digitparty

Let’s End Loneliness at Christmas

I have been prompted into action by a piece on BBC Radio 5 Live this morning, about technology and social media aiding older people to overcome loneliness. Hurrah! I thought as I listened, finally this stuff is coming out in the open. You can hear the item below.

Every year there are stories about older people being isolated and lonely in their homes; and yet, every year there are advances in communications technologies which potentially offer cheaper and easier to use solutions (at least in part) to this problem. But there is no joining up.

What is the problem? I think society finds it really easy to hide behind its preconceptions and stereotypes about how older people would react to new technologies, and it uses this as an excuse to do nothing. And I think that technophobic professionals who project their own hangups onto the people they work with are a key barrier too. My own direct experience, through projects such as Our Digital Planet and Digital Tea Parties, suggests that, if approached in the right way, most older people will see the benefits of new technologies once exposed to them. So, let’s do away with the stereotypes and get on with breaking down loneliness. The lady featured in the Five Live report is a prime example of how this can work.

So, now I want to do something directly about this. I am announcing now that by November 2015 I intend to have a project in place that will connect people at Christmas. It will focus on bringing digital elements to Christmas parties in Care Homes, Sheltered Accommodation, Day Centres and elsewhere, with a view to leaving a legacy of older people who are  skilled and resourced to connect with each other and their friends and relatives over Christmas and beyond.

digitparty

So, I am looking for project funding, sponsorship, donations, and help-in-kind to connect up Christmas Parties in 2015. If you can provide:

  • funding
  • equipment (tablet computers, laptops, projectors, connected TV devices, etc.)
  • publicity

Then please get in touch.

And it’s not too late to do something THIS Christmas. Let’s pilot this idea. If you are running a Christmas Party for older people, you’d like to collaborate on connecting it up, and you can find a few hundred pounds to make it happen, then, let’s do it in 2014!

Technology can break down so many barriers. Let’s shout this message to the world.

Footnote

Only five days after originally posting this, I was able to run at pilot event in Trafford.  Here is the report of that event http://johnpopham.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/connected-christmas-making-it-happen/

The HUGO Bus has arrived!

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It’s taken some time, but, last night, I was at Leeds Federated Housing Association‘s AGM, and the fully-equipped HUGO bus arrived!

Here it is in all its glory.

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The bus will be delivering digital inclusion support to Leeds Fed’s tenants and to those of its partner organisations. The intention is that it will be available to hire for other organisations at a later date.

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Here is Sue Jennings giving a tour of the bus

Join us for live cricket online on Wednesday #LouthTWicket

Devon Malcolm

Devon Malcolm

It’s been more than 3 years since #Twicket, the world’s first live streamed village cricket match, but this Wednesday (3rd September), I am stepping back into the fray to live stream cricket again. This time I am working with Lincolnshire County Council’s Onlincolnshire broadband project to broadcast the PCA Masters v. the RAF game from Louth Cricket Club, which is one of a number of events that have been enhanced with technology to highlight the potential uses of better broadband.

This time there will be no Brenda and no Vicar’s Son, but there will be a number of big-name former international cricketers, including Graham Thorpe, Devon Malcolm, Steve Harmison and Dominic Cork. And we are gathering a cast of local characters to add to the online fun of the day.

The weather forecast is good, and my old friends at Rural Broadband are coming along to make sure we have a good connection. So, if you are anywhere near Louth on Wednesday, please join us, you might get on camera, or get the chance to do a bit of commentary. If you can’t make it, then please add to the fun on Twitter and other social media. We’re using the hashtag #LouthTWicket. And, of course, you’ll be able to watch the action live online at http://www.johnpophamlive.co.uk

 

Sun, Sea and Social Media, the Intinerary

Excitement is building for the beach-based social media event of the year.  And now, we can announce……

Sun, Sea and Social Media, The Itinerary 

Subject to change (if we find something more fun to do)

Sun, Sea, Social, Media

Saturday 16th August 2014

The Beach, Filey, North Yorkshire

11am   Meet, share notes, and agree roles for the day.

