« Previous | Main | Next »

what is Digital Revolution (working title) all about?

Post categories:

Dan Biddle Dan Biddle | 10:16 UK time, Friday, 10 July 2009

What is Digital Revolution?

Digital Revolution (working title) is an open source documentary, due for transmission on BBC Two in 2010, that will take stock of 20 years of change brought about by the World Wide Web.

Why 'working title'?

The production is a work in progress; the website is a work in progress; even the name is a work in progress, and will change before the series is transmitted as a final product for TV. Trust me when I tell you that no small amount of anguish and wailing has already gone into attempting to name the series, and when the time's right, we'll share that anguish and ask you for your ideas for the title; but for now we're going with Digital Revolution.

Open source documentary - what do you mean by that?

This is open source with lower case o and s. We're making a documentary about the web and we figure it would be foolish to attempt this without engaging the web itself: its active community of contributors (and detractors).

It is our ambition to open up the production process as much as possible; to share as much of our thinking as possible, as the production team strive to create a cohesive, accurate and relevant documentary about the World Wide Web. We'll be blogging as we go; we'll share our theories; we'll be putting up rushes from the filming; we'll be asking for advice and stories from you as we go along.

Basically, we want you to get involved.

Why should I?

The BBC intends to tell the story of the web in four one-hour programmes on BBC Two. This story will reach a wide audience, an audience who may not necessarily have thought very deeply about this modern phenomenon beyond email and YouTube. We're telling the story and we want to get it right. It's a unique opportunity for collaboration between the production and the web; how much you engage with this process is up to you. 

What do you want from us?


Stories of the web's development and the phenomenal changes it has brought to the world. If Jay Rosen is right in the video below, and the web is people - people connected by computers, then to find out anything about the web we need to engage with people to tell its stories.

Once again, we're back with you.

The content on this blog is meant to open up debate - debate with you. Tell us where we're getting it right about the big issues, and - more importantly - tell us when you think we're wrong.

But, let's remember to play nice! We're all learning here, and if you feel you have something you'd like to add, please resist the temptation to shoot us down with a hail of flaming invective (and we'll resist the urge to become hurt, defensive and pouty).

Our ideas aren't fully formed but are in progress and we would love constructive feedback from you, including examples, stories, pictures, links, videos, tweets and illustrations that you think would make the point better.

How can I get involved?

This blog is the hub of our activities, and the best place to comment and share information, but we're also across a number of platforms. We're on Twitter as @BBCDigRev. We're sharing our online research on delicious.

There are also activities across the web answering the question 'The web is...?', including YouTube/thewebis and a The Web is Flickr group.

What's the process?

The production has several stages; likewise the shape of our interactivity will take different forms as we progress.

1 - Pre-production
We've been in early development for some time, but as of 10th July the production launches proper. The director and production team for programme one start Monday 13 July, and from that point onwards we will be blogging the production's current story and thinking. We'll also feature guest bloggers, who we hope will stir things up, add another angle to the debate, get us all thinking harder.

At this stage, your input, your comments, and your links will be read by the production team and will shape the direction the story takes. And everything will be part of our online interactive documentary that launches alongside programme transmission 

2- Filming
Once the production teams are in the field there will be less debate around scripts and stories, as the business of collecting the content will be led by the scripts written earlier in the process. The team will be on location and will be sharing their discoveries and sending back their rushes, which will be placed onto the blog asap to give you the fast track line to our interviews as they are recorded. We'll also be on twitter from locations, asking for anything from extra questions for our contributors, to the best spots to get a good shot of Silicon Valley, to where to lay our lips upon the life-giving froth of the best cappuccino in town.

3 - The edit
Come November the majority of the material for the programmes will have been collected and the serious business of editing the many hours of footage into cohesive one hour pieces begins. At this point, we'll be inviting you to comment on the direction we're taking and also to have a full and frank discussion about the series title.

4 - The series transmits
In early 2010 the four programmes will air on BBC Two. We'll post shortform clips from the series that link off to all the comments, debate and discussion on the blog and elsewhere around the web.  

Who are you? Who's doing the talking here?

The production teams are still being recruited and we will add to this list of players as they come on board, but for now, we are:

Aleks Krotoski (presenter)
Aleks Krotoski is an academic and journalist who writes about and studies technology and interactivity. She is on the final push to complete her PhD thesis in Social Psychology at the University of Surrey at the end of 2009, examining how information spreads around the social networks of the World Wide Web.

Aleks also writes a column for The Guardian newspaper, and hosts Tech Weekly, their technology podcast. She blogs on the Guardian Unlimited network, and maintains several of her own blogs on topics that range from her academic work to a proto-interest in Americana and country music.

Finally, she's the New Media Sector Champion for UKTI, the government department that promotes British businesses around the world.

Aleks tweets as @aleksk

Dan Biddle
Dan is the Assistant Content Producer and manager of the blog. A geek with a chef's background, Dan manages the Digital Revolution blog and Digital Revolution content around the web. ~DanB on @BBCDigRev

Dan Gluckman
Multiplatform Content Producer for Digital Revolution, Dan's main concern will be the interactive online experiments that will accompany the series and production, as well as worrying about everything Dan Biddle's doing. ~DanG on @BBCDigRev

There will be more people joining us along the way, and we'll introduce them as we go. Until then, if you have any questions, comments about the production and the online project, leave us a comment below and we'll get back to you. Remember - play nice!

Digital Revolution (working title) is a BBC / Open University co-production.


  • Comment number 1.

    I spend quite a lot of time building narrative and anecdotes on how much the web has changed my life and expectations, and how it can continue to change those of others way past just being able to look a few things up on google. The You person of the year resonates particularly with me and I tend to use that at the moment in some of those gatherings I attend in physcial and virtual space As you can see from this https://www.flickr.com/photos/epredator/3621012357/
    So I am looking forward to whatever you get going on this and let me know if you need a hand more directly.

  • Comment number 2.

    I wish you the best of luck with such a project. The pace of change is such that there is a danger that by the time your material is assembled it will already be out of date. However any review is to be welcome as it will draw the attention of those who are not yet aware of what is happening.

    What ever you do please remember from the start that people with disabilities use computers and the web and any content should be made available to them. These include blind and visually impaired people. Those who can see but not hear and many with physical difficulties also need to be considered.

    The web in particular is becoming more and more visually orientated, This move is of little use to those of us who can not see well, if at all. Technologies such as screen readers are struggling to keep up with the changes as I and others can attest with the use of web 2 pages and the recent move to browsers such as IE8.

    I hope you will bear this in mind and cover the problems in your programmes.

  • Comment number 3.

