Hello and welcome to the BBC Internet Blog. The aim of this blog is to have an open, direct, and hopefully lively conversation about everything we do, and plan to do, on bbc.co.uk and all our on-demand platforms (such as interactive TV and mobile).
The BBC has always had a commitment to engaging with our audience, and we now receive millions of inbound messages a day across email, message boards and blog postings, but I think we have been slow to embrace blogs as a way of discussing our strategy and direction. This often leads to the debate happening elsewhere, based often on only half the information, and without our being able fully to join in the debate. We've not done ourselves any favours, and we want to use this blog to re-engage with our friends and critics.
The passion with which people let us know their views shows that they care. We should be much more worried if one day the 'in-coming' fell away: this would mean we'd lost our relevance: what we do, and the decisions we make - from what content we publish over I.P., to how we distribute it, to how we enable our audiences to engage with it and share it - would have become of no interest.
This blog is a small step, a start towards a closer understanding and a deeper level of engagement with the people who pay for the BBC, and who care about the decisions we make. If we get it right, we can perhaps harness the wisdom of crowds (or the Delphi Technique as it used to be called) to arrive at better strategies, products, and services to help keep the BBC relevant in the digital age.
Ashley Highfield is Divisional Director, BBC Future Media and Technology Division