Great comment on ReadWriteGov


Great comment left by Maureen Charles of Cambridgeshire County Council on the ReadWriteGov blog, acting as a real reminder of why I started arranging these events and the value they can have:

I was really impressed by the event in Peterborough. What resonated for me was all the ideas it gave for engaging young people. I couldn’t see straight away how to use them but the seeds were planted! After some creative thinking, I’m just now at the point where one idea is taking shape. Our participation worker who works with young people in care, has filmed them talking about their group “Just Us”. I’ve posted the video on “You Tube” and linked to it from the website. A start! Thank you.

No, Maureen, thank you.

2 screens = more work done?

I’ve just dug out an old 15″ flat screen monitor from a box and plugged it into my MacBook:

2 screens

The way I have it set up is to have email and twitter on the flatscreen, while having the actual work I am meant to be doing on the macbook screen. I’m finding it certainly helps my concentration to keep the comms stuff to one side!

Anyone else work with two (or more!) screens? How do you have yours set up?

Lots of new Voicebox content!

It’s good to see plenty of new content being added to the Voicebox blog – the home of the UK online centres and Citizens Online bid for the CLG digital mentor fund.

For example, Mike Amos-Simpson on ‘What is Open Collaboration?‘:

I find the idea of developing and running a programme in the open very attractive for lots of reasons. There’s a sense of it being more ‘honest’, there’s the opportunity that even if you’re not directly involved you can contribute, there’s a degree of accountability with people allowed to freely add their views, and of course there’s the potential to bring on board a far wider range of expertise than you could with a traditional closed collaboration.

And Gail Bradbrook on ‘Research and Mapping Objectives‘:

I think we need to develop an open and flowing process, so that we get as much quality information as possible to understand the types of projects that exist, why they exist (what drives them) and what the benefits are as well as disadvantages in the process, in particular focused on sustainability. What we can learn that is good for training others and what training needs may exist. What else do people think we need to find out?

If you would like to add your voice to the, er, box then just get in touch with!

New media for a new generation

I spent a very enjoyable day today at an event co-organised by Opportunity Links and 4Children. It was a good chance to listen to some interesting and challenging content about the social web and what young people are actually doing online.

It was also a great chance to meet up some some pals, like Mark Cheverton, Steven Flowers and Tim Davies. Tim was running his social networking game, using his printed cards. It was excellent – focusing in on one particularly relevant technology for youth workers.

It seems that the area of youth work and the web is a rather complicated one, but it still should be relatively straightforward so long as everyone is sensible about it. Interesting to hear that the biggest problem still facing most youth workers wanting to get involved in the social web is having no access to social networking sites at work!

The human intranet

Andy Gibson, one of the chaps behind School of Everything, Mind Apples and his own consultancy business Sociability, made a couple of cracking presentations last Monday at the NCVO Information Management event.

Sadly I didn’t get to see either as I was busy playing a game of my own, but Andy has generously shared his slides from the day using Slideshare:

The Human Intranet

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: km sociability)

3 mobile broadband sucks for PAYG mac users

I have a 3 mobile broadband dongle, which I bought a ear or so ago just before this stuff started to get cheap 🙁 It’s a pay-as-you-go job, because up till now I haven’t used it on that regular a basis – but it is handy to have now and again.

I tend to just pop into a mobile phone shop when I need to buy a topup for it, which – in the past – I would simply add to my account my visiting 3’s website. It was easy enough.

However, last night when I went to perform the top-up, I couldn’t. The link to do this just wasn’t there anymore. Fair enough, I thought, the site has been redesigned and the link must be somewhere else. Checking the help pages on the 3 site didn’t help either, as they told me to follow the old procedure.

I decided to ring support.

ME: Hello. I want to top up my pay as you go mobile broadband thing but your site won’t let me.

3: Oh. Have you tried following the instructions on the help page?

ME: Yes. It tells me to click a link that isn’t there.