    Reading through the remit of your documentary, from the perspective of a long-time self-employed internet consultant (who wants to release software open source on the internet, but would never make any money if I did that for everything, and hence has to think of intellectual property etc. on a regular basis) I can't help but think you should spend a substantial amount of time on the issue of intellectual property vs. freedom, and 'free space' vs. business/advertising on the internet.

    Not just that, though, the same type of issue leads on to digital privacy, but also on its obvious flipside, that if you willingly give out too much information on the internet, you can create your own problems of privacy and identity theft, and I'm not just talking about falling for phishing attacks here.

    eg. Perhaps people may well shred their bank statements with a cross-cut shredder, but leave themselves open in similar ways by for example blogging extensively about where they had bank problems, at which bank, and which branch, about problems in their immediate neighbourhood, their whereabouts, place of work, etc.

    There are already tales of marketing folk using faux facebook & myspace profiles derived from aggregates of real profiles, to gather information about target markets, etc. which is probably a telling thing.

    Lastly, it is perhaps worth considering that the internet is global, it does not have a "night" and "day", it does not have a convenient 9pm watershed like the BBC's UK broadcasts, it does not have a legal jurisdiction all of its own, so there is no way it can be as conveniently managed as turning the TV off at a certain time, or only watching certain advertised programmes. I think making people realise this is a very valid thing to be doing.

    I'll gladly help your fascinating documentary in any way I can. However I do not know if the data protection legislation will permit you to derive my email address from my BBC blogs profile, and I'm not just going to post my mobile number or email address here in plain text, for reasons which should be rendered obvious by the above.

    https://www.orenet.co.uk/ may assist if you wish to get in touch.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi to all at Digital Revolution.

    My name is Mike Smith. I was delighted to read the news article about your project this morning and I simply HAVE to get involved. Telling people about the subject you have chosen is my purpose in life.

    I currently work as a computer instructor onboard luxury cruise ships and my pet topic is the internet. I give a series of lectures about the internet, the world wide web, viruses, spyware, phising and I just can't stop talking about how amazing it all is.

    I am a British citizen with almost 20 years of IT support experience in England, South Africa, France and at sea.

    Please get in touch and allow me to contribe my stories and information.

    Mike :)
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 5.

    The Digital Revolution in Education?

    How about the potential importance of the Internet / Web for education and learning? For many years traditional educational institutions have come under intense external pressure to adopt and implement e-learning. National policies all extol the benefits and necessity of adopting e-learning methods in order to compete in the new information age.

    The Utopian view of e-learning is reflected in government policies. The Commission of the European Communities in its policy paper at the beginning of this decade, e-Learning - Designing tomorrow's education, stated:
    'The goals of eLearning are particularly ambitious if these goals are pursued and attained, they will enable the citizens of Europe to take an active part in the construction of the most dynamic and most cohesive society in the world.'

    Similar Utopian hopes for e-learning have been reflected in government policies on education almost worldwide. Substantial time, energy and funding has been invested in ICT in education, with particular emphasis on the use of online web resources. The results, many would argue, have been less that optimal.

    I would argue that the Web Web 2.0 in particular, with its emphasis on interactive communication and collaboration has wonderful potential for enriching students' learning. Unfortunately, so many facets of online interaction mitigate against the freedom of inquiry and expression required for true learning to take place.

    The involvement of big business in education/e-learning is not conducive to providing the free and open environment required. The 'student market' is a target group for commercial interests, particularly technology companies, who wish to peddle their proprietary hardware and software. Thus the focus of technology education (and perceived criteria for 'success' in its implementation) is usually more about how to use a brand of software than how that type of software might assist the learner.

    Education is predicated on free enquiry and expression. How is an environment where digital surveillance is inescapable (from the local network logs, to dataveillance of search engines, to EU Data Retention directives ...) can free enquiry ever take place?
    When every online input and output is subject to monitoring and censorship whether the euphemistically termed 'filtering' at home, school or workplace or at the ISP or national level, there can be no freedom of expression or information.

    How many of us would be comfortable with the idea of a complete, ineradicable and traceable digital dossier of all our early and experimental thoughts and ideas as we scramble our way through our learning adventure?

    How many of us at whatever age could claim digital literacy at a level equivalent our analogue literacy?

    As Tim Berners-Lee stated in his keynote speech, we all should be allowed that digital blank sheet to be able to communicate freely, but the current digital tabula rasa is saturated with invisible digital markers which constrain us at every turn.

    Let us all work towards the Blank Sheet Web as envisaged by the Web's maker and allow everyone to learn together in free and full collaboration.

  • Comment number 6.

    Sophistic 3.0 and the end of institutional discourse

    This paper looks at Web 2.0 as a new form of discursive art which may be changing human subjectivity which may be producing new kinds of people.
    It casts the Web 2.0 era the era of extraordinarily online networking, as the Third Sophistic in comparison to the two other sophistics the periods when the art or technology of human communication was radically expanded.

    The sophistic overhaul of the art of discourse
    There were two periods in history when sophists came to the fore. The first was the pre-Socratic period of the Ancient Greek Enlightenment when grammar, rhetoric and dialectic were invented by the original sophists. The other period was the Second Sophistic which came in the early centuries of the Common Era when 'epideictic,' that is subtle, artistic rhetoric and its use were perfected.

    These sophistics were eras when the means of intellectual conception were markedly developed. They were eras when people became mentally able to conceive of themselves and their world in far more advanced terms. But when people conceive of themselves and their world markedly differently, then surely they became different kinds of people? This paper suggests the same thing is happening in the present era. We are in an era when different technology of discourse is producing markedly different people.

    In Sophistic 3.0 online technology is facilitating a kind of infinitely networked human being. In a few decades this could result in a human being as different from pre-Internet people as Iron Age people were from Roman citizens; as ancient Egyptians were from 19th century European Australians. This is a change far more radical than what might normally be expected from inter-generational adjustments in fashions, mores and knowledge.

    This paper looks to the two sophistics of the classical period to illustrate what might be understood as a change of subjectivity. The paper suggests what these changes might mean to the culture production industries such as education, journalism and public relations.

    The notion discourse can be understood as the ways of communication by which complex ideas are constructed and transmitted. For instance totems, tribal dance, rituals of all sorts, and in more literate times archaic poems have all been examples of discourse technologies. These modes or vehicles of discourse were and are used by various complex societies to share elaborate ideas. These are the ideas which help to form and maintain relevant cultural institutions the institutions governing ways of conceiving who these people are, how their world works and what people have to do to maintain that world.

