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BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 22 July 2005, 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK
Are you a digital citizen?
Three women with mp3 players
Has the digital age unleashed your creativity?

All this week the BBC News website is speaking to people who have had their creativity transformed by digital technology.

We will be talking to a film-maker, a podcaster, digital DJs, a blogger and a digital activist.

We want to hear about your digital life and how you use technology.

Are you blogging, or do you read any blogs? Are you posting your photographs online? Have you ever watched a fan film? Do you listen to or even record your own podcasts? Has your MP3 player changed the way you listen to music?

Click to read your views about:


Blogs are the vulgar baroque flourish on the classical frieze of literary tradition.
LJ, Cambridge, UK

I am a digital gal' through and through, i have so many blogs, i've lost count. I also design web pages and even have my own site. The digital world is definitely for me!
Kate Walker, Newcastle, United Kingdom

I've enjoyed "unleashing my creativity" by publishing a website all about the iPod in the UK (http://www.ipod.org.uk) and another blog which allows people to upload Google Maps views of the UK (http://www.googlesightseeing.co.uk). The internet means people no longer have to rely on the centralised output of a few professional publishers, but can now "do their own thing".
Andrew Thomas, Swansea, Wales

I'm definitely a digital citizen. I live on the Internet. I've had a web site for over 10 years. I've had a blog for a year, and I've done some of my own podcasts. the Internet is a great tool for giving everyone the chance to participate in making information and opinion available.
OJB, Dunedin, New Zealand

I tend to write my own blog, but read few others. It gives me a voice. I stopped for a few months but I missed it. http://www.invervar.org/blog
Colin Wilson, Glen Lyon, Highland Perthshire

I used to Blog and then I became the first person in the UK to be dismissed for my Blog (JGRAM WORLD). There is a lot of peril attached to this brave new world of digital freedom; not least with other areas infringing copyright laws. It is fun but flawed
Jason, Colchester

I disagree that blogs are "pathetic", the desire to write is long standing - ask George Orwell (or read his "Why I Write" essay) which I've adapted for blogging. http://www.gordonmclean.co.uk/
Gordon McLean, Hamilton, Scotland

Blogging is not a revolution. It is a pan-generation group of people clearing its collective throat...announcing that it has a voice - regardless of how it chooses to use it.
Stuart, New York City, USA

There seems to be a gap between blogging and the real world still, where even 800,000 visits doesn't attract these companies interest. However a magazine would love that type of exposure. Over at www.themovieblog.com we've expanded into podcasting, and now were even doing video blogging, and that's starting to prove really popular.
Richard Brunton, Edinburgh, Scotland

It is interesting to read some of the anti-blogging comments on here. I have a blog. It simply exists and I write on it every day. I force nobody to read it. Those that do, I presume, enjoy it. I started my blog http://www.ashbooks.co.uk/weblog/index.php as a way of publicising and helping to sell in the rest of the world a book I had just had published in Ireland. However, I quickly learned that when I wrote about the book, I bored people to death, and when I wrote what someone else here called "mundane drivel" about my life, people wanted to read. The best blogs, in my opinion, are about the real lives of real people, and as such are far more entertaining than a ghost-written autobiography of a minor soap star, and yet those seem to sell in the millions! In the publishing industry, the publishers get to choose what you get to read, but online you get to choose for yourself. What could be wrong with that?
Alan Sharp, Edinburgh, Midlothian

For those not blogging and who are on her complaining about it - try it sometime you might just like it ! http://thefunkycowboy.blog-city.com
Terry Hebert, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

I read a variety of blogs, all very well written. There are comments and suggestions and reviews. they are a reflection of modern life - people I could not hope to meet in my normal day to day existance. They broaden my horizons and I love them for it!
Alex, London

Living in Guyana, St. America, I often feel cut off from the rest of the world. Blogging puts me in touch with folks from here to down under! And I can tell people about my country too, share stories, tears, laughter, ideas, literature. Yay for Blogalisation! http://sapodilla.blogspot.com
guyana-gyal, Georgetown, Guyana

For people in the free world, blogging is just an interesting pastime however for those who live in countries with oppressive governments who stifle the usual channels for free speech, blogging is a lifeline and a vital tool for expression, providing hope for a freer future. That alone makes it worth supporting.
Andrew Bluemel, Norwich, UK

