What’s the difference between the common platform and the web?

James Cherkoff wonders (in a comment) if my common platform isn’t really just… well… the web. It’s a good question because the web, of course, is the mother-and-father of all platforms, a place with such a richness of tools and outlets that it might seem as if it has no need of an additional layer like a common platform. But I think the answer to James’ question really is ‘no’.

The Common Platform (see, it’s already acquired a ‘The’ and Capital Letters like it’s a real thing!) is a designed overlay for the web, an elaboration. The sort of secondary functionality that all platforms sooner-or-later acquire. That’s not to say that it’s separate from or outside the web proper (not a walled garden or a locked-down proprietary thing). In fact it’s strength will lie in the fact that it is profoundly of the web.

Trying to be as ‘web-like’ as possible here I can imagine a common platform, at its simplest, as barely more than a commissioning model plus a tag-cloud. At its largest and most monolithic… It shouldn’t really be large or monolithic.

Expanding on this slightly, the Common Platform should be an organisational device plus some commissioning logic plus some kind of resource discovery gubbins and a wafer of UI to point all the different stakeholders at what they need. Bob’s Your Uncle. Job done. Public service media transformed. Next!


  1. And can you elaborate ‘common’? Common values? Common language? Is this something that is UK-centric or more global?

    And common things (like the roads or parks) usually have some sort of entity that grants access to the commons and describes what can and cannot be done — norms-creation. Would that role exist with the Common Platform and who would serve in that role?

    (do we not use words like governments or rules?)

    Is there another adjective that better describes this platform other than ‘common’?


  2. I guess ‘public’ would do it. I think you’re making an interesting point but that it might be a bit abstract. In any modern state there’s always going to be some sovereign body or other granting rights and access. There’s no point worrying about which one it is. In this case more interesting questions would be “how are we going to fund it?” or “will it be operated by the BBC?” or “which one of Ofcom’s options for public service media is this one?” or even “is this what Channel 4 have in mind with 4IP?”

  3. Totally agree with the concept of another layer over the web. It is after all layers all the way down. Mostly technological protocols. But as the web is an increasingly a burgeoning social platform. I reckon the next really important layer will mediate sociological protocols. And these protocols will enable the natural emergence of that sense of social privacy, reputation, identity and trust we are used to experience in our normal everyday real life interactions.

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