Come online everybody! - RSA

Come online everybody!


  • Social networks

In a world that is increasingly digitally enhanced, how do we ensure that people can be included in the conversations that are happening on the internet – or even at a more basic level can take advantage of cheaper car insurance (which seem to be available through internet only deals)?

This is true not only for society as a whole, but closer to home, as part of this society.

Roughly a third of Britons are considered ‘digitally excluded’. I’m chairing a conference on this tomorrow which will be looking at how we can reach this final third. No doubt I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this later in the week. But it made me think about what we’re trying to do here with the RSA Networks.

Tonight there will be an RSA Networks Exchange event here at JAS. The event is designed to mirror the experience Fellows have at our growing (and under construction) online platform. They can propose, discuss and support innovative projects. In essence it’s the physical manifestation of the virtual experience.

The idea is that not all the projects discussed tonight will be taken forward, indeed, not all the projects should be taken forward.

In our society we have an aversion to failure. This makes a lot of sense, failing makes us feel bad. But one of the capacities we need to be promoting is that of resilience. The ability to say ‘ok, this idea wasn’t so great, but I’m glad I put it out there, now I can move on and do something else.’

The other point of putting your ideas out there is that you can link to other people who are interested in similar things, and then together you can have even better ideas.

The beauty of the internet is that it creates a place for iterative project development. To borrow from recent speaker, Jonathan Zittrain, it’s a generative process. Together we can create something that is better than any of our individual ideas.

As I’ve said many times, our Networks project is about bringing together Fellows, so that they  can work together on projects which will support social change. But it occurs to me that not all our fellows are part of the ‘digitally included’. Of course with this blog I’m preaching to the converted, but it’s worth thinking about. How do we engage more Fellows in the online debate?

Have a look at this from Clay Shirky, who seeks to answer the question non-digital people always ask which is ‘Where do you find the time’.

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