Blogging is not only dangerous, it is stupid. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor and putting all your thoughts out there in some blog could land you in trouble with family, friends, work or worse. Did it occur to any of these bloggers that no one really cares about your thoughts and opinions? The harsh truth is that not every thought that pops into someone's head is worth sharing.
Steph, Cleveland, Ohio USA

I blog and read others' blogs at www.livejournal.com; I write original fiction and post it at www.fictionpress.com so that others can read it and give me comments and criticism.
Kelly, Scotland

Blogs are pathetic - suddenly every person on the planet has an opinion that just has to be heard. Seriously though, technology has advanced us in so many ways for our personal lives and storing our memories and I love that the children being born today will have crisp, reliable, colour and surround sound video to watch in the future. But let's not waste our technology and bandwidth on junk.
Paul Charters, Sutton, UK

It's funny to see some people getting all uppity about blogging, podcasting, etc and whether they're new or not, or faddish or not, sad or not... we who blog, blog, those who don't, don't. Nothing more to it.

There is good and there is bad and, naturally, the best and most interesting stuff rises to the top and stays.

Anyway, through my blog, I have met new friends from all over the world and some very close-by. I get work and can express myself in words and pictures in a form that no-one would have hired me to do, nor would it necessarily work very well on paper. And no one has to pay me for it or kill a tree. unkemptwomen.blogspot.com
Vitriolica Webb, Portugal

I started a photo/observations (travel/food/life in general) blog earlier this year (http://www.thevaportrail.com). I find it a great way to share to anyone who might be interested.
David Kaufman, Oak Hill, Virginia, United States

I live in a log cabin seven miles from the nearest town. From here, I have published a free high-quality electronic magazine for nine years - world-class writing and photography - that is now read by more than 50,000 people a month from all over the world. No reader gets charged, no contributor gets paid. The Log Cabin Chronicles - www.tomifobia.com Stop by for a visit - it'll be worth your time.
John Mahoney, Ayers Cliff, Quebec, Canada

Bloggers are no better than those bloody awful senders of Round Robin Christmans letters. Self centred and arrogant. Greedy for more than 15 minutes of fame.
Josephine Bennington,

You need balance. I blog down a huge, fat broadband pipe. I now listen only to MP3 music. My photography, like my TV viewing, is entirely digital. Virtually everybody I know can be contacted electronically, if I wanted to. The trick, however, is to know where the OFF button is, to go out and be normal every once in a while. The technology can be dehumanising - what is the point of blogging if you have nothing worthwhile to write about?
Alistair Coleman, Weymouth, UK

I am very much a digital citizen. I have a blog and amobile blog (Photo Blog) both of which I can access and update from my Cellular Phone via GPRS e-mail. The technology is great the only thing that is truely inhibiting it is the cost of data. Vodafone charge 2.50 per megabyte of data sent by GPRS. This is very expensive and needs to come down a lot.
Stephen Mortimer, Reading, UK

Here's the link to my travel blog: http://stevegoestravelling.blogspot.com
Stephen Little, Eastbourne East sussex

At almost 60 years old, I think I can probably claim to be the oldest long-term blogger in Britain. Been writing online since 1997, blogging in its present form since early 2001. The site is Guardian recommended, BBC Scotland listed. Naked Blog is a bedrock of British personal blogging. www.nakedblog.com and photos at www.flickr.com/photos/petetheteach
Peter Russell, Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland

Perhaps I am a dinosaur, but I regard such things as gimmicks. I always wonder what is the next fad once people get fed up?
Graham, Cobham UK

Blogs: Badly written, mundane drivel from under-informed, over-opinionated people. All the digital revolution has achieved is to give a platform to the "me, me, me" generation. It has given the pub boor a megaphone.
Stuart, UK

Blogging has given rural North West Norfolk a voice!!! Over 10,000 people a month come to jonnybillericay.blogspot.com which is pretty bizarre when you come to think about it. The freaks.
JonnyB, Norfolk

Blogs and shared webspaces have given me the opportunity to keep in touch with all my family and friends which snail mail would have rendered impossible, whilst the invention of MSN Messenger, ICQ have allowed me to meet new people in a safe and friendly way; some of my friends spend more time online than next to their telephone!
Eugene, Bath, UK

