the "Digital Revolution" labeling it "child-like nonsense from the BBC Digital Revolution team"

Rory Cellan-Jones sparks comments with "The Blog Is Dead" http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/digitalrevolution/2009/07/the-blog-is-deadoh-no-it-isnt.shtml

Feargal Sharkey on piracy and copyright http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/digitalrevolution/2009/07/copyright-and-creativitys-comm.shtml

Lee Siegel gives a diatribe against the web http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/digitalrevolution/2009/08/why-do-people-still-need-to-ce.shtml

Here is a teaser video:

And of course, you can follow this on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BBCDigRev

Foremski's Take: It'll be interesting to see what the BBC can come up with that we don't know about the "world wide web." It's strange that it would focus on WWW rather than the Internet because WWW is just a subset of the Internet.

In fact, the way things are going, WWW will become a smaller and smaller aspect of the Internet as a whole. There's loads of new applications that do not require a web site but are services that exist outside of the web. RSS is a good example of that and so are iPhone applications. So, does the BBC understand this about the Internet? Or has it deliberately chosen a populist understanding?

If it's the latter then we aren't likely to learn much from this documentary but knowing the BBC, it's bound to be entertaining.

Also, I'm not sure the BBC understands much about reader/viewer involvement. I'm a big fan of the BBC iPlayer, which enables viewers to catch up on the past seven days of BBC and radio broadcasts. But there is no place for viewer feedback! There is no place where you leave comments.

DesperateRomantics.jpgEven the micro-sites around the TV programs offer no place for feedback. This is extraordinary. For example, I'm loving the "Desperate Romantics" series about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (I'm a huge fan of the work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti). It's brilliant. But you have to go to an independent fan site to be able to leave comments. This is a huge faux pas, and shows there's still a bit more learning that the BBC needs to do. Maybe this documentary will help bring the BBC into the new world.

So maybe this call for "open source" contributions is merely a gimmick that is part of advanced publicity. That's what I'm thinking.