Big Society Community Noticeboards – Part 3

I think we are moving towards some sort of proposal on Big Society Community Noticeboards. My original post here elicited some fantastic comments which have taken the idea on several stages. It also, thanks to Kevin Campbell-Wright, resulted in a major supermarket chain expressing interest. I won’t say who they are at this stage, because that’s at a very early juncture, but it’s a very encouraging development.

Community Noticeboard

Community Noticeboard by Pip Wilson

There are two proposals here, but I think it makes sense to bring them together as two sides of the same coin. The original proposal is about getting information from offline organisations and making it available online in order that it can be brought to the attention of the wider world, can attract new users and members, and, from a Big Society in the North perspective,  we can find out who is doing Big Society stuff without the resources to go out and physically connect with them.

The second proposal is about getting information out to people who are not online, by displaying information from the web on public displays. Thus, proposal one collects the information from people who are not online, and proposal two displays it, also to people who are not online, but not necessarily to the same people.

So, we now need to work out how to make all this happen. And, initially at least, we’ll need to do it with few or no resources.

So, here’s some thinking that I’d welcome some feedback on.

Stage 1 – collecting the information – We get someone (which may be a supermarket employee) to photograph the notices on the Community Noticeboards and upload them to the internet. This needs to be by a process that is as easy and cost-free as possible. My current thinking is to create a special Flickr account, and encourage people to use the “upload by email” option. We may need to find other ways of uploading if the person doing the uploading is not sufficiently confident to set up email on their phone or able to connect their phone to a computer. I am also looking at Shozu which may be a simpler way of uploading photos, but it will need to be downloaded, installed to a phone, and configured for the Flickr account. This may not be that easy if no one is available locally with the requisite technical knowledge. And, whichever method we use, we need to be mindful that data charges are likely to be incurred if people are uploading directly from phones.

Stage 2 – Collating and distributing the information We need to work out if this could ever be automated, but, I suspect, for the foreseeable future, that is not going to be possible. So, it would need to involve people looking at the uploaded photos, transcribing the information, and entering it into a system which can make use of it. I was originally thinking this might be achieved by something like a Google Calendar, but it would need, eventually at least, to output information which could be shown on public displays.

Stage 3 – Displaying the Information The ideal would be something like the community displays in Wray, or even a Community Info Point. I suspect that we will have to start this at least by looking at sticking old, recycled computers in shops and pointing the screen at a shop window. This probably means that we need a revolving slide show, rather than stuff which can be operated on touch screens. And, crucially, we will need the data collection scheme to spit out information relevant to the locality.

Oh, this might all be complicated, but, if we pool our cognitive surplus, I am sure we can make it happen.

11 thoughts on “Big Society Community Noticeboards – Part 3

  1. Great thinking John and very succinctly put to explain the ins and outs of data!

    In Appleby, some years ago, we had a screen in the local business centre street window that rolled info out to passers by (no touchscreen). It caused certain blockages on a very narrow pavement as people waited for the ad they’d sort of half spotted, as they walked past, to show again!

    John, can I suggest you give Carl a ring? I seem to remember he was responsible for that as well as the new digilakes app for iPhone.

  2. It has just occurred to me (in a delayed light bulb moment) that this is something that needs to be on the agenda of the 5,000 community organisers which the Government says it is going to train up. This means these people MUST be familiar with basic technological issues like this, and able to use social media.

  3. Hi John, we would love to help bringing this to life – we have a patented video capture and management system that asks your questions in video as well as text, ensuring that those with reading or writing difficulties are able to make their opinions known. In our latest project with the NHS VOXUR was used in 17 languages (including sign language) to ensure people were able to tell us exactly what they wanted, when they wanted, how they wanted and where they wanted. More importantly, they were’t forced to tell us in English if it wasn’t their first language.

    The system automatically tags all of the content with their name, location, question answered, date time etc, and ensures that their best answer is stored (saving a lot of time not having to view all of the outtakes). You can then drag and drop clips to create your own edits or podcasts.

    The content can all be uploaded onto our secure server meaning you can be at your office and still collect opinions nationally or internationally. The videos stored on the server are not for public viewing unless the moderator chooses to make them so.

    We currently have a portable and kiosk system that link to the server and can easily build supporting mobile phone Apps to link in if necessary. We are currently investigating with Apple and the SQA to create a series of Apps for Excellence to support the Curriculum for Excellence initiative.

    We would love to be involved and if appropriate speak with the supermarket chain show them how uncomplicated all of this can be.

    Kind regards,

  4. HI, I’ve an idea for getting the message accross to the public in a big way. Project is called CAN-do (Community advertising network), can I send you the idea?

    I’ve got as far as the cabinet office with Francis Maude looking at the project, also DWP seem interested, We’e proposing to install advertisind hoardings on council and private land, WY Police as well as other agencies are interested.

    I’ve done some promotion of Domestic Violence in Kirklees with very positive results.

    Kind regards


      • Ok , in a nutshell, we position ad banners. 12 of 20 to advetise local business with incentive reductions in rental for employment of youth, disadvantaged etc. 8 out of 20, free to charity and service. (2 banners per site)
        It’s a not for profit community business that funds itself. I’ve done pr for DV, I’ve proved it works. Local jobcentre has indicated possible 280 jobs created per year. Adding on a social website for local stuff would be essential. I’m looking at having every council on board, give me a call if you want more info. 07752 410464,

      • Yes, The ones I have are the ad’s on a trailer which was used to promote DV and gain some stats.

        I should explain that the local council have been let’s say ‘obstructive’. The project isn’t live in Kirklees, I’m trying to find a council to take up the idea. It is being looked at in cabinet office. I don’t want to have anything published until the project has some form of go-ahead. Kirklees are in the process of change and have been in contact recently to look at the idea in more detail, so there is some hope.

  5. Another idea is to turn the process the other way round, so rather than photographing handwritten notices on the noticeboard you use basic technology to actually generate the community announcements and then produce other versions from this digital master.

    So I’m thinking use ipadio, which anyone with a mobile phone can access to generate short ‘noticeboard’ content – ‘There is a community gardening event on 25th August at the allotments – bring your spade! Contact Mary on ….. for more info’. Now in digital form these announcements could either be :
    – played out in podcast style as a community audio newspaper (I think @iictpete is working down this track)
    – be transcribed into text which then could be picked up by Google Reader for people who like RSS feeds (or as a daily RSS summary in email format)
    – fed to Twitter to be dropped into or pages (maybe which could be displayed on the community info screen)
    – or of course these could even be printed out and pinned to the good old community notice board!

  6. In the interests of encouraging offline Groups to participate and get their information out to the wider world, I have, with the help of the good people at, set up a public Big Society in the North audio channel.

    Anyone can record their information by dialling 0203 384 2144 and entering the PIN number 4455.

    At the moment I am moderating this, so I have to approve anything that appears on the web.

    The public channel can be accessed at and you can listen to the messages there.

  7. Pingback: Twenty-First Century Domesday Book | John Popham's Random Musings

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