What if they held a digital media revolution - and nobody came?
The BBC is having trouble finding citizens to attend a conference devoted to the exciting new world of Citizens Media.
It's a Beeb-sponsored day about the "democratization of the media", but despite a 50 quid bribe to attend - that's more than you get for appearing on Newsnight or Radio 4's Today program, and the kind of practice we thought had been outlawed in the 1832 Reform Act - no one seems to be interested.
Which has led to some frantic last-minute emails from BBC Innovation.
We're not quite sure what kind of citizen the BBC wants to attend. But the weird, trying-too-hard title - "Digital Assassins", and this this delicious questionnaire given to early responders may give you some idea.
Questionnaire for Digital Assassins
Senior media executives, journalists and managers will be getting together on May 3rd at a conference devoted to the democratisation of media. One of the key sessions of each day will be called "Digital Assassins"
The session aims to investigate the impact of new technologies on how audiences consume, find share and create news.
I would be very grateful if you could fill in the following short questionnaire for further information
[ Respondents are invited to tick Yes/No or add comments ]
1. I don't buy a newspaper
2. I use the internet for news more than any other sources
3. My main news source is Google News.
4. I have SkyPlus (or a similar device) and it has changed the way I watch TV
5. I have uploaded video to the internet
6. I have downloaded a legal or illegal TV programme, film or animation.
7. I always carry a camera (either separately or via my phone)
8. I keep a blog, upload photos and/or share video online.
Grammarians, look out. The subject lurches suddenly into the second person at this stage.
9. You spend "too much" time playing World of Warcraft
10. You have than one games console
In other words, the BBC wants as many people as it can find who play with gadgets, can't follow a linear narrative, don't have any friends, have a weird authority complex, and who would never listen or respect anything put out by the BBC in the first place.
The BBC frets that a third of Britons now "feel that the BBC does not make programmes for them", according to its own polling, and that "60 per cent of the 16 to 24 age group watch less than three hours of TV a week". But were these figures any different during, say, the Macmillan era when the target demographic spent happy Bank Holiday weekends knocking the crap out of each other in small seaside towns? Or when the only radio stations were "Home", "Light", and "Third"? We don't know, because no one asked. It's hard to think of a time when the BBC has been more pervasive.
So it's really a tribute to the moral fibre of the nation that such pleas to make it more inclusive - by making it more crap - have gone ignored. We may even consider suspending our campaign to reinstate Michael Fish (No! - ed). ®