[Meeting point will be announced Friday afternoon]

11:30am Opening of the Social Media Surgery [Surgery will be open all day]

12 noon Video Workshop

1pm Sandcastle Competition

2pm Beach cricket tournament

3:30pm Knobbly Knees contest

4pm Vine Superstar Competition

5pm Close

Tell us if you are coming http://smbeach.eventbrite.co.uk

Are you really, excited, you should be!  Here’s a taster

This event is sponsored by Coast and Country Housing

Click Start logo FINAL-01

Sun, Sea and Social Media

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Saturday 16th August 2014

11am to 5pm

Filey Beach, North Yorkshire

and

the internet

Join us on Filey Beach, or online on Saturday 16th August for an extravaganza of social media, digital inclusion, and general internet capers by the sea.

This is event is sponsored by Coast and Country Housing Limited.

Register here

Sun, Sea and Social Media is:

  • a social media adventure, featuring a number of experienced social media users who will document their journeys to Filey and their activities on the day;
  • a social media surgery, offering real-time, practical advice to people on the beach on how to get the best out of using social media to enhance their holiday and beach experience;
  • a digital inclusion event, helping people new to the internet get online by demonstrating what enormous fun can be had on the internet;
  • a demonstrator, showcasing the power of new technologies in a beach setting, including a LIVE linkup with the Costa del Sol in Spain; and
  • a lot of fun! featuring live streamed beach cricket, knobbly knees contests, sandcastle championships, and other beach-based shenanigans

Join in the fun on Filey Beach any time between 11 and 5. Or follow the action online using the hashtag #smbeach with occasional live video at http://www.johnpophamlive.co.uk

sun_sea_sm

any queries

tweet @johnpopham

Register here

photo credit Paul Stephenson on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_stephenson/

Warm weather and spontaneity

Huddersfield Carnival 2013

It’s warm outside, the sun is shining, and the park near my house is rammed full of people.

Now, I think the British complain too much about the weather, and I think people are far too willing to be put off going outside by rain, snow, or just cold temperatures. As the saying goes “there’s no such thing as bad weather; just poor clothing choices”.  But, I can’t deny that a lot more people are prepared to be outside when the sun is shining.

The thing about Britain is you can’t necessarily plan for warm, sunny weather. Yes, you can study the weather forecasts, but, I suspect most people are sceptical about them. I’ve taken to monitoring them much more closely since I’ve had a dog that needs exercising twice a day, all year round, whatever the weather. Most people don’t however. And I suspect with the vast majority, the decision to go out and enjoy their surroundings in the great outdoors is a spontaneous one.

Dog

The problem with this is that most outdoor entertainment is not spontaneous. It is planned well ahead; which means that a lot of it ends up happening on rainy days to sparse audiences.

So, I argue for more provision for spontaneous entertainment on “unexpected” warm, sunny days. I’d argue that all public parks and open spaces should have access to:

  • a portable stage
  • a PA system
  • a popup bar

That way we could be spontaneous about how we provide public entertainment.

 

First Housing Stories Workshop #housingstories

housing_stories_cake

Thursday 1st May, saw the first of my #housingstories workshop. #housingstories came about as a response to the increasing tide in the mainstream media of negative stories about people who live in social housing. “Benefits Street” and “How to Get a Council House” are just two examples of the recent trend for TV, newspapers, etc. to stoke the fires of negative stereotyping of the people who live in social housing. I have long argued that people now have the tools in their own pockets, i.e. their smartphones, to produce material of a decent quality that can contribute to telling their own stories, and that gives us all the ability to shape and disseminate our own stories. It has been clear, however, that the social housing sector has been slow to take advantage of these opportunities. So, the aim of #housingstories is to demonstrate how this can be done and to create a cohort of people within the social housing sector with the skills and confidence to tell their own digital stories and to help those they work with, particularly social housing tenants, to do so for themselves.

So, the format for the workshops is that we start of by talking about the importance of storytelling and why we do it, moving on to some effective examples. We then explore storytelling techniques, before undertaking some practical work, during which participants interview each other on camera. We then explore some basic editing tools, and we critique the interviews they have recorded to provide some pointers for improving the quality of their output for the future. And we also cover uploading content to Youtube and other sites, and promoting it via social media.

My emphasis in these workshops is on assisting people to produce good quality content with the tool they are likely to carry with them all the time, their smartphone. Most smartphones these days can produce good quality, usually, HD, video. I know that the purists will always say that there are deficiencies, particularly in sound and lighting. Yes, you can get better results using an external microphone, and, yes, you need additional lighting in certain circumstances. But, I maintain that people are highly unlikely to carry such additional kit with them as a matter of course, and that, if they believe such equipment is necessary, then they will run the risk of missing good stories.