    In grasping the huge advance in discourse technology brought about by the original pre-Socratic sophists it is hard to go past the succinct explanation in the Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy:

    in ancient Greece a teacher of the more advanced disciplines of study, e.g. grammar, rhetoric, lawThey brought to the fore the contrast between nature and convention. The idea that many things that we take for granted as being natural and therefore beyond our control, including our morality, customs and laws, are in fact conventional, has obvious radical implications. (Mautner, 1997:530)

    Both Plato and Aristotle accused sophists of distorting truth for money. However these accusations can be seen to be motivated by a conservative impulse to stifle non traditional thinking: (Havelock, 1957); (Bizzell & Herzberg, 2001). Classicist Werner Jaeger suggests: Before them [the sophists] we never hear of grammar, rhetoric and dialectic: they must therefore have invented them, (Jaeger, 1947, v1:314).

    The rationalist era heralded by the pre-Socratic sophists is typified by words in sparsely remaining fragments such as those attributed to leading Older Sophist Protagoras who is reputed to have said: Of all things the measure is man, and: Concerning the gods I am unable to say whether they exist (Sprague & Diels, 2001:10)

    This shift away from theology to earth-bound reasoning in social, scientific and moral matters was associated with revolutionary understandings of how thought comes about in concert with communication. Hence the sophists brought us:
    Grammar the technology or art of making narrative precisely intelligible;
    Rhetoric the technology of persuasive discourse which helps to get ideas adopted;
    Dialectic - logical argument involving syllogism and enthymeme which tries to avoid theological or other metaphysical assumption.

    The sophistic revolution intellectualised Ancient Greece and led to a Roman society massively more capable than precursor civilisations when it came to thinking about cultural, economic, military and all other aspects of existence.

    The Second Sophistic in the first and second centuries of the Common Era was a period when epideictic was honed. Epideictic rhetoric expresses the underlying world view of the narrative. It is the mode of delivery of the normative ideology which is always latent and sometimes covert in all narrative. This subtle rhetoric is particularly effective when carried in well crafted, artistic narratives of any media. It contrasts with the more familiar agonistic or pragmatic rhetoric - the overt persuasive discourse of the court room or parliament. Jeffrey Walker explains the difference in terms of the epideictic in archaic poetry:

    In Hesiods world the aoidos [bards] poetic/epideictic discourse is the mode of suasion that both establishes and mnemonically [by memorising] sustains the culturally authoritative codes of value and the paradigms of eloquence from which the pragmatic discourse of the basileus [king or ruler] derives it precedents, its language and its power. (Walker, 2000:10)

    From classical times to the present scriptures; writings; visual art; media productions; speeches, in fact any deliberately crafted communications all exhibit various qualities of the discursive technology of epideictic rhetoric. This is a technology which subtly carries the foundations of who we think we are and what we think the world is.

    The Web 2.0 sophistic
    The current rapidly developing use of Internet-borne Web 2.0 techniques by people with postmodern views, is rather like the use of the then emerging techniques of prose-borne grammar, rhetoric and dialectic by secular and anti-establishment pre-Socratic sophists.

    Books by those who work with public opinion see the corporate, political and social worlds becoming transparent through popular, interactive, critical, online scrutiny: (Holtz & Havens, 2009); (Solis & Breakenridge, 2009); (Kelleher, 2007); (Scoble & Israel, 2006). As happened in the sophistic revolutions, the Web 2.0 revolution is giving people the ability to discourse that is the ability to express and share ideas in radically expanded ways. In many cases Web 2.0 cuts the middle-person out of this discourse. Journalists and spokespeople become redundant as governments, corporations and third sector web sites, replete with multi-media and online means of dialogue, communicate directly with their publics. This threat to occupations has parallels to a class of seers, or priests of an archaic religion being made redundant by a population which can now interpret morals and the laws of society without clerical intervention.

    Sophistic 3.0 heralds a reduced reliance on established institutions as people become networked to everyone and everything. Sitting at globally networked computers in their homes people do not need their neighbours, their street, their locality or even their country for a feeling of shared identity. By contrast the first two sophistics involved a communal identity with localised artistic and political events. In Ancient Greece the new technologies of discourse were manifest in plays and the sitting of the ekklesia [assembly] in the agora [outdoor assembly area]. In ancient Rome entertainment was centralised and institutionalised in such places as the coliseum and circus maximus. Politics was conducted in the Forum. Public architecture and visual art were important to both classical civilisations as was the study and use of rhetoric and other education. In Sophistic 3.0 none of these influences on identity formation need to be local.
    Another difference is the centralised use of rhetoric in classical times. The Romans used rhetoric and its education to maintain the shape of peoples subjectivity and motivation across their empire. Later, Christian clerics and the scholastics of the Dark and Middle Ages performed the same rhetorical functions. Scholastics developed the rhetorical and semiotic techniques of St Augustine of Hippo (353-430) a former professor of rhetoric. Augustine is discussed as a semiotician by Umberto Eco (Eco, 1984, 1990) and is referred to by C. S. Peirce. John O. Ward explains how important rhetorical discourse was to the medieval period:

    The classical art of rhetoric served the middle ages more or less as the arts or sciences, of advertising, journalism, political debate, communications prose and business composition, public and personal relations and even computer programming, serve modern society. It provided guides and tips for the appropriate use of humour, on increasing memory capacity, on analysing legal issues, on acting and gesture, for oral and written style, conversation, letter writing or speech makingit was made to fit every situation requiring or benefitting from persuasion or effective communication. (Ward, 1995:10)

    Rhetorical processes as described by Ward have been important to the subject formation of people up until Sophistic 3.0. But now these processes may change.

    The multi-dimensional communications characteristic of Sophistic 3.0 contrast dramatically with hitherto one-way flows of institutionalised rhetoric. Sophistic 3.0 involves an initially elitist postmodernism sceptical intellectualism which has been massively facilitated and popularised by the infinite online scrutiny of everything discursive. The multi-dimensional, dialogic nature of the web makes every perlocutionary utterance of every institution potentially transparent. Every rhetorical process i.e. all the hitherto standard ways of influencing us to be who we are through discourse, are subject to endless consensuses and non-consensuses delivered via Web 2.0.

    If we look at some of the things the above thesis means for journalism we might say: It is not just that blogging and citizen journalism is impinging on professional journalism. Sophistic 3.0 denizens no longer rely on centralised media for the discourse needed to give a sense of who we are. The lifeworld is now supplied more generally, more interactively and hence potentially more transparently and certainly more voluminously from twittering minute to twittering minute.

    Mainstream journalism will suffer, not just from online competition for the advertising dollar. The institution of advertising itself is becoming less believed, less authoritative and less in demand because of Web 2.0. This means advertising revenues are under threat, let alone the financing of mainstream journalism from advertising. Advertising hype is becoming irrelevant as people are going direct to reliable user-generated information on products and services. Holtz and Havens (2009) explain that public relations people are currently adjusting to the proliferation of product discussion web sites and product blogging which is taking over the information role from advertising .

