Can you make a documentary series about the digital revolution online using revolutionary online techniques? Errr…..perhaps not. At Beeb Camp there was a fascinating presentation by a duo from a BBC project in production which aims to tell the history of the Internet. The Digital Revolution will be a four-part documentary series about our new bright shiny digital world. The producers want to make it using social media – Wikipaedia, Delicious etc They want to live the Digital Revolution itself: “we’re not starting the conversation we are joining it”.
They want to make it a multi platform experience with open source access to the research and the materials created. The technology team are aware that they might be making a promise they can’t fulfil. They may get far more interaction than they can handle. And they won’t be able to include everyone’s perspective. They know that at the end of the day they have to make a ‘tightly crafted programme’.
The tech team also have to convince the ‘linear’ production team that it won’t be a drain on their time, in other words, that the transaction costs are manageable.But as we are finding out, crowd-sourcing can become unmanageable, a cacophony of voices. You have to encourage public participation with a purpose and invest in the resources to make it happen.
And despite the revolutionary title, the BBC team are likely to come up with a sordid commercial obstacle. How can they put all the material online and make it available if it’s covered by precious international copyright or distribution deals?
It all sounds very complicated, but that doesn’t make it wrong to try.