On Friday I was part of Powerful Voices, an event that helped young people create and refine ideas that would use social media to help effect social change.
By the time I got involved the young people – some university students, some graduates – had already put together four very well-thought-out ideas, refined them and pitched them to a panel of experts. My role on Friday was as part of a round table discussion looking at the future of social media and the wider web, and the funding possibilities that could help keep their projects alive and see them have a real impact.
Everyone involved was hugely enthusiastic and brightly hopeful for the future. These were people for whom the idea of running a non-profit and getting elbows-deep in the business side of things seemed a natural step – people with brave ideas who want to use new media to change the world. Here’s what they came up with:
- The pop-up library project imagines a future where library services are totally mobile and completely adaptable, bringing very specific services to very local communities.
- Communiteering is aimed at giving people a simple way to volunteer as much or as little as they wish, and to receive recognition for their work – something to go on a CV.
- Handshake is a service built on the idea of connecting small projects in need of expertise with experts who can provide it.
- And the final project hopes to help out unemployed graduates by encouraging creative approaches to getting on the career ladder.
The discussion hit on three big areas where the world is changing – the digital divide, open data, and the rise of gaming. I’ll talk more about these in posts over the next few days, I hope – there’s a lot to be said. What I want to do here is provide a resource for some of the concepts I brought into the conversation. So here goes:
- Dunbar’s number – helpful Wikipedia article on the theoretical number of people with whom an individual can maintain stable social relationships.
- What on earth is the Monkeysphere? – a much more accessible explanation by David Wong, with pictures of monkeys.
- All you need to know about the attention economy – useful primer from Read Write Web, with links to more detailed articles at the bottom.
- Data.gov.uk – the UK government’s resource for open data sets.
- Linked data – resources and primers on linked data and the semantic web.
- What is the digital divide? – facts and figures on digital inclusion – there are some interesting interviews elsewhere on that site too.
- The gamification encyclopedia – useful to get a general sense of the subject and define terms.
- Just add points? – although this is aimed at a technical audience, it’s a good way to get a sense of the pitfalls of gamification.
- The fun theory – makers of the recycling bin game and giant staircase piano.