Bill Thompson is a well-known technology critic and commentator on digital culture. A pioneer of new media in the UK, Bill was Internet ambassador for PIPEX in the early 1990s and founded The Guardian’s New Media Lab in 1995, setting up and editing the first Guardian website.

He has worked as a freelance journalist, author, public speaker, web developer, consultant and policy advisor. For many years he wrote a weekly column, Billboard, on the BBC News website, and he still appears regularly as a studio expert on the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Click.

He was a member of the Cambridge Film Trust until JUly 2011 and sits on the board of Writers’ Centre Norwich.


The biography

New media pioneer Bill Thompson is a journalist, commentator and technology critic based in Cambridge, England. He has been working in, on and around the Internet since 1984.

He contributes to other publications both on and off-line, including The Guardian and The New Statesman. He writes a monthly column for new net users for BBC WebWise, and a technology column for Focus magazine

Bill appears weekly on ‘Click‘ (formerly ‘Digital Planet’ and ‘Go Digital’) on the BBC World Service and occasionally on other BBC radio and television programmes.

Bill is the editor and systems administrator for the Working 4 an MP website

From 2001-2009 he was a visiting lecturer at City University where he teaches Online Journalism in the Journalism Department, and an external editor for openDemocracy.net. He was a founding trustee of the Cambridge Film Trust and a member of the board of Writers’ Centre Norwich

You can find him online, working in one of Cambridge’s many caf├ęs, or at the bar of the ICA. His email address is bill at andfinally dot com

A little history

(You can also read ‘My life as a new media dog’, a short biography.)

A former programmer, he was a senior manager for training company The Instruction Set before moving to PIPEX, Britain’s first commercial Internet Service Provider, in 1993. At PIPEX he set up the training division before becoming the company’s Internet ambassador.

In 1995 he established Guardian Newspapers’ New Media Lab and was head of new media during 1996, before leaving to pursue a freelance career. He was technology correspondent for BBC Radio 5’s ‘The Big Byte’ (1996-9) and Campaigns Editor for Internet Magazine (2001-2).

In the 1980’s he was chair of the Community Computing Network, a non-profit organisation aiming to extend the use of information and communication technologies within the voluntary and public sector. He was a member of the IBM-funded Social Inclusion in the Network Society (INSINC) working group.

He was an advisor to the Labour Party on its Internet policy and helped to write ‘Communicating Britain’s Future’ in 1995. He was technical director of Nexus, the virtual think tank, and hosted policy debates for the Prime Minister’s Office, the Arts Marketing Association and the Times Higher Education Supplement.

Bill has developed Websites and worked on Internet strategies for Comic Relief, Anne Campbell MP, the Regional Arts Boards of England, and ArtsProfessional magazine among others. He has written three books for children: Your Own Website (1999), Your Own Chat Room (2000) and Homework Busters (2000). In 2000 he wrote a pamphlet on ‘e-mutualism’ for the Co-operative Party.