    As this information networking process spreads across all areas of human endeavour Sophistic 3.0 denizens will become more and more averse to consolidated institutions. They will demand me-centred answers and discourse appropriate to a less canonical, more expanded range of subjectivity. They will be subjects who have a broader and less fixed sense of ontology. This means that in terms of their own world view they will demand:

    The education they want to have as opposed to conformity to a canon of education.
    Wider debates about politics and morality, debates stimulated and led by a range of political and third sector organisations globally.
    A bigger volume and wider range of what might be called subjectivity referencing such as:
    o Creative arts of all kinds
    o A plethora of audio visual connectivity globally
    o More substantial two way discourse in all spheres of their lives: commercial, political, personal.
    They will want product and service providers who understand the above trends.

    Conclusion: Optimism and the new subjectivity
    After the Greek Enlightenment people continued to slaughter each other, but now with added efficiency. Nor did the norms contained in the culturally authoritative codes of value of the Second Sophistic do anything to reduce genocide.
    Sophistic 3.0 is no panacea, but with totally networked scrutiny of institutions, the creation of subjectivity becomes a transparent process. Who people become will be a much more visible, self-decided and autonomous process. The optimistic hope is that: with subjectivity creation divorced from institutions and consequently divorced from traditional deontology, everyone has a heightened responsibility to reason well and to be moral. As the online world will be hyper-critical people should have a heighted awareness of their responsibilities in these respects within the pragmatic limits of what is found to be right and possible. (This opens a discussion in terms of C. S. Peirces Pragmatic Maxim which will not be entered into here.) Sophistic 3.0 people who form themselves will have no option but to take more responsibility for their own creation.

    Bizzell, P., & Herzberg, B. (2001). The rhetorical tradition : readings from classical times to the present (2nd ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.
    Eco, U. (1984). Semiotics and the philosophy of language. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    Eco, U. (1990). The limits of interpretation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
    Havelock, E. A. (1957). The liberal temper in Greek politics. New Haven: Yale University Press.
    Holtz, S., & Havens, J. C. (2009). Tactical transparency : how leaders can leverage social media to maximize value and build their brand. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    Jaeger, W. (1947). Paideia : the ideals of Greek culture (2nd English ed. Vol. 1). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
    Kelleher, T. (2007). Public relations online : lasting concepts for changing media. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications.
    Mautner, T. (1997). The Penguin dictionary of philosophy (Rev. ed.). London ; New York: Penguin Books.
    Scoble, R., & Israel, S. (2006). Naked conversations : how blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.
    Solis, B., & Breakenridge, D. (2009). Putting the public back in public relations : how social media is reinventing the aging business of PR. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: FT Press.
    Sprague, R. K., & Diels, H. (2001). The older Sophists : a complete translation by several hands of the fragments in Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, edited by Diels-Kranz : with a new edition of Antiphon and of Euthydemus. Indianapolis, IN ; Cambridge: Hackett.
    Walker, J. (2000). Rhetoric and poetics in antiquity. New York ; Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Ward, J. O. (1995). Ciceronian rhetoric in treatise, scholion, and commentary. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols.

  • Comment number 7.

    In many ways journalists approach to the web is like buggy whip makers assessing the early motor car. It looks like it could change what you do radically and you don't understand how it will change the world. To a large extent nobody does. It will be interesting to see how this project turns out and whether it takes a truly objective view. Comments about the accuracy of information on the web should be seen alongside journalistic practices. Political correspondents who report unnamed "sources", the BBC that quotes stories in newspapers as though they are facts and not opinions. It is difficult to see the difference in all but a limited number of cases why the web is any more unreliable than the Daily Mail. Perhaps it would be interesting to focus on what journalists honestly think is going to happen to their profession as the web continues to develop. If they think they are still going to be manufacturing buggy whips then they have their finger stuck in a hole in a mighty big dam. To be clear I think that many of the attributes of journalism will continue but not as we know it Jim.

  • Comment number 8.

    Greetings to the Digital Revolution team from Panmedia in Kingston, Jamaica. https://www.panmedia.com.jm

    We are a small digital interative company that developed the island's first portal, Jamaica Today, in 1996. Since then, we have tried to stay current with where the web is going.

    We find your project absolutely fascinating, and intend to follow your every move. We appreciate your approach because we have long shared all our stories on our website.

    Through this blog we hope we can share that part of our experience working on the web in a developing country that may be pertinent to what you are doing so you can understand the challenges and triumphs on the periphery.

    Knolly Moses

  • Comment number 9.

    Cool initiative!

    "Open source" at a minimum means a certain set of legal practices that make it possible / ensure that the source is some rather specific version of "open". If you want to do "open source" you should really look at a good legal framework for contributions. Concretely you should probably adopt some form of creative commons licensing right away.

    If you are additionally looking for something akin to "commons-based peer production" or perhaps "open development", then at a minimum you need a way for the larger community to submit something akin to patches (which is *not* the same as blog comments and/or tweets) and a way for people to do an independent fork of your project. The book Producing Open Source Software ( https://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596007591/ ) might be a good starting point. I'd also suggest getting a two-way communication hub suited to online collaboration (message board, mailing list, basecamp, wiki, ...) as distinct from conversation (blog, twitter, ...) really soon.

    If you're serious about all this and you'd like a bit of help figuring out the process please shout out and help you shall receive! If on the other hand you are not actually going to allow creating derivative works and the like, please stop using the term open source.

    For reference, about the most liberal terms the BBC has managed to apply to any content so far, as far as I know, are those of BBC Backstage ( https://backstage.bbc.co.uk/archives/2005/01/terms_of_use.html ) which are unfortunately really not that close to "open source" at all.

  • Comment number 10.

    OK, i understand that the idea is to present the material to a non-technical audience, but given the fact that it is a documentary about the Information Age, i would like to see at least some coverage of alternative and open-source software.

    I remember reacting with disgust to a BBC documentary I saw a few years back about modern computing - it completely ignored the history of the british IT industry, and was instead your typical Jobs vs Gates (with a few other token actors) story.

    I considered this surprising given the BBC's prior involvement with Acorn (the whole 'Computer Literacy Project' of the early 80's - a whole generation of us remember the Owl logo!), and what their spin-off ARM has achieved. It was almost as if the BBC was ashamed of our computing industry (as it has been largely squashed or is out of public view). It was almost as if the great Domesday Project of the 80's never happened!

    Nowadays, users are exposed to Microsoft (and possibly Apple) Operating Systems and Browsers, plus the OS and UI of their mobile phone, and not a lot else. There are generations of people growing up who think computers only run Windows (possibly OSX). The only hope they have for escaping this is if they don't depend on specific proprietary applications, have a technical friend who can help them with Linux, FreeBSD or another alternative, and are willing to have got that far in the first place (which is unlikely, as they would probably not be in a good position to make a critique of Windows in the first place).