So, in the workshops, we cover techniques for overcoming the deficiencies of lacking additional equipment. These include:

  • getting as close as possible to the subject to make sure the microphone is adjacent to their mouth
  • cutting down background noise by moving to a quieter location
  • making sure you shoot video in a well-lit location
  • cutting down wind noise on external shoots by putting a sock or a glove over the microphone

I think the videos participants shot were pretty good efforts for a first attempt. See what they came up with below. I am keen to do more of this kind of thing in other parts of the country. Let me know if you’d like to host a workshop.

Hayley Collins interviewed by Jess Dewhurst

Jess Dewhurst interviewed by Hayley Collins

Adrian Capon interviewed by David Troupe

David Troupe interviewed by Adrian Capon

Stephen Blundell interviewed by Andy Leppard

Andy Leppard interviewed by Stephen Blundell

John Middleton interviewed by Peter Greenwood

Peter Greenwood interviewed by John Middleton

 

Let’s debunk some myths about the internet / world wide web

Let’s debunk some internet / web myths:

1. Social media gets in the way of human contact and communication

Forget the device or the medium. Social media opens up thousands of new channels for human contact and communication. Increasingly it is the way people communicate, and, as devices get smaller, less conspicuous, and less obvious (think Google Glass, Samsung Gear); and as good connectivity becomes ubiquitous, we will forget about the medium and just communicate. And, if you don’t find online contact satisfactory, then organise face-to-face get-togethers with your online connections.

2. Nobody needs hyperfast broadband

Hyperfast broadband (1000Mbps and above) facilitates instant exchange of data, information, and communication It allows people to talk to each other with high definition / 3D / hologramatic video, which is almost like being in the same room. And it does away with the lag that puts so many off certain aspects of web communication.

I am grateful to Sarah Baskerville for pointing me to this video which highlights the problems we would face if we had slow internet lag in all our daily activities.

ebaywatch – Let’s make it happen

Photo courtesy of coljac on Flickr

I first floated the idea of ebaywatch (title courtesy of Graham Richards) in April 2011. This year, I am determined to make it happen.

This is an outline of the event, for which I will be seeking sponsors. Please use the comments section below to add your ideas.

  • A group of volunteers convenes at a public beach on an agreed day. Hopefully sponsorship can be found at least to contribute to travel expenses. It needs to be a beach relatively easy to access from most of the country via public transport – current favourite is Blackpool;
  • Blackpool is also current favourite because of Cath Mugonyi‘s mystical ability to source 1000 deck chairs!
  • A Social Media Advice Hub is established in a prominent location on the beach, with prominent sign-posting / branding. This could be something as simple as a gazebo, but a Beach Hut would be awesome;
  • Volunteers offer advice to members of the public on how to enhance their holiday / beach-going experience using social media;
  • During advice-giving down-time (which, let’s face it, would probably be most of the time), the volunteers can engage in traditional beach activities (including, of course, beach cricket) which can be videoed, live tweeted, instagrammed, blogged etc.

Ideas to build on this, below, please.

 

Why should you live stream your event?

I firmly believe these days that the tools we have at our disposal mean there is no excuse for only talking to the people in the room when you hold an event. Conferences, seminars, workshops, are normally held to bring people together around a common agenda, to solve a problem, or to form new alliances. All these objectives can be achieved a lot more effectively if people outside the room are invited to join in.

Alternatively, you can video your event and release the coverage later. This is better than nothing, but it misses the immediacy of the discussion. Often events contain calls to action and deal with topical issues. This means they need to engage the wider world at the time. Releasing a video later will not address this need and risks the learning from your discussions falling into a vacuum. With live streaming you get the best of both worlds as the video can be archived for later viewing as well.

And, events tend to attract like-minded people to turn up and listen to speakers. This risks small cliques continually talking to each other. The problems of our time cannot be solved by the same people saying the same things to each other over and again. Live streaming opens the event up to other people with different perspectives who may have a contribution to make which you would never have thought of.

But, I hear many people say, live streaming is expensive and technically difficult. It isn’t the way I do it, and I can even train you and your staff  to do it for themselves. There’s a list of the main events I have live streamed here. Please contact me if you’d like to talk to me about doing something similar for you