Happy New Year from the RSA Action and Research HQ everyone, and please join me in wishing a slightly belated Happy First Birthday to the Social Mirror project! It's just over a year ago that Nathan Matias and I brainstormed the idea of Social Mirror in the RSA's London offices. Last year focused on ideas and prototypes. This year, we will be testing our ideas and sharing the software more broadly.
Social Mirror is a tablet application that you can use to measure, visualise, and see the potential for change in online and offline networks. It'll be like having a portable version of me that you can carry around in your pocket, and we hope it will make it easier for all to examine and change the connections that shape their day-to-day lives. We are now exploring its practical use in public services, starting with a pilot in Knowle West, Bristol.
Nominet Trust Funding
This August, Social Mirror received funding from the Nominet Trust to take Social Mirror from a prototype to tested software. The funds are supporting a community-based health project in Knowle West, Bristol that will be testing out Social Mirror from March, 2013, through to August 2013. We will be blogging as we go at http://www.thersa.org/action-research-centre/public-services-arts-social-change/connected-communities/social-mirror and socialmirror.org.uk, and expect to share our results in the last quarter of 2013.
Laurian Gridinoc has joined the team to take our software from a prototype to community-tested . Laurian is a semantic web, data visualisation, and user experience expert, who joins us after a year working at the BBC for the Mozilla Foundation as an Open News Fellow. Laurian will be working with us and our community partners over the next few months to create a robust, usable technology for network surveys and social prescribing.
Social Prescribing in Knowle West
Our new Nominet Trust funded project is testing how Social Mirror might make social prescribing more effective and locally embedded. Social prescribing is when GPs and other health practitioners ‘prescribe’ local activities and/or community resources instead of drugs or more traditionally medical interventions.
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 be releasing our very first publically available prototype this month! It will have a focus on social prescribing for the time being, but should be fun to have a play with. Check out our video for the time being, maybe follow us on twitter, sign up for the newsletter, and we will be back in touch very soon!