I started writing web pages back in 1991, so it has been fascinating watching the rest of the world catching up! Main websites are http://www.medals.org.uk/ and http://www.rpg-resource.org.uk - both reflecting my passionate interests. But I don't write about me.
Megan, Cheshire UK

It's total hype. As for 'blogging' & 'blogs'? I'm a qualified website designer working in the industry, and I hadn't heard of them till the BBC started getting 'trendy' and using the term! As for film making, I have a project in pipeline right now...
WD, Yorkshire, UK

So many ways to communicate - so little real communication going on! We should all spend more time on the content of what we are saying to each other, rather than the means.
Miranda Kemp, England

I have my own blog (http://eric.bagnall.co.uk) and I'm only 17 months old! My friends and family who live a long way away can keep in touch and see what I've been up to lately.
Eric Bagnall, UK

I have never blogged. I use a mobile phone for phone calls. If I need to take pictures, I have a perfectly acceptable digital camera. I leave films to the experts. I do not own an MP3 player. Luddite? Possibly. But I have worked in IT for 20 years, and run my own web design company. We concentrate on communication, and leave the toys to the children.
Peter Connolly, England


I tried out some of the top podcasts mentioned on the BBC website and I found them all to consist of inane drivel. Like the old pirate radio shows without the music. To anyone who listens to this rubbish I say - get a life.
ali, london uk

Hello there, I'm one of the UK's longest running podcasts. I'm a 37 year old lawyer and broadcast as 'podcastpaul'. I'm the chap organising the Podcast conference in London, I'm also a keen participator of the www.britcatser.com site. I talk about news and current affairs, I also talk about law in plain English and look at the light hearted side of life too through the world journals. I have a great following of people from all over te world, mainily the US. I'm told the BBC are coming to the conference... great! My site can be found at www.podcastpaul.com. My journal is at www.ivejournal.com/users/englishpaul and the Britcaster site can be found at www.britcaster.com. The podcasting conference site is at www.podcastconuk.com
pau lnicholls, Birmingham

Firstly, podcasts aren't radio. Radio is broadcast/push technology, podcast is pull technology. Shows like the tartanpodcast are an extension of the democracy which is the web. The technology has been around for ages, but only previously been usd to any effect on CDROM (as disc-casts?)
Julian Procter, Banbury, England

A few weeks ago I stumbled across the world of podcasting, which I'd never even heard before. Now the tartanpodcast (www.tartanpodcast.com) is a firm favourite. Mark plays independent scottish music. It is all stuff I would never otherwise have heard, and very high quality. This and other podcasts have completely changed my listening habits. You don't even need an ipod! I am also planning to launch my own website, which will contain words, pictures and audio. This will not be a music podcast, and is still a work in progress. Time will tell whether this will unleash my creativity!
Gabor Kovacs, Southampton uk

I love the rawness and the individuality of podcasting, but worry that Apple seems to be trying to take control of it by 'censoring' what it has available on iTunes. Best to go out and find the 'real' non-commercial podcasts via www.podcastalley.com. My faves at the moment are the Tartan Podcast (championing new Scottish bands) at tartanpodcast.libsyn.com and topofthepods.com, with Jon and Rob's hilarious top ten lists. These shows beat the cheesy-radio-dj-pushing-established-acts types hands-down.
Grant, Edinburgh, Scotland

As a band that are striking out for free music, we have embraced the digital life with our own humourous brand of podcasts, along with our free music, free membership, and free fun ! http://www.mrsmithmusic.com
Dirkus M, Angmering, West Sussex

The current digital revolution has changed the way in which we communicate with each other, bringing it to a more open level. Even a couple of years ago, musicians and bands who weren't signed up to one of the big labels didn't get much press or a fanbase, but now with podcasting this has leveled the playing field. I run my own podcast (http://tripcast.libsyn.com) and now if I hear an unsigned band I like, either locally or from their MP3's avalible on the web, I can play their music to a whole new audience. I am constantly recieving e-mails from people thanking me for introducing them to a band that I have played. I do think podcasting will change the way we listen and buy music.
Tane Piper, Edinburgh, UK

