The Digital Revolution project just gets better and better to be involved with. The input from guest bloggers and the incredible standard of comments from our users are proving invaluable, both in terms of their information content and their inspiring nature for our production.
As ever, this is my attempt to pull the ideas and the arguments together from another busy week.
The big news for us in the office this week was the departure of the programme one team to start their filming. Things have been manic as the TV production really hit a higher gear in preparation for the flights out this morning - Friday 5 September 2009. If you've been following the tweets and pics, you'll have seen snapshots of the test shoots
and last minute script debates
, but we managed to grab presenter Aleks Krotoski and director Philip Smith for a quick idea of the mission ahead:
Meanwhile, away from the panic and planning of programme production, we have enjoyed a healthy, informed and informative debate across the themes of the series.
Programme three - the cost of free
Chris Anderson's videos have consistently sparked argument
, and his latest on the subject of the internet as the world's first 'free' medium
has again proved provocative. Chris argues that the costs of production (and dissemination) of media across the net are so low now as to afford a sustainable medium of free content; however this has been met with a number of rebuttles from @SheffTim
that we in fact pay for 'free' internet content in numerous ways - utilities such as the Internet Service Provider charge and electricity itself to allow you to run the machines that access the free content.
makes a number of compelling arguments against Anderson's 'free' model, one of which tackles the fees charged by 'talent': 'Chris Anderson argues for "free" at a time when, not only Murdoch and other media giants like Google/YouTube are examining more sophisticated pay business models, the likes of Simon Cowell were reported to be in negotiations to earn US$144 million PER YEAR to continue with American Idol, which arguably has the biggest viewing audience (and advertisers' dream) in the US. More than Wired.com enjoys, for sure!'
There have been a series of discussions around, not only free content, but (by association) free labour - be that through the efforts and diligence of the Open Source movement building free systems and web tools such as Linux, or the kind of crowdsourcing and group effort in evidence here on the Digital Revolution production.
@TaiwanChallenges offers 'a very interesting observation I came across recently is that extrinsic motivations (eg money) apparently lead to poorer outcomes than intrinsic motivations such as the joy of doing the task.'
Following up with Dan Pink's TED talk
on the problems of incentivised tasks.
Adding to Aleks' original thinking around the web's use of our data @TaiwanChallenges also offers:
'Most 'free' services are offered by people with something to sell, making use of their knowledge of how our minds work to change our behaviour. This much is verifiable fact. [...] we consent to be manipulated by people who want to redistribute wealth in their own favour, in exchange for services that are probably inferior to those that could be provided by by people who just want to make the world a better place
Very much in line with the issues around privacy, @TaiwanChallenges also shared his proposal for a Data Haven
to address the issue of identity and personal data being exploited - adding a layer of control (or at least choice) to the web user. What do you think about that idea?
Programme four - is the web changing us?
Programme four will introduce its themes next week, but as its main preoccupation lies with the effects the web is having upon human beings, these ideas are often touched upon throughout the discussions.
Programme four is indeed looking for UK schools that already connect with schools across the globe - preferably in South Korea or China - though @TaiwanChallenges may provide a link to Taiwanese schools for the programme.
Programme two - nations and the web
The programme two team are hoping to make contact with people who were principle disseminators of the information coming out of Iran via Twitter and/or blogs during the recent disputed elections. A request sent out on Twitter
met with some anxious queries as to our motives and the public request for this information.
So, with that clarified, we're still looking for people in the UK or US who were receiving and spreading further the news coming out of Iran at that time. As ever, you can contact us confidentially via our contact us form
(who, if we were giving out prizes for contributions, would definitely be a strong contender) suggested a Google Bomb
. This, I think, leaves us on similar ground to the ethical difficulties of propagating a lie online, and again, as @SheffTim points out
, it is something we could probably observe already in action online rather than instigate (@SheffTim also pointed us towards Google's most recent April Fool page
, which was good fun.)
We continue to look for ways to a) map the web, and b) visualise that map. If anyone has an idea as to how we could approach that, be it in strata (blogosphere, infosphere etc.) or another route, we'd be most grateful for a steer. Interesting ideas came from discussions about the web as an evolving, self-organising entity - which led me to considering visualising the web as an anatomy
rather than a geogrraphy - each user performing a variety of roles (Wikipedian deletionists
as white blood cells for instance), all making up and working as organs within the larger bodily whole of the web.
Then I had a cup of tea and tried to stop thinking about it...!
Next week: programme four's themes are introduced in greater detail; Baroness Susan Greenfield shares her concerns for our brains under the web's influence; Nicholas Carr offers his thoughts on the loss of the contemplative mind.
As ever - many thanks for all your interest and support.