Social Mirror is a tablet application that you can use to measure, visualise, and see the potential for change in online and offline networks. Starting in January 2012, we developed a prototype for use by social science researchers.
More recently, having been approved for funding by the Nominet Trust, we are exploring its practical use in public services.
Social Mirror for social prescriptions
People at risk of isolation and vulnerability will soon be able to receive 'social prescriptions' that help them use local resources to improve their mental wellbeing: this is a highly local pilot working in Knowle West, Bristol, along with our community partner the Knowle West Media Centre. The Social Mirror for social prescribing initiative, which has been approved for funding by the Nominet Trust, will see the RSA and Nathan Matias of the MIT Center for Civic Media develop a 'social app' that aims to help people participate in their communities. By responding to a series of questions, users will receive a guided analysis of their online and offline social connections, as well as advice about how they could use their connections to improve their mental wellbeing.
By testing the app's effectiveness in different contexts – such as among GPs or other health practitioners – the RSA will evaluate the impact of social prescriptions on people's mental wellbeing, their sense of attachment to and participation in the local community, and their use of public services.
We will soon be demoing the Social Mirror app on-line: please sign up here if you would like to be informed when this happens.
Gaia is the lead researcher for the RSA Connected Communities programme and leads the organisation’s social network analysis. Gaia’s work focuses on examining the role of social networks in building resilient, empowered communities, and in promoting mental social inclusion and mental wellbeing. Prior to joining the RSA, Gaia worked as a research associate and online community manager for the Space Makers Agency.
J. Nathan Matias
Nathan develops technologies for media analytics, community information, and creative learning at the MIT Center for Civic Media, where he is a research assistant. Before MIT, Nathan worked in UK startups, developing technologies used by millions of people worldwide. Nathan was a Davies-Jackson Scholar at the University of Cambridge from 2006-2008.