All of this is nothing but hype. "Podcasting", or the act of recording a digital audio file and posting it on the internet has been around for 10 years, "blogging" or posting stuff on the internet has been possible since the internet was invented and digitals cameras have been around since the ealy nineties. This so called digital age happened years ago. Why have we not been seeing any new technology for the past 10 years?
Scott, Edinburgh

Podcasting is great, I subscribe to several and listen to them regularly on my iPod. Contrary to popular belief not all podcasts are amateur, in fact the BBC have several podcasts, as do other professional broadcasters. However, the most interesting (and uncensored) podcasts are the indie ones. No meddling management to tell them to watch what they say, who not to offend.
Phil, Newcastle, UK

I use an MP3 player on the bus because it's smaller than a CD player but I still don't understand why a phone needs a camera! As for all this pod-blogging - sorry, I have a life.
Brian, Edinburgh

I must be a Luddite. I still have a dial-up modem, do not own an mp3 player nor have a digital camera. I don't even know what a 'blogger' is, so I can't post any links. A podcast could be anything to me. Do I need some education? Or am I just too old?
Tom, Ipswich, UK


I'm a demi-digital citizen. Ever since my partner and I had a kiddie (7 months ago) my iPod has had little use. I see all this potentially exiting stuff going on with podcasts and blogs and think how do people find the time to do or listen to it? Digital music is something I'm into big time (well it's my job...) but there are times when software problems drive me to distraction and simply picking up and playing acoustic instrument seems to be so much more direct and rewarding.
Kember, Whitstable, UK

I DJ mixing MP3s using specialist software - This is just because of theres no need to carry a pair of technics 1210s around with a few hundred 12" vinyls... Still prefer the analogue sound -it has more warmth.
andy, uk

The Digital Era has certainly been allowing me to express my creativity in some fantastic ways. Not only can I create my own high quality music productions, using an audio suite small enough to fit in a bedroom cupboard, but I can then download them onto my iPod or CD and take it to a club where the DJ can play it in pefect high quality digital audio. Here's to the 21st Century!
Gadget, London, UK

I use a lot of digital materials. I have an Ipod which has hundreds of songs that I listen to very often. I also have a mobile phone with a camera which has very good quality. I find MP3 players very good in some way because there are varieties of music you can download at a small price unlike the olden days where we waste a lot of money to not only buy CDs but have to put up with some tracks we don't want to listen to. I, however do not blog. I chat to my friends online and by text messages (on the mobile phone) but not blog. Let's face it. Everyone will become a digital citizen (Even the Amish, possibly) whether we like it or not. That is the reality.
Y.W. Kwon, Auckland, New Zealand


My photo blog focusing on weekly documentary pics from London - http://www.bhalpin.com
brian, London

A little talked of benefit of digital photography is that it negates the need for the damaging chemicals which are used with conventional film processing. Added to that the tremendous quality, capacity, and convenience of modern digital cameras and it can finally be said that the era of film is over. Long live the revolution!
Phil, Newcastle, UK

I have photos of my great great grandfathers taken over 100 years ago. How many digital photos and blogs will survive even a change of internet service provider? How many record collections will survive the loss of a hard-drive? This message will last a mere few hours if it is lucky enough to get published.
Steve, Exeter

When digital camera first launch, I bought a SLR digital camera and thought "wow". It definitely helps in my work. At the same time it make me "lazy". I find myself more daring, more creative and careful when I am using a film camera because I think more. While using digital camera, I am more prone to telling myself if I I dont like the results, I just have to delete. As a result of it, I am in some ways reducing my creativity and thinking skills. To overcome this problem, I treat my digital camera as a film camera, allowing myself certain number of shots and allow no margin of laziness. I cannot deny having digital technology, it did improve and alter the way I do things.
Christina Spybey, London, UK

Darren from Dudley claims "the eye doesn't see in pixels". What nonsense - the rods and cones on my retinas function in a similar way to a digital camera, and very differently from analogue film.
Andrew Smith, Epsom, UK

Buying a digital camera has re-sparked my interest in photography. I can now take as many photos as I like, print the good ones cheaply, post all of them to my website with comments on why I took them and to discussion forums for critique and keep an indexed archive of every photo on my computer and have instant access to them. It's brilliant!
Jonathan Lovatt, Norwich, UK

