It’s great to see that the mainstream audience is now showing enough interest in internet studies to warrant a BBC documentary series explaining the origins and implications of the world wide web.
The opening episode presents us with a well rounded selection of anecdotes and case studies leading up to where the mainstream internet is today. This is enhanced by a host of internet entrepreneurs and researchers voicing their comments at the appropriate moments to give the stories more depth. An example of these experts are Mark Zuckerberg – founder of facebook, Al Gore – Vice President and Stephen Fry. Now I like Stephen Fry as much as the next person but why next to other experts doesn’t he have a title, even ‘journalist’ would suffice but instead he is left as an eternally indefinable character.
The reports on Tim Berners-Lee were particularly interesting, especially the fact that he has never earned a penny directly as the creator of the World Wide Web when he could be an exceedingly rich man if he had chosen this route. This was cleverly juxtaposed with the back story of Bill Gates and how he began charging for software. Truth be told he came across as immoral and greedy.
The ending question was one of weather the internet was truly democratic or simply a new business model. Although the latter may be true a new form of ‘level playing field’ has undoubtedly been created.
I look forward to the rest of the series and recommend it for anyone who has any interest in the internet. So check it out on BBC iplayer.