Common User

Me rambling on.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Creative Archive Placements

My colleagues in the Creative Archive team have just announced two 4 month placements (funded by Arts Council England and hosted by the BBC). An advert turned up in the Guardian (pdf) on Monday for artists who
will have the opportunity to develop their professional career by undertaking research and producing new art works that creatively reuse sound and television materials from the BBC Archives. The placements offer specialist support and hosting by the BBC. Each of the successful artists will be eligible for a bursary of £10,000.

There are 2 placements. One for Unlimited Distribution and one for Unrestricted Access.
Basically you will get the chance to play about with the BBC archive. Leave the Likely Lads alone please kids.

Ah. So thats why I work for the BBC.

Norman Lebrecht, Beethoven and culture at the BBC

Norman Lebrecht, in his weekly Evening Standard column reviews and analyses the recent groundbreaking experiment by my colleagues in BBC Radio and Music to offer internet downloads of Bach recordings alongside the recent Radio 3 Bach season. Although on the surface it looked merely an extension of broadcasting, the bold move to experiment with DRM free downloads and sharing resulted in over a million requests across the week. Taken completely by surprise (it was only meant to be a tiny add on to the week's events) the initiative had at a stroke demonstrated a demand/market for legal (free) classical MP3s (recorded in this case by one of the BBC's licence fee funded orchestras).

Lebrecht gives an update on figures he's had access to and although plagued with an almost after the fact deployment of my most hated phrase used by critics of the BBC "dumbed down", its such a stunning and passionate bit of rhetoric about my employers that I've (temporarily at least) published the full text of the article. (Its not currently available on either or

The Beeb needs more than Bach
The full text of Norman Lebrecht’s Evening Standard Column (Oct 19th)

(btw: I was not involved in this BBC project and views expressed here are my own not my employers).

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Its all open source round our way

Tim O Reilly came to visit the BBC on Thursday and despite that, still had the energy to go Geek Dinnering in the evening. (with what it looked like more of the BBC!) . His catchphrase "What are you doing to harness the collective intelligence of your users ?" is still ringing in my ears.

Now reading Mr Hughtrain this morning i came across this. Up til now I haven't been that interested in his wine blog PR "fuss" . Giving away samples, even via blogs, is hardly worth getting worked up about. However the classic suit blog is fascinating stuff, even though I could never afford them, and I do love his business card doodles. Today he reveals that he has persuaded his poor film director pal (3 months away before) the filming of his next movie is due to start) to upload the script of the film and embrace the feedback loop.

The interesting thing for me is we're not just trying to use blogs to pimp a movie. We're trying to use blogs to actually help the making of a movie. Not only that, this isn't a low-budget indie art-school project. This is a commercial, mainstream movie from an established director.

He's quite an obscure director to be honest but that isn't the point. This is obvious obvious stuff and clearly Hugh and his pal can now look Tim O Reilly in the face and give him the right answer to his question and already the comments are coming in. Open sourcing scripts on the internet for users to review, annotate and comment. Thats not going to work is it.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Jeff Jarvis - on the button

Ross Mayfield said exactly the same thing when I was at oursocialworld a few weeks back and now thankfully Jeff Jarvis has got up and tried to deliver a few home truths to big media at Web 2.0.

Yesterday, I’d had it with hearing content moguls talk about how all the value is in content and how they plan to use “user-generated content.” That means means they’re using users. That’s us.

So I got to the mic and said what many have said on blogs: that the phrase “user-generated content” makes our spines twist. We call it sharing. We call it conversation. They call it content. And they call us users.

It’s made of people.

User generated content. A tough one because I work somewhere where I hear and can read this phrase from colleagues and exectives every single day. But he's right and its good to hear someone re-iterate that actually its about sharing and we're all choosy about who we we'll share our stuff with. Mind you as he was having a go at Yahoo! that examples a bit flaky. But I'm with you Jarvis!