Getting online by sharing memories in Lincolnshire

I’m delighted to be helping out Community Lincs, the rural community development charity where I serve as a trustee, with their Summer of Surfing activity during the first week of July.

It’s a neat idea, to encourage people to have a go using the web by contributing a memory to a shared website, where a collection of Lincolnshire memories will be able to build up. As the project describes:

These sessions will show you how to get online and create an entry on our Collecting Memories web site. If you have amusing, profound or even slightly bizarre memories of life in your community then we will help you post them online and it might even start an online conversation with others

Our goal is to show how easy it is to become involved with the Internet and how easy it is to communicate online. Hopefully we will effectively create an online “time capsule” of Lincolnshire memories.

As I said, I’m volunteering some time, and will be at Spalding library from 10am-12pm on Tuesday 2nd July; and from 2pm to 4pm on Thursday 4th July.

The project website – still in development, I believe, is here. This work is part of Community Lincs’ Community Broadband Champions project.

Am looking forward to helping some people take their first steps online!

Two very interesting new websites

These two sites are well worth checking out that came across my radar this morning.

Social Media Surgery +

Firstly, Nick Booth has officially launched Social Media Surgery Plus – a site for organising, promoting and reporting on social media surgeries. Surgeries are events where volunteers help others get to grips with online tools. They are wonderful things.


There is a lot of talk about digital inclusion. The surgeries, now backed by SMS+, are a rare example of genuinely useful action. Go take a look at the site, and use to get something going in your area.

For government types reading this – how about setting up surgeries within your organisations, to get your colleagues up to speed with the social web?

DIY Council

Second, DIY Council is a really intriguing attempt to make the learning from the BCCDIY project – where a bunch of volunteers rebuilt the Birmingham City Council website in a few days – available to any council in the country.

DIY Council

The work of Stef Lewandowski, it’s a great example of what can be achieved with a bit of inspiration, some programming chops and a bunch of open data APIs.

Take a look, have a play, and if you work in a council – how can this help you?

Face your online fears

Silver Surfers' DaySilver Surfers’ Day is coming up on the 21st May. Organised by Digital Unite and supported by UK online centres, among others, it’s a national campaign to highlight the opportunities the internet offers people in later life.

As a part of this year’s event, UK online centres are running a special campaign for people to face their online fears, after research reveals that fear is a major blocker to older people making the most of the net.

They say:

If you know someone who is not online why not support the ‘Face your online fears’ campaign and help them to overcome their worries about using the internet. There are ‘Face your online fears’ events happening at 700 UK online centres across England or why not help them to get started at home with our free ‘Face your online fears’ game which will give them an understanding of how to use a keyboard and mouse, online security, and even online shopping. It’s really easy and they could even win a laptop. To find a centre running an event or play the game visit:

As well as the online game, accessible from anywhere, 700 uk online centres will be supporting Silver Surfers’ Day and Face Your Online Fears.

Pass it on.

New research links digital inclusion and social impact

Some research from Ipsos Mori tells us what we already knew, that using the internet can make disadvantaged people’s lives better. This from the report from 24dash:

Based on 20 UK online centre-led projects involving hundreds of local partners, the research tracked the impact of informal learning about technology on the lives of different groups, including those with mental health issues, families in poverty, isolated older people and teenage parents.

More than 12,000 people took part in the social impact demonstrator projects between January 2007 and March 2008. By the end of the project, participants were more likely to feel confident, and 40% had progressed into further training, employment, information, advice and guidance.

Working with the computers helped to improve people’s maths and English, and they were more likely to spend time with friends and family, and more likely to connect with and help out in their communities.

Having some research to point to is great though, and adds to the momentum gathering around the notion of ‘digital mentors’ being bandied around by Communities and Local Government, and being tied into other roles, such as the social reporters.

‘It’s not just video’ at DC10plus

My second post has appeared at the DC10plus blog, on some of the other, non-video elements of our social reporting experiment at the Digital Inclusion conference:

By using tags in this way, it means that anyone can publish content and have it associated with an event or organisation. An alternative would be to create an account to upload content to on each service, but that limits participation only to those with access to that account. By using tags, everyone can get involved…

So, we have put these building blocks in place for the conference, but they are now there to be used forever. Let’s see what the community can make of them.