Token slides shot.

Presentation: CILIPS 2013 Annual Conference: Social Media for Community Engagement

After their annual gathering in October 2012, I was invited to return and speak to delegates at the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Scotland (CILIPS) Annual Conference in Dundee on the 3rd and 4th of June. I’ve had a good working relationship with CILIPS over the last year, working closely (and enjoying cakes.. whilst plotting hard of course) with Cathy, their director – doing several social media workshops for them at events and taking over some of the web work in the office before they hired their new web and policy officer, Sean McNamara.

Dundee at 5am from my hotel room.

This time I was asked to speak to a larger audience at their annual conference (I expected a workshop of 20 odd in October, and ended up with standing room only and librarians sitting crossed legged at my feet :-) ) and to focus on practical case studies where I have used social media for elements of community engagement – such as citizen journalism projects, peer-to-peer support and digital inclusion projects.

Speaking in the ‘big room’.

It was the largest room I’ve presented to in a very long time, certainly since I took time out from my PhD, so it was good to get flung back into the deep-end in terms of presenting work to larger audiences. It was also good to be able to use the presentation as an opportunity to reflect on the relationship between library and information services and the projects I’ve been working on in the last year since #citizenrelay.

As I’ve done something around social media before, I was keen not only to review some of the underlying principles that I had discussed previously in the libraries conference context – but also to ensure that I had time to talk about some of the living, breathing examples that were happening at the moment. I’m often introduced as the person who is going to talk about the new fangle technologies, like social media and the internet is a new thing that needs to be considered – which is ironic really when the first group of people I followed when I started using twitter “properly” in 2008 (been a user since Jan 2007) were librarians.

Similarly, pretty much all of the speakers at this year’s event had online and social media activity embedded as part of what they were talking about, rather than an optional extra tacked on at the end. Therefore, I took time to emphasis the evolution of the online environment and the empheral nature of online services as tools become more ubiquitous, get bought up, chewed up and re-appropriated. We just need to think about the fact that O’Reilly’s (often over-used) definition of “Web 2.0″ is approaching its 10th anniversary!

With reference to social media surgeries, citizen journalism, community new channels and projects such as Our Digital Planet, I emphasised that some of the best projects that incorporate the use of social media as those which focus on developing a critical practice around the tools, especially when they challenge existing ways of working and that often social media as a community engagement tool tends to amplify existing activity – be in an event, an organisation or peer-to-peer learning activity – rather than starting from scratch, or isolating it within a vacuum.

I’ve embedded the prezi from the presentation below for more information:

Read More


Podcast: A case study of a university’s ‘grassroots’ digital strategy #uwsltas

As well as being interviewed by Mark Carrigan on the distinctions on the use of social media in the university for learning and teaching, I was also asked to give my thoughts on what a digital strategy for university might look like. This also fits into the on-going discussions around UWS’s current learning and teaching strategy on the hashtag #uwsltas. You can listen to this podcast on Mark’s website here.

(In terms of accessibility, I would like to transcribe the interview at a later date.) 

Read More


Cultural Leadership Development in Istanbul: Working for the British Council

“Evening on Bosphorus” by andra_life shared under creative commons license.

Tomorrow I am heading to Istanbul to do some work with the British Council as part of a teamfrom Little Star, a digital production company from Manchester. We have been asked to cover a Cultural Leadership workshop, a event that brings together 47 cultural leaders worldwide to discuss individual and collective notions of responsibility in this area.

My role is to live-blog the event (which includes the speakers listed here), update the BC’s social media accounts, interview participants using audioboo and to help with the film making process. The event is being held during the 11th International Istanbul Biennale, so the participant’s afternoons are dedicated to culture walks and tours of the city. There will also be a chance to cover some of this more informal activity as well.

I’m quite excited about going as part of a ‘crew’ (which I have Julian to thank for!)- as I much prefer to be doing things during events rather than simply ‘consuming’ them. As well as that, I’ve never been to Istanbul before – and have heard wonderful things about it as a city, so look forward to both my official and my unofficial tour (as I’ll be meeting an IOA friend over there)

I’ll update this entry with more information about where I will be sharing content from the event – it’s going to be a busy week!

Read More

Meta-blogging #ds106 for the love of context

I’ve started another blog. “Oh no, not another one,” I hear you groan. This one is for #ds106 – the ‘massively open online course’ in Digital Storytelling I wrote about before the Christmas break. I wanted to/needed to take it back onto my server (using wordpress) for the nature of the course – which makes it easy to aggregate with the course’s RSS firehose (this one won’t – and will give me the space to elaborate). I don’t intend to double post onto this notebook often, as much of the course is designed as a self-discovery/network between other participants – however I feel that in the context of recent posts, it would make sense to include my first post here. They’ll be assignments, I might set assignments – but it is is essentially an experiment in online, open and playful course delivery. I figured that we can talk about these things forever, taking part in something that is already happening makes a good start. The end of 2010 spelled sadness for the University, the start of 2011 may be our opportunity to grow and transform something new out of the shit.

