Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web
If we enclose as many points of social and digital exclusion as we can, by making a very big assumption we can guess where a digital inclusion initiative might have an impact. Let’s take a silver surfers club, a social media surgery or a first steps back to learning group. Where might the impact boundry lie in the large urban borough with some social exclusion and some digital exclusion?
I was surprised that we were all pretty much agreed on what we meant by “digital inclusion” — that it was (and this is my wording, worked out now):
the confidence to use technology when appropriate, and to know where to get help if needed
[h/t Nick Booth]
The more I think about Buzz the more it reminds me of Gilbert Ryle’s concept of a ‘category mistake’, i.e. a situation where we think of something in terms appropriate only to something of a radically different kind. For me, email is an entirely private tool — for confidential communications with carefully selected individuals. The designers of Buzz, however, seem to have assumed that email is inherently social — i.e. involving communication in public. For me — and I suspect for millions of others — this is emphatically not the case. I’m happy to use social networking tools like this blog and Twitter for public stuff. But email is for private stuff — even when I’m sending a message to multiple recipients.
I suggested we borrow the concept of ‘presumed competence’ used by the Foreign Office. Back when an ambassador was sent to Ouagadougou and not heard from for months at a time, their masters back home had to assume they were capable of getting on with it. Social media has the same disconnect between local demands and ability to get sign-off from the centre. We may find it easier to respond to social media if we have a set of agreed ‘lines to take’ that we trust our teams to deliver, and refer upwards only by exception.
So who, in reality, will create those digital services? It will be same internal teams, companies and consultancies who currently work for Government.
In practical terms, they are the only ones who have the infrastructure and capital to go through ISO accreditation, PRINCE training, supply account and project directors, planners, technical architects, UCD experts, designers, developers, testers and hosting.
I am not saying there won’t be any applications of importance or use developed. But to make them robust in a way that they will need to be to accommodate the complete shift to online, they will require more thinking and better development than they currently undergo.
Work and pensions minister Jim Knight, who has recently been appointed the government’s lead on moving public services online, said he had an “ongoing struggle” with officials about web access and called for government to tackle the problem “head on”.