    If you can at least dispell the common myth that Microsoft 'invented' the Internet, and demonstrate to the public exactly how large a part Linux, Apache, Java (and all the other Non-MS stuff they never get to see) powers their day-to-day computing experience you would have performed a great service.

    At least mentioning the 'L' work on-air (something which 'Click Online' seems to be too afraid to do most of the time!) would be a start. You could even be as radical as to spend a few minutes explaining how users can get hold a of a Linux system themselves!

    I'm sure some of the FOSS guys, such as Stallman, Torvalds and Shuttleworth would happily be available for a one or two minute spot helping to explain what they do....A minute-or-so with Uncle Clive (as part of 'Looking Back') would be pretty neat as well (but i would understand if you left out the C5!) :)

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi there,

    Weve been just hectic in the run up to and since the Web at 20 launch, so havent had a chance to reply to comments as swiftly as wed like. I see Aleks has replied on her post before I had a chance, so she wins best blogger badge this week.

    Thanks to @epredator for the good vibes and offers to help. Stay with us, were sure to need you.

    @Exposurecontrol - What ever you do please remember from the start that people with disabilities use computers and the web and any content should be made available to them. These include blind and visually impaired people. Those who can see but not hear and many with physical difficulties also need to be considered.

    Agreed indeed, last week I had some last minute CSS changes made to enhance the definition of the hyperlinks in the blog text for this very reason. And the BBC website guidelines do point us in the right direction, but if we are missing something, please do let us know. Weve already had someone point out that our the web is video featuring Memnos Costi signing a message did not have subtitles for those who were hearing-impared but not BSL speakers (https://www.bbc.co.uk/seehear/info/bsl.shtml%29. Something we have rectified on that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qG4kd0rPD1g

    I will highlight the issues you raise of accessibility and the drive towards visual content with the team. It certainly fits into our challenging the notion that the web is levelling the playing field, when it may be busy creating new obstacles inequalities. If Sir Tim Berners-Lee sees web access as a human right like clean water, then it seems sensible to ensure that everyone can take a drink from the well.

    @kyrian666 you should spend a substantial amount of time on the issue of intellectual property vs. freedom, and 'free space' vs. business/advertising on the internet

    Good points - and we're looking into the issues. Watch this space for the coming debate. In the next two weeks we will feature a post from Aleks and posts from Matt Mason (author of The Pirates Dilemma) and Head of UK Music, Feargal Sharkey all around the theme of intellectual property and the webs 'freedoms' you describe. Your comments around those posts will be most welcome.

    Likewise were going to tackle online privacy and the death thereof; an interesting starter for ten came at our launch event in a collision of two mind-sets Bill Thompson and Baroness Susan Greenfield on privacy in the 21st Century: https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/digitalrevolution/2009/07/more-from-web-at-20.shtml

    @regentmike glad to hear this project and its subjects will be source of inspiration and stories. Please keep reading and feel free to contribute your ideas on the blogs. (Please remember not to post any personal information in comments though.)

    This is getting unmanageably long, so Ill respond to more of these outstanding comments later.
    Many, many thanks for your time and wisdom I am bowled over by the responses!

  • Comment number 12.

    Are you looking for quirky, historical tales from the early days?

    Tales of battles between kibologists and rec.org.mensa?

    The on-going battles between The Church of the Sub-Genius and Scientologists?

    How Joel K. Furr broke Usenet and tried to save it from "spam" and Sergar Argic?

    Do you want transcripts of intellectual tussles between Archimedes Plutonium and Kibo?

    Are you keen to know why there is both a rec.aquaria group and also sci.aquaria, and of the blood, sweat and geek-tears shed during that dispute?

    OTOH, what a boring video that would make.
    You're not thinking of putting out an ASCII version of this putative doco, are you?

  • Comment number 13.

    I only found this page after clicking on a link at the bottom of the last (first) article in a series. This is presumably the place to comment on the project as a whole, rather than some specific part of it, and yet as a casual visitor there is no easy way to find it. Perhaps there could be some clearer 'starting point' or site/project map to help you find your way to whatever interests you?

    Anyway, who is your target audience? I found this page as a result of reading a story online which describes your desire to "to engage the people who use the web all the time," and "open up a dialogue with them that will help shape the series." Well, I'm online but you're talking to me as if I'm not. I'm not one of "them," I'm one of "us". So I assume you are trying to make a TV documentary for non-web users and you've approached this from the point of view of a TV presenter who views himself as distinct from the internet-using population.

    Is it really necessary to be either one or the other, but not both? Do the uber-geeks understand how little some people know? A little clarity about your objectives might help, or are we just winging this to see what emerges? That may be more in keeping with the nature of the web.

    Anyway, here are a few ideas for you:

    1. Nicholas Taleb, in his book "The Black Swan" talks about the winner-takes-almost-all nature of the internet. Consider two sites of similar quality on the same topic. One is started by someone who has more friends, which results in his site being slightly more popular initially. This results in the site getting a higher page rank and appearing higher up in online searches. This leads to more page views, more links, and a higher page rank. One site becomes wildly successful, the other vanishes into oblivion. The web is not democratic, it's a brutal free-market with no regulator to prevent runaway steam-roller successes that qualitively are no better than the competition.

    2. There were some stories a while ago about "Google making people stupid" which continue this theme. Once an idea gains momentum it becomes "the truth" because it is most popular, and people trust "the wisdom of the crowd" even though the crowd is just repeating what the last person said. As an experiment, why not try propagating some myth? This would be a variant on "Google-bombing".

    3. As I'm attacking Google.... this organisation in particular does not seem to have yet understood that people travel internationally, which is kind of ironic considering Sergei Brin's background. I use an English-language operating system, and have my computer and browser set to English. I am logged into my gmail account and have set the display to English. But I live in Taiwan, so every few days google will decide that I need my search results in Chinese. They are making a decision for me, and taking action, based on one small piece of information (my IP address) instead of all the other information available. Instead of allowing the user to choose, they are dictating what my experience will be, in the belief that they are helping to make my life more convenient. In a world where mass migration is common, this is just stupid. Check out BBC stories on the missing million, or US data on the number of people in the country who don't speak English.

    4. And you could also look at the effectiveness of the Google-ads scheme. How clever is a company that 'targets' advertising and as a result invites me to learn Spanish when I look at the front page of the BBC? I signed up to put Google ads on my site, and they sent me terms and conditions in Chinese because I do my banking in Taiwan - they didn't care about which jurisdiction the site was hosted or managed from.

