There's an interesting conversation happening in the UK at a seminar on May 20, 2009 to explore digital inclusion for social capital, building on a paper written by Will Davies on The Social Value of Digital Networks in Deprived Communities. (More information here)
A couple of definitions:
- Digital inclusion is the use of technology to improve the lives and life chances of disadvantaged people and the places in which they live.
- Social capital is a way of understanding the (positive and negative) impact of social networks and norms on people's lives.
Some questions to be discussed during the seminar:
- What engagement approaches are being successfully used to overcome barriers (such as confidence, content, access) to digital inclusion, for example among young people not in work or education?
- How can we make sure we are not exacerbating existing inequalities by only serving the people already connected? What are successful examples of outreach?
The paper points out the distinction in social capital between 'bonding' social capital - strong connections with people similar to us, such as friends and family; and 'bridging' social capital - weaker connections with people further removed from us, such as contacts, and acquaintances.
Tim Davies will be reporting from the Seminar and Amy Sample Ward will be participating in the discussion and live blogging it now doubt. You can track the discussion happening online with this dashboard or join the conversation on the digital engagement network site or blog.