I’ll be blogging my contributions to #ds106 at – some of it will be silly, some of it will be technical and some of it might just inform some of the things I’ll be up to in the coming months.

“So Jim Groom’s Digital Storytelling (ds106) MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) begins today – hooray! – therefore I’m adding to the surge of new posts declaring hullo to the world and bit of context as to why I’m looking forward to taking part (I even set it up it’s own special wordpress for the process.)

The course aims and ‘learning outcomes’ (for those not registered and might be reading this via twitter):

*Develop skills in using technology as a tool for networking, sharing, narrating, and creative self-expression * Frame a digital identity wherein you become both a practitioner in and interrogator of various new modes of networking * Critically examine the digital landscape of communication technologies as emergent narrative forms and genres

These are pretty straight forward – but are not things that can be ticked off regimentally like traditional assessment criteria. They are skills which are difficult to be “taught” and come through practise, even play. From following the feed for the weeks on the run up to the course, I’ve been entertained by animated gifs, movie mashups and some interesting takes on existing media (like swapping lyrics and images – and playing with the boundaries of what we already know and assume) – only now it is my turn to try out some of the crowdsourced assessments and exercises.

I’ve recently blogged and stated an interest in running my own open course (working with an existing module at the university where I work part time) in correlation with my PhD research into new media and the Olympic Games. The course would correspond to the citizen media network being ‘set up’ on the run up to the London Games – and would be offered up as a open training/context exercise around the possibilities of the internet alongside existing media events. Essentially, the assignment (and the outcomes of the modules) are to produce a social object that is connected to the wider #media2012 network but is working with a local context (could be community media cafe, could be an internet radio station, could be a simple website – but the focus is on the people involved, not just building a website that becomes redundant once the course is finished – an exercise in thinking creatively but critically.)

What I would love to take away from these next 15 weeks is the experiences of being a student on an open course (learning and engaging in this way around the topics and skills of digital storytelling), where some of the participants are actually taking it as a ‘real life’ module, earning credit as part of their degree course at UMW. So it’s kinda meta why I’m here – I’m interested as a person who spent the best part of her student days winding up people on the Internet using animated gifs and swapping heads/bodies on a cracked copy of photoshop, and as somebody who is developing a real research interest into new and exciting (potentially radical) methods of course production and course delivery.

Look forward to getting started!”

Read More

Digital Anthropology Report: Attitudes to technology = basis of future class…

It’s a bold statement to suggest that the ways in which we use the Internet may soon be seen as a potential signifier for class. What about those who aren’t even online because of where they live? I will need to read the report in full to see what was looked at in terms of forming such conclusions. Regardless, there seems to be a nice, long list of links to click through which relate to media/digital anthropology.

How do people in Britain use the internet? How do they behave online? The new Digital Anthropology Report. The Six Tribes of Homo Digitalis gives some answers.

The British communication company Talk Talk sent researchers from the University of Kent into the homes of people around the UK to ask them questions about their attitudes towards digital technology and to watch them use it. They also commissioned anthropology professor David Zeitlyn to analyse the findings.

They found that “homo digitalis” consists of Six Tribes with very different attitudes, usage patterns and modes of behaviour. Some of these tribes have embraced technology and put it at the centre of their lives. For other tribes, “the internet” is a rather frightening jungle.

The E-ager Beavers are the largest tribe by quite a distance, with 29% of the UK adult population. They use the internet heavily, but they are more passive users. They lack the confidence or the drive to get involved with uploading their own content or producing their own blogs.

The Timid Technophobes are the second largest group (23%). They have only limited internet skills and will only use it when they really need to. They still prefer to use pen and paper and prefer to send and receive letters. They don’t read blogs and are not interested in facebook either.

The tribe of the Digital Extroverts (9%) consists of people who are “always-on". They are active bloggers, use twitter, flickr etc. “Regularly updating their online profile is as much a part of their daily routine as eating.” The ability to interconnect and share data is a prerequisite.

According to Zeitlyn, your willingness to embrace technology and integrate it into your life will dictate your success in life far more than your social class will. As class structures change quickly, he writes in his analysis, the extent to which people use social networking and promote themselves online will become more important in determining their careers than what school or university they went to.

>> read the whole report (nice presentation with quiz and videos!)


Dissertation: Why kids embrace Facebook and MySpace

Ethnographic Study: Social Websites Important For Childhood Development

Ethnographic study: Social network sites are “virtual campfires”

Interview with Michael Wesch: How collaborative technologies change scholarship

John Postill on media anthropology and internet activism in Malaysia

Cyberanthropology: “Second Life is their only chance to participate in religious rituals”

How internet changes the life among the First Nations in Canada

On fieldwork: “Blogging sharpens the attention”

Microsoft anthropologist: Let people be online at work or risk losing stuff!

From housewife to mousewive – Anthropological study on women and Internet

Ethnographic Study About Life Without Internet: Feelings of Loss and Frustration

Read More