Even before I married someone from Japan, I was pretty much embracing the digital revolution. I am a photographer and designer and spent 12 years in the music business, so practically every area of my life has been touched by technology. It's also a lifeline for my wife to keep in touch with her family back in Japan. Consequently our two kids have had their pics on the web ever since they were born, so relatives in Japan could see them.... they'll probably both sue us later in their lives, for having their pictures globally broadcast ! :-) Find our kids online at www.joe-kenta.co.uk
Alfie, Monmouth, Wales

Give me traditional camera film and day. The eye doesn't see in pixels! And digital text isn't a patch on Ceefax!
Darren, Dudley UK

I keep well away from all these technological gadgets, they are overpriced and outdate very quickly.
Richard, London, UK


Over the last 5 years I have collected about 30,000 pictures and short videos from over 40 countries around the globe. Without digital technology & portability this would have been impossible. Being a digital citizen is no longer a matter of choice, its necessity! Best! Shashank.
Shashank Kansal, London, UK

When blogging evolves to be a truly collaborative platform then you'll see a genuine step (or two) changef in the way brands interact with consumers. In the meantime, whether you think it's a waste of time or not is irrelevant, bloggers, podcasters and all those others out there are being creative. That's something that seems absent in most schools.
Dennis Howlett, Benitachell, Spain

Since retiring nine years ago I have taken up watercolour painting. For the past five years I have been an active member of a worldwide artists community on the internet (www.wetcanvas.com) which has over 63,000 artist members of all abilities working in all mediums. The free site allows members to post their work and obtain advice and reactions from fellow members. There are also extensive tutorials and over 47,000 reference photographs submitted by members. Without the internet this would not have been possible.
Doug Elliot, Ormskirk, UK

Like many others I originally used the internet as a way to showcase my writing but it's allowed me to do so much more... I put my horror novel Autumn.

With an Autumn screenplay almost complete I'm looking forward to seeing how far I can take this 'do-it-yourself' theme!
David Moody, Halesowen, UK

Digital technology is not going to make you happier nor sadder; it just helps you do thing you want to do...like a hammer or any other tool.
Aristides Garcia, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

I never regarded myself as particularly artistic, but since acquiring state of the art graphics software (when I was 55) I have discovered an urge for graphic design. I love it, it is so easy to correct mistakes and experiment. The only downside is that the flexibility makes it difficult to know when to stop. Am I any good? Well people pay me to design things, so I must be doing something right. Finally, and I've tried them all, the best graphic design software is British!
Tom, UK

I have to admit that I don't have the faintest idea what this debate is about. ...And No, I don't spend my time in the pub.
Dave, Sheffield, UK

With my 2.2mbps broadband, music and films are now all delivered to my door, via the web. I don't have a TV or a stereo, and rarely buy a newspaper. I bank online, manage my household bills online and shop online. I found my job online and to be honest, without my broadband connction, I'd be a lost cause. Don't like blogs and chat rooms, I don't own ipods and all that rubbish and I've still got time for walks, the cats and BBQs, work permitting.
Jennifer Hynes, Plymouth, UK

I embrace and look forward to each new development in digital technology as it makes life easier and more entertaining. I share photos with friends and family on my web site and take my entire music collection everywhere I go - from the car to the office to holiday. I burn home movies on DVD and videoconference with my family in UK.
Julian Hudson, Hong Kong

I have a Windows Media Center PC on which I record TV shows and movies. I have two Media Center extenders that allow me to watch what I've recorded around the house, they also allow me to play digital music that I have downloaded from the Yahoo music service. I synchronize Yahoo music and recorded TV shows to my Windows SmartPhone for listening\watching on public transport. I have a 1GB mini-SD card in the phone to store all of the content. The Windows SmartPhone also synchronizes with my corporate e-mail and has some pretty cool camera\video features. I think that makes me digital.
Oliver Richardson, Brit in USA

I've got a computer science degree, I'm an electronic engineer, I built my own "Tivo", I have a digital camera, mp3 player, PDA, I had a "blog" 10 years ago, but I still don't understand why my phone needs to do anything aside from make phone calls and send text messages.
Paul Weaver, Twyford, Berks