    5. This statement on your news article is brilliant: "We hope to release those under a permissive licence so that web users can re-use them or do their own mash-ups as they please. Whenever we can, we're trying to rewrite the traditional BBC script and create something truer to the spirit of the web." Have you considered making ALL BBC content available on a site that allows people download, create derivative works, and re-upload for public consumption? It would need a variation on the creative commons license. Listen to this guy: https://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/larry_lessig_says_the_law_is_strangling_creativity.html

    6. TED.com talks are worth talking about. The insights of the people who are shaping our world, free to anyone who cares to listen. (And run by a Brit!) The organisation is using crowd-sourcing for translation, and 'franchising' their content-generation. Very cool and innovative. This is the sort of real-world application of the web that newbies can get their heads around.

    7. William Kamkwamba built a windmill at the age of 14, and later a new well, for his village in Malawi. He talks about the importance of the web as a source of information that enables poor people to improve their lives, although he had to use old technology - books - to figure out how to make the electricity to get online. Search youtube for "moving windmills"

    8. Last one. Try looking at other countries to see what we can learn, and maybe what the future holds. Everyone in Taiwan had ADSL when I arrived here seven years ago, but you're still struggling in the UK. We have a whole different approach to e-commerce here too. Use of mobile computing/phone apps is incredible in Japan. Will UK go the same way?

    9. OK, really the last one. I'm a teacher and I'd love to see more about how computers are affecting education. It seems we teach kids how to use computers, to a point, but we don't use these resources properly for teaching. The $100 laptop hasn't delivered in this regard, but all sorts of people are figuring out ways to do everything from combat Alzheimer's to benchmark language skills online. Check out https://www.bulats.org/demo/index.php for an example of adaptive testing, or read more about the TOEFL internet-based test of English.

    Hope this helps. You can find me at https://TaiwanChallenges.com

  • Comment number 14.

    Only a dozen contributions in a week.
    Too slow, too boring.

  • Comment number 15.

    Great idea for a documentary - and the web means different things to different people. Is it for keeping in touch, networking, buying esoteric items, saving yourself a trip to the shops, finding a soul mate, researching, building a business, watching tv - its all those things to different people. Personally I've done nothing but work in online businesses for the last 13 years, I'll be keeping an eye on what you are doing. I'm at iknowthe.net if you are looking for a talking head...

  • Comment number 16.

    Jay Rosen is quite right, the Web is people. They are the ones, after all, who contribute the content and consume it. If it wasn't for people, the web would be just a bundle of wires and protocols with no real purpose. However it's a bit of a no-brainer as everything created by people can be said to be the same.

  • Comment number 17.

    @winston84smith - 'How many of us would be comfortable with the idea of a complete, ineradicable and traceable digital dossier of all our early and experimental thoughts and ideas as we scramble our way through our learning adventure?' Excellent question.

    There is much discussion over the privacy issues of social networking sites etc. and the fears for children's mindsets of growing-up in public; but, as you say, should we concern ourselves with the issues leading from 'learning-up' in public? If you have any specific examples of school pupils' information being accessed or shared, they'd be much appreciated.

    Many thanks,

  • Comment number 18.

    Re 13. At 04:06am on 15 Jul 2009, TaiwanChallenges

    Excellent comments. More of which I will come back to in greater detail in later comment / blogs, but one of your first points re tone and target reminded me of a video I saw last night. We are indeed walking a line regarding assumptions of audience knowledge; we're not going to be ubergeek, as none of are truly of that strata, but we like to think we know some onions. Whereas, when using even (what we would consider) simple IT and internet terms you can make no assumptions that the majority will be able to follow you.

    This is the video: a guy asking the public what they think a browser is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4MwTvtyrUQ the results of which may be surprising / horrifying to we in the know.

    We assume that the people who engage with the open online documentary process will be, in the main, engaged with the web, the internet and its facinating evolution; and that you will want to see the web well represented. We need stories, links, facts, experiences to build the complete picture.

    It's our aim to make an intelligent, accessible documentary about the web. And thoughtful, interesting comments like yours, Chris - like the majority of comments here in fact - are vital to that.

    Many thanks for your time and participation,

  • Comment number 19.

    Re: 12. At 5:32pm on 14 Jul 2009, Trurl2009

    It seems from a later post, we may have lost you Trurl2009, but the history you mention may well be of interest. This appears to be indication of early communities, developments of heirarchies within those structures - dealing with spam and trolls. Which may have blueprint links to later emergent patterns of govenence within the web's users.

    Am I on the right path. What is your interpretation of these events as part of the web's development? Could you offer some links / further info we'd best follow to this end?

    Many thanks,

  • Comment number 20.

    Dan wrote:
    'If you have any specific examples of school pupils' information being accessed or shared, they'd be much appreciated'.
    Let me answer as follows:

    The Information Commissioner's Annual Report 2008/09 states:

    'Technology has become more powerful, more universal, more portable, more global, cheaper and now offers unlimited and unforgiving memory. ... Modern technology brings many benefits ... But I welcome the increased awareness of the dangers that excessive, unrestrained or unscrutinised collection and use of personal information can bring to the right to privacy and other freedoms. Benign motives do not eliminate the risks'.

    The Information Commissioner speaks of the importance of Privacy Impact Assessments and Privacy Notices which explain to the public how their data will be used. I am not aware that either Privacy Impact Assessments or Privacy Notices are ever contemplated (never mind implemented) with regard to students' or pupils' eLearning activities. There are Acceptable Use Policies / Agreements for students / pupils, but there are rather a series of warnings /prohibitions regarding their use of the network and Internet-based resources and are, unfortunately, more about protecting the educational Institution from potential litigation.

    Has any body / institution ever carried out a Privacy Impact Assessment with regard to students' or pupils' eLearning activities? It seems to me eLearning has been presented to and accepted unquestioningly by educationalists as a technological imperative for the 'knowledge society'.

    I cannot imagine any other environment in education where teachers uncritically relinquish all decisions about curricular content and access to a group of non-educationalists (ICT technologists). How many teachers have queried the level / scope of censorship to subject-matter which is inherent in whatever euphemistically-termed filtering is in place in their institution? Do they know what information is censored, what the criteria for censorship are and who decided these criteria? If it were a case of printed matter rather than digital information, would they be satisfied with similar levels of anonymous censorship?

    Most networks log users' activity. Filtering systems routinely do so. Who has access to student user logs of activity? How long are they retained? Would teachers be happy with a similar level of monitoring and surveillance of students' activities in the physical classroom? What personally identifiable information have Search Engines amassed from students' search activities? Would we be prepared to keep a similar log of every term students ever researched in a physical encyclopaedia and then publish this information on a permanently-accessible public notice-board?

    What about Data Retention? How does implementation of the EU Data Retention Directive impact on students' privacy in their online learning activities? How much have the risks to students' privacy been exacerbated by the advent of Web 2.0 participative technologies and their implementation within Education?

