“Chips with Everything” – more on Digital Revolution

Rushes sequences from interviews with web luminaries Howard Rheingold and Tim Berners Lee are among those now available for viewing and download on the Digital Revolution website.  It’s the latest development in what the BBC site describes as an “open and collaborative documentary looking at the way the web is changing our lives”.  The public are debating the issues, contributing ideas for storylines, and commenting on the emerging shape of the TV series that will be on BBC2 in the new year. The website has been buzzing with intense conversation ever since the project launched back in July.  It’s great to be able to see these rushes sequences at length rather than the inevitably short extracts that will end up in the cut programmes.  People can view, comment,  or edit the material under a one-off license.
Beyond the odd promotional clip, TV producers tend to be pretty nervous of letting material be previewed online. They can be worried the exposure will scupper interest in their linear output and awkward or rejecting of the idea of sharing what to date been very much an auteur project.  But opening up the process the way that Digital Revolution has is proving to be a grand exercise in community building in advance of the TV series. The internet is of course the perfect subject to approach in this way – as the BBC are trying to tell a story about the web platform and the demograph they need to engage with are available there. It wouldn’t work with every topic right now. Still, the approach is modelling a more open, dialogic form of TV making.
Digital Revolution is the working title of the series. The final name is of course being crowd sourced, and this has turned out to be an undertaking just made for twitter, a kind of 21st century parlour game, with tweets offering an array of more and less serious title ideas – “Chips with Everything”, “The Turing Stroud”, “Excess Babbage”…