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.

Digital Tea Party

This Friday (2nd May) I am working with Leeds Federated Housing Association, the HUGO project, and JTM Service to run a Digital Tea Party.

The format will be a traditional vintage tea party, and people are baking cakes to bring along; but it will be augmented with digital technology, giving people the opportunity to try out different kinds of gadgets and equipment, and it will feature a live Skype linkup with a similar event taking place eleswhere in the city.

So tune in for some fun and games, this Friday from 2pm. Follow the hashtag #digitparty on twitter and elsewhere on social media.

Image credit: Patrick Emerson on Flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/kansasphoto/

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.

 

Telecare & Telehealth: Drivers for Digital Inclusion

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 09.19.09

Earlier this week, I spend two days at Leeds University Business School, videoing the AKTIVE project conference “Technology, Care and Ageing: Enhancing Independence”. Although my role was to observe proceedings through the screen on the back of the camera, I found the whole event fascinating.

The conference theme was about the use of Telehealth and Telecare with older people. I got to see a lot of the conference, as I was asked to capture snippets of all the parallel workshops. As I went around the event, I heard a common theme emerging, which was repeated in a keynote presentation by Professor Heinz Wolff (pictured above). This was that it is essential to get people acquainted with unfamiliar new technologies before there comes a crisis in their lives which means they are forced to use them. There were many examples cited of people rejecting telecare equipment, or failing to use it as intended, because they were frightened of it, or at least extremely unfamiliar with it.

esther

Esther Rantzen at AKTIVE 2014 Conference

This is a similar theme to one of my recurring mantras for Digital Inclusion, which is that people have to be introduced to new technologies in enjoyable ways and in familiar settings, before they have to use them for formal, or in this case, life-saving purposes.

There is an audioboo below, in which I captured my immediate thoughts. I think it is imperative for the Digital Inclusion and Telecare / Telehealth communities to unite around a common agenda to build familiarity with new technologies among older people for whom they can be life-enhancing, and life-saving, tools.

 

Do you want to talk to others or just yourself?

This is just a quick thought stimulated by Facebook’s move to force people to use its Messenger app rather than messaging people through the general Facebook app.

I’ve seen a number of people on social media platforms grumbling about this, and suggesting it will cause them to leave Facebook. Over the years I have had loads of people telling me they want to use a particular platform because of its design. My reply to this is always that a platform can have all the perfect design features you could wish for, but, if the people you want to contact are not using it, you will be talking to yourself, not to anyone else.