    How many of us in the wild enthusiasm of our early years have read, written or produced material which we would now be extremely loathe to see in the public domain? How about a personally identifiable, globally-accessible permanent digital dossier of all our learning activities? Are we not foisting precisely this scenario on our students? Don't we need to carry out a Privacy Impact Assessment on eLearning?

    The Internet, at its incarnation, was viewed as a revolutionising and liberating technology. In its current state, Internet-based ICT / eLearning is, I argue, a deeply disabling agent which violates students' rights of privacy, 'chills' students' free speech and severely limits students' free access to information. Is eLearning - in a mashup of Freire's famous phrase - the technology of the oppressed?

  • Comment number 21.

    Re: 17 - my impression was that Winston was referring to the possibility that everything we do 'because it seems like a good idea at the time' will remain in the public archive forever. Imagine your teenage maunderings coming back to haunt you when you apply for that job with the BBC.

    Re: 18 - I have mixed feelings about the video on youtube.

    For starters, how many people know what a carburettor is, or can accurately describe what a clutch does? Not understanding the technology doesn't preclude an ability to use it and while enthusiasts might wish the greater population were better informed, maybe the greater population is more concerned with "which button do I press to get to where I want to go?" Not many people know what an operating system is, or couldn't explain it clearly if you stopped them on the street, but most people know they need Windows. It depends how you phrase the question.

    Most of the people in the first part of the interview clearly knew that the interviewer was from Google. This primed them to think about the topic of search engines, not the question that was subsequently asked. If the interviewer had introduced himself as being from Firefox, Microsoft, or the planet Neptune then I suspect he would have got different answers. Maybe you could try it yourselves?

    The questions about the difference between browsers and search engines revealed uncertainty - or lack of confidence in the face of questions - but most people seemed to have the basic idea. In fact, you could say that everyone was aware of a lack of knowledge which didn't seem to be hurting them, rather than complacent in ignorance. People know how to get online, and how to find what they want, they just don't know the name for things when ambushed by an expert with a TV camera. I wouldn't be particularly surprised or horrified by the result, especially given the appalling ignorance that most people display about most things most of the time.

    And I assume you considered the possibility that someone from Google was sent out onto the street to raise awareness of Google's new browser. So far, 249773 people have seen a video in which people repeatedly say the word 'Chrome'. One even obligingly spelt it out. The people interested in knowing how stupid everyone else is are also more likely to be tech-savvy, and therefore more likely to take notice of the fact that Google has just launched a new browser. Viral marketing, winner-takes-almost-all. Google specialises in perpetuating widely-held beliefs regardless of the truth.

    Finally, if only eight percent of Google's sample knew what a browser was, and Wikipedia reports that 22.51% of users have switched to Firefox (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers%29, up from 15% a year ago (https://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7457503.stm%29, then something doesn't make sense. How many people switch browsers without knowing what a browser is?

    It seems that the report was rigged in some way, either by priming the interviewees, pre-screening them, or by asking the questions in a way that leaves the result open to interpretation. The preferred interpretation is that people are stupid, and you geeks will love to revel in your own sense of superiority - especially after you switch to Chrome.

    I do hope that the BBC will report more objectively, and not be taken in by pseduo-research that is just a front for a viral marketing campaign. That stuff's entertaining for a minute or two, but not really useful or important to anyone. You might report on how people believe anything that is told to them on the internet, I think Bill Thompson had something to say about this a while ago.

    Have to run.

  • Comment number 22.

    I have been filming at radio and TV stations in different parts of the world since 2002 looking at how they are switching from analogue to digital. In some areas this has meant programme makers have been able to make high quality video for the cost of a radio programme a few years ago. However, I can see that in some countries, digital means the destruction of our collective memory. Stations in Africa have bought systems with very little production memory so that every three months they are throwing out priceless material to make room for new productions. In older times they would have been stored on tape (which has its own problems) But now they are dumping stufd even earlier. Can I recommended talking with Salim Amin of www.a24media.com in Nairobi about this?

    I find it amazing that people assume the web has an infinite memory. Infact it is a very selective memory. It seems to be recall things you'd rather forget (those drunken photos on Facebook that are found by future employers). Yet if Flickr or Picasa went away, can you imagine the trauma from its users. Who could they turn to? Frankly, I would not mourn the loss of the photos themselves since I only use Flick as a back-up. But I would be very angry if I lost the metadata I had written around those photos since there is no way to export that at the moment. I note that people like squarespace.com are making it easy to import AND export data from blogs, which to me is a very professional way of thinking.

    So a chapter in your documentary about the web's selective Digital Memory would certainly act as a wake-up call.

  • Comment number 23.

    @jonathanmarks - many thanks, I'll raise the issue of selective Digital Memory (and digital senescence) with the team. I seem to remember Aleks once stating (in a podcast) that she didn't keep any home copies of her photos, that she trusted all to the cloud... but that can't be right, can it? I leave it to her to set me straight forthwith!

    And thank you for the other information. We will check www.a24media.com for more details.


  • Comment number 24.

    The web as described is a function of four things; 1) www ia an open platform -a city we can visit, travel in, trade in and even add too; 2) the internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) that make connectivity easy; 3) high speed networking which makes using the web usable and creates a deal more potential and 4) the devices we use in connecting and communicating across the web.

    I am inspired by the potential, and this website https://www.bbbritain.co.uk begins to describe how we get to a 24x7 connectivity for all. It starts with a demand for transparency of the operational properties of our existing connectivity, without which we cannot appreciate both the possibilities and how we manage around the limitations.

  • Comment number 25.

    Hello England, this is Amsterdam calling!

    What a great project this is!
    I'm trying to do exactly the same thing, but different. :)

    I work for the Dutch Public Broadcastcompany, doing "transmediaprojects" on the internet.
    My last one was called https://www.flickradio.nl , about a man who gets lost on flickr.com. It started as a blog, then it became a radiodramascript, then we added CC pictures to it and it was became a movie, broadcasted on TV!! You can watch in on the log.
    Now I'm working on "Media Me, you're in my story."

    Media Me, youre in my story is the title of a new film to be made, that wants to dramatise the Digital Revolution in a poetic and reflective way.
    There are nine scenes with each one Digital Revolution theme:
    and addiction.

    Were collecting material on a log. Images first. Then text and music will be added.

    There is a narrator, an old man, called Pictureman. His voice-over will be played by an English actor. (Still looking for a good one...)
    In Media Me we follow him, alone in his house and on the street. Hes got a beard, long gray hair and two hats: a summer hat and a winter hat. Hes a streetphotographer and lives in a big city.

    Pictureman collects portraits, his passion is people. He puts them on Flickr. He doesnt photograph flowers or plants. Hes got 707 contacts and over 3000 pictures on his Flickr account. Privcay is a total non isue for him; theres nothing to hide, he says. His real name is Akbar Simonse.

