Bridging the Digital Divide – Project e-Bromford

I read an article today about “apple babies”. That’s kids under the age of two who automatically try to use a touch screen when handed a phone, conditioned as they are to expect that if something has a screen it should be capable of manipulation. There are clips on YouTube of japanese kids trying frantically to change TV channels by swiping the screen with their hands- the same things they can do with things like Xbox Kinect, Wii and PlayStation Move.

But this can seem a world away when you work in social housing.

FACT: Only a tiny percentage of our customers do any online business with us. We have very little knowledge of their internet habits , smartphone use, social networks

FACT: We have customers – in their thirties and younger- who attend work clubs, who have no access to the internet, never used it, and look at a mouse the same way one of those Japanese kids would look at a typewriter. Excluded from work as well as technology – they exist in a genuine digital divide

I’ve started this blog as I’m working on a number of projects that depend upon our customers dealing with us online.

These include:

  • A new customer deal – where we want customers to self serve , and be less reliant on us
  • A social media project – where we want to tap into communities via facebook , twitter and google +
  • Our Social Investment/Enterprise proposition – which aims to get 2000 residents into work by 2016. Primarily through an online application matching their profiles to opportunities
I’ll be blogging here about the things we learn along the way – the successes and the failures as we try to bridge the digital divide.
Not the reality for many Social housing users
  1. Joanna Ptolomey August 25, 2011 at 11:08 am

    So pleased to come across your blog. I am an information specialist with a niche in healthcare. I also write alot about how information is found, used, managed and shared. Most of my work is around inequalities – accessibility, literacy and digital divide. I recently contributed a chapter on Digital Divide for Government Info Mgt in 21st Century by Ashgate. Many of the areas you are interested are just as relevant in healthcare and recently I have been working on an NHS project called ALISS http://www.aliss.scot.nhs.uk/. I have followed you on twitter and look forward to hearing more and hopefully sharing.

    Reply

  2. Joanna – thanks for your comments and the tweet! I’m really interested in the ALISS project – it sounds fascinating and is something I would like to know more about. I’ve subscribed to the newsletter. Will stay in touch!

    Reply

  3. Joanna Ptolomey August 26, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Excellent Paul – think we may have more in common although working in different arenas. Catch you in the digital stream!

    Reply

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