Friday 17 July 2009, 14:41
Two new initiatives showcased last week demonstrate how the BBC is finding new ways to involve its audience in what it produces.
A new four-part series about the World Wide Web for BBC2 - pegged to the 20th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee's original proposal of the idea - is planning its production around audience participation in the process. It will be presented by social media researcher Aleks Krotoski (below), who writes a technology column for The Guardian.
Even the name of the project, Digital Revolution, is only provisional - online suggestions from the audience about a final title are being sought. Plus rushes will be put online before the edit for comments, and production ideas will be blogged.
It's a brave idea. In theory, if the audience don't like the programmes, they'll have only themselves to blame. No doubt in reality there will be a limit to the transparency and participation that's possible. In the end, someone's got to make sense of it all. The YouTube video of the launch - where Berners-Lee gave the keynote (below) - has already attracted some ... er ... robust comments:
Meanwhile, in a talk at BBC Television Centre in London, Simon Cross from BBC Factual, Media and Technology (FM&T) demonstrated a live beta version of what he called a 'social discovery' tool that's being developed to work with the BBC website. With registration, it allows people to post what they're viewing or listening to, or web pages they've visited.
So, as Simon said, you may never get round to "seeing what's on", because you'll have so many recommendations from friends about what they've been watching that you will always have a list of choices to catch up on from those you trust.
He was able to demonstrate how his own profile page was instantly and automatically updated as he watched something on iPlayer (although there will be privacy controls if you don't want to advertise a particular choice). The new technology will also allow users to post on non-BBC networks like Twitter and Facebook with a single click.Both projects show that the BBC is adapting to the idea that its audience increasingly wants to be part of the output, rather than just being its passive recipients.