    For collecting video material for Media Me, were going to 'medialise' Akbar Simonse completely.
    As a kind of model, hell be put in different media settings and surroundings. Well film him in his own house, with his computer. But also in hotelrooms, in CAVES, and of course, on the street etc.
    How the final story will go, no one knows. Akbar Simonse lives in The Hague, Netherlands.

    Three camera(wo)men are working on the project right now: Ronnie Griens, René Willenborg and Matthijs Treurniet, student HKU/ AV.
    Style: Documentary, with elements of fiction.
    Sounds, voice-overs, texts and music will be added in a later phase: the final edit. We start with silent images only.

    I work in an intuitive and associative way. In stead of a script, we use a man. Just one man, with a story, a photocamera and a computer. His window to the world, and mirror at the same time.
    Suggestions for plots and story developments are welcome! Last suggestion is to make it a silent movie. But that may be a bit too ambitious.

    The Media Me pool on Flickr is still growing and doesnt seem te stop doing so. This is the beating heart of the project:

    I write and publish in English as much as I can on https://www.mediame.nl

    As I wanted to reflect on The Digital Revolution, I got stuck for some time during research in theory, theory, theory. It became messy, for every specialist was right and repeating eachother. So finally I turned theory it into practice by choosing one person, one narrator. An passionate amateur.
    This maybe helpfull for you: Personalise the subject, for all theorists look like parrots after a while.

    Goodluck with the project and I would love to collaborate, but how? It would be great if my narrator could perform in your documentary! :)

    Bert Kommerij.

  • Comment number 26.

    Some thought should be addressed to us gamers to. I have just turned 40 and still actively gaming along with a whole crowd that started back in the early 90s.

    Kids bought up on the old Atari, C64, Spectrums etc got into computers, gaming and the WWW early.

    Many of us from the early days started building our own pcs with little or no knowledge of electronics, computing etc, started overclocking hardware and all sorts with equipment costing £500-£1000+. All this just so we could "maybe" have an advantage over a rival in a computer game.

    The early days were amazing. Making friends in games communities like Wireplay, Barrysworld. I made friends that I still have today, some Ive never met which was incredible back then. We played games such as Quake, Half-Life, Team Fortress Classic and Unreal Tournament. Communities sprang up overnight with hundreds of web pages dedicated to them. Leagues and Ladders for competitions were created. International boundaries didnt exist, we played clan matches against Germans one day, then Americans the next.

    You have to remember also we were paying by the minute back then and whole families got in serious financial trouble over the internet, gaming and phone bills. I remember people on Wireplay with £400+ a month phone bills just through gaming.

    During this period the first two popular "MMORPG"s came out. Massive multiplayer online roleplay games. These evolved from the muds, early subscription games with aol,cumpuserve etc and dungeon and dragons pen and paper games.

    Ultima Online and Everquest came out late 90s and changed the way thousands of people played games. Here you had thousands of people playing simultaneously in virtual worlds and all you needed was an internet connection. These were mind blowing to a lot of people.

    Now nearly every game that is released has a online multiplayer component. There are hundreds if not thousands of online MMOs of various sorts and millions of web pages dedicated to console and computer gaming.

    I still think the gamers had a huge influence over how fast the web grew, how many computers got into homes and then got access to the WWW.

    Us old gamers still chat about the "early" days of internet. Great times.

  • Comment number 27.

    I have built and am building a range of businesses using the web since 2004 after a corporate career. It would have been impossible to do what I have done without the web on a number of fronts. It has also allowed me to compete with giant companies, on a level playing field, impossible 10 years ago. Happy to provide any input to your project as required, just get in touch.


    Phil Crowshaw

  • Comment number 28.

    This is great. Best thing about web is. It touches life. It is easy. It is intuitive. It allows you to be yourself.

    I started with lot of 'webbing' from past 6 month. One of the advertisement executive introduced me to concept of blog. Than …..I started https://harish-optimizepayroll.blogspot.com and than https://harishimemyselfandmine.blogspot.com/. It gave immense pleasure tow rite my mind out and than share it with my group.

    Best happened 2 months back. When I purchased original windows..........I got promotion email about windows live. I went with and purchased by domain name.......than created my website on windows live https://harishbk.com. Now life is never the same. I am connected. No...I am not talking about social media and stuff. I am not very active in that space. My friends now about what I want to tell them. I meet my people virtually. We are more connected.

    Now my website has become my online identity where people can know whatever I want to tell them if we meet for half day or in a 4 hour flight to Singapore if we sit together.

  • Comment number 29.


    I'm a blogger and have written a bit about my history with the web, which goes back 15 years or so now :/

    I first met it in a specialised medical library in Sydney. I was editing an HIV/AIDS magazine and sourced content from largely US scientific publications which came delayed by three months off the boat.

    The librarian there showed me this new thing, the internet, and specifically a service called AEGiS and I was literally bowled over by this new, immediate, rich source of information. That's the exact moment my world changed.

    I have blogged about AEGiS here https://paulcanning.blogspot.com/2008/07/health-sites-and-memories.html

    I've also blogged about how I saw the web become key to forming new communities of interest and to campaigning in the 90s here https://paulcanning.blogspot.com/2007/03/matthew-taylor-is-ignoramus.html

    Hope you find something useful here, this sounds like a fantastic project and I'd love to be able to contribute in some small way.

  • Comment number 30.

    This project seems fascinating, and I welcome BBC's attempt to experiment with a new form of documentary making...

    This being said I am a little sceptical on how radical BBC's approach might be: is this documentary really "open source"? If BBC is welcoming input and stories from web users... how far is it willing to go in making the whole production process open to the WWW? Where are the limits of our participation and are those limits clearly explained on your website?

    As an academic, and a PhD researcher on "interactive documentaries", I am trying to understand if the BBC is just using trendy words (such as "open source" and "collaborative") as a marketing tool - or if it is really trying to embrace a new way of conceiving its public broadcasting role.

    I would appreciate if people (and this specifically includes the BBC production team!!) could comment and reply to my article "Digital Revolution: BBC experiments with Open Source Documentaries" - available at https://www.interactivedocumentary.net/2009/09/17/digital-revolution-bbc-experiments-with-open-source-documentaries/.

    Let's keep the discussion "open"!

  • Comment number 31.

    This project has alerted me to the fact that as in every thing else, we are willingly surrendering the control of our web to the corporates.

    Does paid for by advertising really mean, "free to search"?

    Of course not! Where do we think that the money for these huge advertising budgets come from? Out of our pockets when we buy stuff of course. They just add a bit on to each item to cover the cost. It's like a tax on the cost of goods that we all have to pay,like it or not.

    If that's what we want, and it seems that we do, then that's what we'll get.

    But how easy do you feel about some one who implies that something is free, when really there's a cost attached?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.