New media and networking for People Powered Change

Over the next few months social reporters David Wilcox (that’s me), John Popham, and network specialist Drew Mackie, will be are exploring with Big Lottery Fund how people can best share stories about community-led action through events and networking, using a mix of media.

We’ll be doing that as rather junior partners in BIG’s People Powered Change programme. That’s the banner for millions of pounds of funding in England to support action by local groups, and national initiatives. You can see the rather more substantial partners here.

The three of us have worked in this field for some time, and naturally we are rather excited to be able to bring our ideas and experience to the programme. It’s a little daunting, but fortunately we’ll mainly be amplifying the activities of others through the social reporter role of making sense, joining up and helping out – as I explain in general terms here.

The idea of working with BIG came up because there’s some terrific examples of community reporting on the ground, like People’s Voice Media, major initiatives supported by BIG like Your Square Mile, and the Media Trust news hubs, independent initiatives like Our Society … plus scores of others … but often people don’t know what the others are doing.

Great stories are missed, work is duplicated, and there’s much grumbling about the people who can make it breakfast launches in London getting an unfair slice of the action through well-honed networking skills.  I was cheeky enough to write that People Powered Change needs ppchange communications, and it seems that BIG agrees.

More specifically, we’ve agreed that “over the next few months we will be:

  • mapping the national networks that help people share and collaborate
  • showing how social media can extend events beyond those in the room
  • promoting examples of reporting that help give citizens and local groups a stronger voice
  • reporting ourselves on some key events and activities

“As well as showing some great examples of what’s happening, Social Reporters will work with BIG and others to strengthen existing networks and build new ones”.

I’ve provided this background, including links to somewhat critical pieces, because John and I will be doing something of a balancing act. On the one hand we’ll be playing the traditional reporter role of questioning and challenging, while on the other looking for potential collaborations rather than conflicts, celebrations rather than crises.

We are hugely grateful to BIG for supporting the experiment. We’ll be blogging here about the People Powered Change work, and also about anything else that might be relevant.

Drew will be working on the mapping of networks, drawing on many years of experience documented here. John will be … well, I’ll let him explain in a further post. Past exploits are here.

Thanks to our friends at Ruralnet Futures for setting this blog up so quickly. It’s rather plain at present, but we’ll be adding more features and a wiki, with lots of photos and videos, and invitations to join in.

Meanwhile do drop a comment, or get in touch here.

7 Comments.

  1. One of the critical factors for new and shiny online community projects is the need to connect and work with existing networks. I am delighted that this has been acknowledged with the support for your work as part of the People Powered Change programme.

    I can see that Your Square Mile @YourSquareMile has features that will be of value to local communities including the better value Criminal Records Bureau checks, cheap Public Liability Insurance and time-banking ideas.

    I asked the question on Twitter yesterday #ysmbrum about whether any research had been undertaken to obtain the views of the current 476 hyperlocal websites about how they may integrate with Your Square Mile?

    The following response from my excellent hyperlocal website http://www.beckenhamtown.us/ suggests that more consultation and work is required with existing formal and informal online networks.
    @Beckenham just another business touting hyperlocal neighbourhood site virtual real-estate that’s only in it for the money & will be dead and gone within a year or 2 when the VC money runs out. I’ve seen at least 5 of these types in the past 10 years and they all fail

    My report ‘The future for personalisation? service users, carers & digital engagement’ http://comment.iriss.org.uk/content/digital-engagement highlights how digital engagement and the use of social media is already supporting people with care needs. I believe that collaboration has to be the way forward and I am interested in knowing how Your Square Mile will be partnering with organisations such as Networked Neighbourhoods and DotComUnity

    I see many benefits in local networks but I am also aware that there are UK wide resources which it would be helpful to include as part of the information available locally. This is particularly relevant in social care where individuals, carers and families increasingly require trusted sources of information and advice to develop support systems which will enable people to remain living at home in their community for as long as possible.

    I hope that Your Square Mile will be building on the many networks and partnerships already established to offer a service that really does add value to local communities rather than duplicating the work of existing online communities.

    I am heartened by the thoughts of David Robinson co-founder of Community Links “We need to develop pride in our square miles, but make sure they have porous, inclusive boundaries – there must be no boundaries between the different square miles-collaboration within and between”

  2. Thanks Shirley – it would be great to bring yours and other people’s experience of the past few years on how to achieve more joining up. That’s the main purpose of our piece of work – together with demonstrations of event and community reporting.
    I hope to follow up next week with Your Square Mile, finding out and publishing more about their new site. More comments, questions, please!

  3. Your Square Mile plans – and a live chat | socialreporters - pingback on October 7, 2011 at 10:11 am
  4. Hi David
    We’re really looking forward to welcoming you and John in your Social Reporters for People Powered Change roles to Dudley tomorrow. I am hopeful that you’ll broaden thinking around Our Society in Dudley Borough activity, and help us to share what we’re up to.

  5. Thanks David Wilcox for the share

  6. People Powered Change « The Big Lottery Fund Blog - pingback on March 23, 2012 at 9:07 am

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