This is a whole new creative and expressive medium - not film, not literature, not art but something that synthesises all of them. It's writing that includes graphics, animation (animated poetry is FAB!), sound and interactivity. Even school kids can create their own interactive adventures with digital technology.
Helen Whitehead, Nottingham

The attitude of "I have a life" is pathetic - presumably by that they mean they spend all their time in the pub. Well, you know what? The various technologies discussed here take creativity away from big business and put it in the hands of the end user. I'd much rather create something than be a pint-drinking-"I have a life"-sloth.
Danuiel Fawcett, London, UK

We're now overloaded with gadgets that do far too much. I say we campaign for the return of the rotary dial on the telephone - mobiles too!
Debbie K, UK

I guess I was creative before the invention of mp3 player or the digital camera, but when the first mp3 came I knew it was made for me. All these digital gadgets have made my life much faster, and you can be creative with immediate results, without having to go through long production processes.
Ed Karten, London, UK

Digital technology is here to stay; at least for the next century or so. Every intelligent person has to move with the technological wave and get to grips with the latest inventions. We live in this world once and we should know what is on offer and make intelligent choices. Coming to grips with the new tecnology is a challenge which should not be passed. One can always revisit the old technology when one is going down memory lane with one's children.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium

I grew up in a city and am now away from it. In the countryside in Afghanistan my mp3 player, laptop and cameras are my life. I am updated about the world everytime I visit bbcnews.com and keep my own homepage. You see, i can't live without these
Hadi Zaheer, Bamiyan, Afghanistan


Shooting starts today for Fiddler's Walk (Ballykissangel meets Bridget Jones) which we wanted to shoot on 35mm film but could just not afford, however with affordable HDV technology we are currently producing a 90 min feature film with high production values on a shoestring! View the trailer at: http://www.onemediator.com/pages/news.htm
jeff marshall, Armagh, N Ireland

I have created my own animated series inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The story follows two vampires and a girl in their quest to find another girl called Sylvia. Their adventure leads them to uncover a plot to destroy the world. I have also made a number of other films, including a Star Wars fanfilm that has hollywood actors providing voice overs. Consanguinity can be found here: http://www.das-entertainment.com/vampire/ and the starwars film can be found here: http://www.das-entertainment.com/dl_engine/index.php?subcat14
Damien Valentine, near Bath

I created an event which has created over 600 short films in 4 years from london Berlin Paris Bulgaria and this years cannes film festival the event is called the 24 hour film challenge visit http://www.oddballchallenge.com for links to all my events the event has inspired over 10,000 digital film makers our next one is the Horror 24 hour film challenge in Oct 2005
johnnie oddball, London

I've been doing this for years: I have an online journal of my filmmaking experiences which doubles up as a learning resource. It shows what it is really like to be an average joe aspiring to make great movies and try to break through into the industry: www.makingthefilm.com
Michael Bartlett, Leeds, UK

Check out Chalkhill Lives, a broadband Internet soap opera written and acted by locals of all ages at www.chalkhill-lives.co.uk
Steven Surridge, Portsmouth UK

Over fifty years ago the writer, filmmaker, poet Jean Cocteau said that film will become an artform only when its materials are as cheap as pen and paper. Thanks to digital technology, that day is upon us. Now there is no need for Hollywood to say one's offerings are good or bad. This is the dawning of the age of the creative imagination for everyone.
Lewis Umbrellahem, Laguna Beach, CA, USA

We've created an online series based on the original Star Trek at www.newvoyages.com. To date, we've had over 22 million downloads of our two original episodes.
Jack Marshall, Washington D.C.

Do digital people need old Hollywood any more? We can now make our own movies from the scripting to the end product. And many of us have new ideas unlike Hollywood which is dying of boredom. So people get out and create.
Bumble, Dartford, Kent

The internet and the availability of cheap technology were key to the making of my own fan films - a Star Wars film made to celebrate a friend's wedding, the world's first Buffy fan film, and an ongoing Doctor Who spoof project. Not only did I edit and create the special effects on my home computer, but I also tracked down cast and crew via message boards and online forums.
Henry Burrows, Farnham, UK

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