3: Oh yes, we have upgraded the My3 site…

ME: But not upgraded the documentation.

3: Er, no. Apologies for that. To top up you just need to login to your My3 account online.

ME: I don’t have a My3 account.

3: To sign up, you just need to enter a few details on the My3 site. You’ll then get a text telling you your password.

ME: How would I receive a text on a USB modem?

3: Oh. Er, you know the 3 icon you have on your desktop, which you click to use the internet?

ME: No.

3: Which version of Windows are you using?

ME: I’m not, I’m using a Mac.

3: I’ll just put you on hold for a moment [pause] Can you put your modem’s sim card into a 3 mobile phone to receive the text?

ME: No, I don’t have a 3 mobile phone.

3: Do any of your friends or family have one you could borrow?

ME: What?

3: OK. I can apply the top up to your account over the phone.

ME: Fine. But, just to be clear, at the moment, there is no way for a 3 PAYG mobile broadband top up to be made for Mac users?

3: That is currently the situation, yes.

ME: Bloody marvellous.

[sound of phone being hung up, picked up again and a number being dialled]

ME: Hello, Vodafone?

Collaborating on Digital Mentors with Voicebox

I am enjoying helping with the Voicebox bid for the CLG digital mentor project: those involved like Helen, Anne and Ben from UK online centres are so enthusiastic and eager for the open, collaborative approach they are taking to succeed.

Here’s a video of Helen Milner talking about the Voicebox bid:

As part of the tendering process, all interested parties had to submit an expression of their interest to CLG to advance to the next stage. Voicebox has done just that, and what’s more, they have posted the content of their EoI on their blog! Great work!

Also on the blog, Voicebox are keen for people to post their thoughts on digital mentoring, whether in their big picture thread, or by adding thoughts about any of the work packages that have been identified so far. This can be done by leaving comments on existing posts – which quite a few people have started to do already – or by contacting the team using to write a whole new post.

Here’s a second video, which features, from left to right, Paul Henderson of Ruralnet, me, and Nick Booth. We’re talking somewhat disruptively about whether digital mentors would be better off without CLGs money… it’s all David Wilcox‘s fault, who was encouraging us to be naughty.

Anyway, part of the reason I included this video is for the benefit of readers of this blog who haven’t met me yet and who assume I am significantly older than I am. It happens a lot.

Sign up, sign up: as if you have a choice

A little while ago I threatened to start an email newsletter service. Well, I am finally getting to grips with it.

My newsletter will be a monthly affair, providing useful hints, tips and links about digital participation, with the usual social media / web 2.0 slant to things. It won’t be the same stuff as I publish here, so even subscribers to the blog should find some value.

I’m really hoping though that I might be able to reach a few people who don’t really see themselves as RSS junkies or blog readers, but for whom an email every four weeks or so is just enough.

So do visit my newsletter page to fill in the form and sign up, and pass it on to anyone who you think might be interested!

Social Media game at NCVO

I had a fun day today at NCVO running a couple of workshops involving the social media game, a great way to put tools into some organisational context.

A few participants asked where they could get a copy of the cards. The answer is here – there is a PDF to download, print out, cut up, stick together and then laminate.

Tim has other ideas, of course.

BarcampUKGovWeb is back, back, baaaaack!

Tom Watson points us all to a new wiki for getting the next barcamp for UK (and elsewhere) government webbies going.

Sign up and start thinking about you could present about! I have already put down that I’m interested in running a social media surgery which worked so well at the UK Youth event in September, and which is being pioneered amongst the blogging community in Birmingham.

For a flavour of what went on last year, check out the aggregated stuff on the pageflake. For discussion of the event, last year’s Google Group is being used again.

I am really happy to promote and support this event as much as I possibly can – last year’s event had a tremendous effect on me, in the friendships I made and the developments I my career. It’s an easy and maybe glib-sounding thing to say, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without the Barcamp, and I encourage everyone to make as much of it as they can this time around!

Jeremy has now blogged it too.